Video segment about me, by the school district

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Multicultural Cinderella and More

Ever since I was a little girl, I have been fascinated by fairy tales.  The Library of Congress sent me books in audio format because of my blindness.  I remember reading Grimm's Fairy Tales when I was about 7 years old.  I absolutely adored them!  They really made me think deeply about the story and about the world around me.  Today, as a teacher, I think it's important to read books to my students that will not only strengthen their minds but also help with their self-esteem and moral outlook.  These multicultural versions of Cinderella are intriguingly exotic and accomplish several goals at one time.  They express to little girls that beauty is not found only in someone's appearance but in their inner spirit.  The Rough-Face Girl and Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters do an especially wonderful job of talking about inner beauty.  These books can also be used to show different cultures and traditions.  All of the books that I chose for this carousel are beautifully illustrated and can be combined with with a globe to teach some great geography lessons.  I've noticed in the past that my kindergarten students were much more interested in looking at locations on the globe if the locations were linked to stories that they particularly liked.  My favorite of all of these books is Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story From China, because it's not just about a girl waiting around to get saved by a prince.  The main character has inner beauty; she is kind and compassionate and has those things returned to her at the end of the story.

I also found three songs that are particularly good if you're thinking of using these books.  "Cinderella" by Shauna Tominey is a rhyming song based on the traditional European version of Cinderella.  "Cinderella" by Kinderjazz is more of a free-dance kind of song where students could use scarves, wands, ribbons, etc. to exercise and dance creatively.  "Cinderella" by The Hit Crew carries a thought-provoking message: you shouldn't have to wait to be rescued by a prince; you can rescue yourself.  It's a very empowering song with a hip-hop sound to it.  I just bought it for myself, and I'm going to make a copy for my 21-year-old daughter.  All of these are available on iTunes.

Fantasy Real Graphic Organizer

This is a graphic organizer I made for kindergarten.  It doesn't use Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, or other holiday characters.  I feel that it's important to begin to teach the difference between fantasy and reality in kindergarten without spoiling the magic of their family or religious traditions.  Let me know what your feelings are about this issue by leaving a comment below.

The Cat in the Castle Book

I also made this fantasy book which I believe is approximately equivalent to 5 or 6 DRA level.  It really helped my students learn how to read some challenging position words.  Both the boys and the girls in my guided reading groups told me they liked this book.  The book struck just the right balance between action and a romantic setting to appeal to everyone.

My students were always asking me if they could write fantasy stories, so I made a collection of fantasy objects, characters, and places that I put into a Fantasy Writing Folder that I'm also selling on TPT.  It helped my children so much that they started writing much more in-depth sentences and paragraphs toward the end of the year.  For pre-k, I just put up on TPT (and played today with students in my classroom) a Fantasy Alphabet Card Game.  At lunch the students could not stop telling me "P is for Princess!  R is for Rainbow!  T is for Treasure!  We love that game!"

A student playing the Fantasy Alphabet Card Game

A group of students playing the Fantasy Alphabet Card Game

1 comment:

  1. You are an inspiration Sharon! Thanks for the great tip on the moon song you left on my blog!!

    And- I had a student my first year teaching whose family didn't endorse the whole Santa thing- so I had to tread lightly around Christmas time!!

    Keep up the great work!!

    Let's Teach Something