Parents & Teachers Useful Tips
The "Elements of a Story" interactive is designed for kids to do on their own, but the different online activities can also be adapted for home or classroom use. Consider these tips when utilizing the interactive, as well as the accompanying ideas and activities for further understanding and exploration.
Tip For Home |
Ideas and Activities for Home |
For School |
Ideas and Activities for School
Tips for Completing the Interactive with Your Child
- Sit with your child while he or she is completing the online activities. Support rather than instruct. Help out if he or she gets "stuck." Ask your child to explain the choices he or she is making; for example, when your child is selecting the characters of "Cinderella," ask why he or she is not selecting the Wicked Witch or the alien.
- After your child watches and listens to the "Cinderella" story, ask how the version of the story presented in the interactive is similar to and different from other versions of the story with which your child is familiar.
- As your child completes each section of the interactive, ask your child to explain or review with you the story element he or she has been exploring. Ask your child, "So what is exposition?" "What is the conflict?" Let your child describe each story element in his or her own words.
- At several points during the interactive, your child may encounter characters, text, or situations that belong to stories other than "Cinderella." Ask your child what these stories are. If your child is unfamiliar with these other stories, make a note of it to build a list for potential future reading ideas.
Many of these stories -- including "Cinderella" and the multiple versions of it -- are often alluded to in other works of literature, visual art, and the performing arts. A child who has not been exposed to these traditional tales may miss references to them in other stories he/she may encounter.
Folk and fairy tales also inspire a love of language, rhythm, and repetition in children. Many traditional tales have familiar refrains (consider "My, what big ears you have! My, what big teeth you have!" or "Who's that trip-trapping across my bridge?") that build suspense, anticipation, narrative understanding, and literacy skills in children.
There are hundreds of folk and fairy tales that have grown out of cultures around the world. Exploring these tales will build your child's understandings of worldwide cultures, as well as the universal truths of the human experience.
- At several points during the interactive, your child may encounter characters, text, or situations that belong to stories other than "Cinderella." Ask your child what these stories are. If your child is unfamiliar with these other stories, make a note of it to build a list for additional future reading.
- Make a list of words your child has difficulty with while completing the interactive; appropriately utilize these words in later conversations with your child.
- Praise your child for their skills and successes while completing the interactive.
- After your child completes the interactive, ask which parts they found most enjoyable, most memorable, most frustrating, etc.
Activities for Home
- There are over 1,500 known versions of the "Cinderella" story that have emerged from cultures around the world. One of the earliest versions comes from the T'ang Dynasty in China, and originated in the 9th century! Many modern authors and illustrators have re-told these Cinderella stories. Visit your local library and read some of the different versions of the story. Discuss the similarities and differences between these stories and the version presented in the "Elements of a Story" interactive.
Suggested "Cinderella stories" include:
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters, by John Steptoe. An African version of "Cinderella."
The Rough-Face Girl. By Rafe Martin, illustrations by David Shannon. An Iroquois version of "Cinderella."
Yeh-Shen. By Ai-Ling Louie, illustrations by Ed Young. A Chinese version of "Cinderella."
The Egyptian Cinderella. By Shirley Climo, illustrations by Ruth Heller. An Egyptian re-telling of "Cinderella."
There are also multiple versions of "Cinderella" available online. Consider the following sites:
- Work with your child to design a new cover for a favorite book. On the book cover, ask your child to briefly summarize the setting, exposition, conflict, climax, and resolution of the plot.
- Ask your child to apply their understanding of different story elements to other stories or novels you read together. Who are their favorite heroes and villains? What is the conflict of their favorite story? What is the climax? What is the resolution?
- Follow viewings of television programs, movies, or theatrical productions with discussion and analysis of heroes and villains, conflict, exposition, plot, climax, and resolution contained in the production.
- Work with your child to write and illustrate their own version of "Cinderella" that takes place in a different setting than the version presented in the interactive. How would the story change if Cinderella's glass slippers were cowboy boots? Or running shoes? Or flip-flops?
Tips for Completing the Interactive at School
- After watching and listening to the "Cinderella" story as a group, divide your students into teams. Have each team complete the online activities associated with an individual story element. Ask each team to present their story element to the rest of the class, and explain how that element relates to "Cinderella."
- The version of "Cinderella" presented in the interactive uses a number of descriptive words in its portrayal of the characters. After watching and listening to the "Cinderella" story, work as a group to remember the descriptive words used for each character in the story, and brainstorm a list of new descriptive words which could be used for each character.
- Ask students to keep a log of definitions for each story element as they encounter them during the course of the interactive.
- After completing the interactive, ask students to brainstorm a list of other stories and novels that were alluded to in the online activities. Ask students to site specific examples.
Activities for School
- Ask students to research and read other versions of the "Cinderella" story from around the world. Ask students to record similarities and differences in a Venn Diagram, and to report their findings to the rest of the class. A substantial list of worldwide "Cinderella" tales can be found online at http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/cinderella/other.html#ashpet.
- Ask students to design new covers for a favorite book. On the book cover, students should briefly summarize the setting, exposition, conflict, climax, and resolution of the plot.
- Ask students to write letters, diary entries, or monologues from the perspectives of different characters in the "Cinderella" story.
- Ask students to write alternate "resolutions" to the "Cinderella" story. How else could the story have ended?
- Brainstorm lists of heroes and villains from other stories, novels, television programs, or movies.
- Create a bulletin board where students can track the different "elements of a story" found in other stories or novels you are reading in class.
- Have students read other fairy and folk tales to younger students or classes in your school.
- Ask your students to write a version of "Cinderella" that incorporates some of the other characters seen in the interactive, such as the fireman, the wicked witch, and the alien.
- Ask students to write and illustrate their own version of "Cinderella" that takes place in a different setting than the version presented in the interactive. How would the story change if Cinderella's glass slippers were cowboy boots? Or running shoes? Or flip-flops?