Coming of Age in Never-land Transformation in Multi-Cultural Fairy Tales

Author: John Pickersgill


Dimner Beeber Middle School

Year: 2010

Seminar: Multi-Cultural Fairy Tales: Portals to the Humanities

Grade Level: 5-7

Keywords: american dream, cinderella, fairt, seamstresses of france, sleeping beauty

School Subject(s): English, Writing

In traditional folktales from around the world, many characters are often placed in precarious situations through which they are challenged to gain a rite of passage, or undergo a transformation of sorts, which can lead them to a more balanced resolve or justice in such tales as Cinderella, or deprive them of freedoms such as in The Frog Prince or Sleeping Beauty.  Regardless of the out-come, the presence of the transformation theme in fairy and folk tales shows how over time societies have placed a value on the power of change and growth.

From tales of the American Dream to those of Seamstresses of France, transformation has provided a means through which one can extend beyond or be suppressed by one’s limitations.

Many of my students are going through their own transformations, externally and internally, as the expectations for them change and their identities are shifting from  children to young adults. My plan is that through using age old tales such as the ones I have chosen for this curriculum, I might be able to infuse the idea into the minds of my students that transformation is an essential part of life; something that can be as dramatic and metaphorical as shape-shifting in our fairy tales, or as simple as the passage to adolescence from child.

Students will use such strategies as group work, discussion, writing workshops, and “think aloud”. I will practice with students “How To” frameworks for writing assignments and active reading. We will also be conducting a fair amount of discussion, and questioning will be an integral strategy.

Download Unit: Pickersgill-_Unit.pdf

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