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Analysing Traditional Stories
An Idea for the Classroom

Stage 1
Brainstorm from your students a list of well known traditional stories (either as a whole class activity or as a timed competition in pairs/groups). These stories can be from any cultural background. Elements common to all stories, such as animals that talk, and fairies and magic, could also be elicited.

Stage 2
Using the example of a well known story like Little Red Riding Hood, the checklist below can be completed as a whole class elicited activity. Pairs or groups might be encouraged to come up with a moral for the story, either serious or humorous.
 
 

Title
Main charac-ters
Setting
Situation at the beginning
Problem /
Challenge
Journey?
How situation is resolved
Moral?
Little Red Riding Hood
LRR, Mother,
Grandma, Wolf,
Forester
Forest,
Cottages
LRR takes food to sick
Grandma
Wolf
Through
Forest
Forester
 
 Story 1
             
 Story 2
             

Stage 3
From the brainstormed list made in Stage 1, pairs/groups either choose or are given a story and asked to complete the table in the same way as the example done by the whole class.

Stage 4
Pairs/groups can continue to fill in their table by mingling with others and completing the details about other stories. This could be done two or three times.
 

Stage 5
Whole class feedback to discuss the variety of characters, settings, situations, and so on, in a traditional story.

Stage 6
There are lots of possibilities for developing the activity. Students might be encouraged to tell their stories as they are or, more challengingly, write an adapted version of them. Some suggestions of how they might be changed are listed below:
 

  • Add an episode at the beginning or at the end
  • Retell the story from the point of view of one of the characters
  • Create a whole new story using the characters from the original one
  • Introduce new characters to the story
  • Recreate the story into another genre, such as a newspaper report, poster, poem, TV script, or song lyric (rap song!)
  • Change the ending (happy to sad?) or provide alternative endings
  • Put the story in a different setting or historical period

Stage 7
Individual students read their stories to small groups. Before this stage it is essential that the teacher gives or elicits from the whole class some of the skills in oral storytelling. These are suggested in the Teachers' Notes.


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