Make Cycles

Our course is organized by two week “make cycles,” a term I borrow from Connected Learning. We will read, discuss, and make things based on the children’s books we’re reading. You can find the “weekly work” for each cycle in the drop down menu above.

Google+ Community

We will share most of our work in a Google+ Community. We can upload images, respond to each other’s ideas, and share links and artifacts here.

Weeks 2 & 3 (Make Cycle 1: Fairy Tales)

Weeks 2 & 3 (Make Cycle 1: Fairy Tales)

Make Cycle 1: Fairy Tales

Sept 1-16: Weeks 2 & 3 

Children’s book this week (*each Make Cycle, I’ll highlight a children’s book that supplements the themes we are working with. Hoping you’ll simply bookmark for your future classroom as a resource): The Paperbag Princess

This week kicks off our “make cycles” with a look at fairy tales and their role in our culture. Fairy tales are also (obviously) a big part of children’s lives and can be used in such interesting and playful ways in your future classrooms. In fact, the Common Core Standards for English Language Arts (ELA) in second grade asks students to:  “Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.” CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.2

By the end of our two week “Fairy Tale Cycle”, we will be invited to:

  • Read various versions of well known fairy tales: Little Red Riding Hood and Cinderella.
  • Write responses to these readings and respond to other’s. (All posts in our Google + Community)
  • Create your “Make”: Make your own version of one of these tales in the form of a poem or piece of art.

Check weekly video updates too.

Week 2: Sept 1-Sept 9

Post this week in Google+ under heading Week 2: Fairy Tale (Little Red).

By Wednesday, Sept 5: Post a response:

Prompt: What makes a story a fairy tale? What are the elements? Why do we continue to read fairy tales? What role do fairy tales serve in our culture? What are your memories of fairy tales? Post in Google+ under heading Week 2: Fairy Tale (Little Red).

Read by Sunday, Sept 9: “What Bugs Said to Little Red Riding Hood” (poem); and Maria Tatar’s “Little Red Riding Hood” versions (<– this is a link to pdf of Tatar pp. 3-24).

*Note, after reading the introduction information about Little Red Riding Hood (LRRH) in this linked PDF, you might find it easier to read the actual versions of the tales in another format; quite frankly, the pdf is not super easy to read on the screen and I didn’t want you to buy another book. If you do a simple Google search for the version titles and authors, you can easily find more readable online texts. I’ve also linked to a resource at Pitt too, which has many versions of the tales and is a great resource for teachers. And before you have anxiety over the number of versions you need to read, you’ll notice once you click that some are only half a page of writing. Search for:

  1. The Story of Grandmother
  2. Charles Perrault’s Little Red Riding Hood
  3. Brothers Grimm Little Red Cap
  4. James Thurber’s The Little Girl and the Wolf
  5. Calvino’s The False Grandmother
  6. Chiang Mi’s Goldflower and the Bear
  7. Roald Dahl’s Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf
  8. And here’s a link to the Pitt resource (most of these versions are here)

By Sunday, Sept 9: write a response to the following TWO prompts:

Prompt 1: In the introduction to The Classic Fairy Tales, Maria Tatar lays out the debate around the cultural role of fairy tales. She explains, “Some advocate for the recuperation and critique of the classic cannon; others have called for the revival of ‘heretical’ texts (stories repressed and suppressed from cultural memory) and the formation of a new canon; still others champion rewriting the old tales or inventing new ones” (xiii). She goes on to quote Dworkin who sees fairy tales as imprinting cultural absolutes; Dworkin argues that we take the roles offered in fairy tales as “real identity.”

Unpack this debate given your reading of the Little Red Riding Hood Cycle of stories; what is afforded by these various “tellings” of this story? What are the implications of these tales in terms of identity construction? What roles are offered in the tales for children to imagine? How is this helpful/problematic? Point to specific tales in Little Red Riding Hood as we think through these ideas.

Prompt 2: In your opinion, is Red Riding Hood better off following Bugs Bunny home in “What Bugs Bunny Said to Red Riding Hood”?  Why or why not?  Explain your thinking. 😉

Post in Google+ under heading Week 2: Fairy Tale (Little Red)After you post, comment on a peer’s post: tell them what you like, what is interesting, where you agree, etc. 

Week 3: Sept 10-16

Post this week in Google+ under heading Week 3: Fairy Tale (Cinderella).

Read by Wednesday, Sept 12: Cinderella” (link to pdf of Tatar pp. 101-137) and “The Tale of the Shoe” by Emma Donoghue

By Wednesday, Sept 12: write a response to the following TWO prompts:

Prompt 1: Tatar identifies two kinds of tales that folklorists say belong to the “Cinderella” cycle: stories where a young woman is abused by her stepmother and stepsisters and stories where a young woman must fend off the illicit advances of her father. Investigate these stories for ideas about gender roles and relationships—write out your ideas about the ways each kind of story reveals social attitudes towards women, men, and their relationships.  Use at least two stories from the “Cinderella” cycle as evidence for your ideas.

Prompt 2: In what ways does Emma Donoghue undermine the conventions of the fairy tale? How is her version of Cinderella different? Do you have favorite passages or lines from this version?

Post in Google+ under heading Week 3: Fairy Tale (Cinderella). After you post, comment on a peer’s post: tell them what you like, what is interesting, where you agree, etc. 

By Sunday, Sept 16: Our “Make” for this week.

Post in Google+ Community under Week 3: Fairy Tale Make (poem or art)

The make assignments have two parts:

  • The make itself


  • a brief artist’s/writer’s statement explaining what you were attempting to do with this make: how did you approach this artifact? what worked? what did not work out as planned?

A couple of choices here for our makes this week: a remix of the tale by writing a poem, or create a piece of art that remixes the tale. See ideas below.

One choice: Compose your own revision of Cinderella by writing a poem. You could imagine your version taking on the perspective of the prince, the step-sisters, step mother, mice, fairy godmother, etc… Or change the setting or tell us what happens after the wedding. Here are some examples:

In Search of Cinderella

From dusk to dawn,

From town to town,

Without a single clue,

I seek the tender, slender foot

To fit this crystal shoe.

From dusk to dawn,

I try it on

Each damsel that I meet.

And I still love her so, but oh,

I’ve started hating feet. —Shel Silverstein

..And Then the Prince Knelt Down and Tried to Put the Glass Slipper on Cinderella’s Foot

I really didn’t notice that he had a funny nose.

And he certainly looked better all dressed up in fancy clothes.

He’s not nearly as attractive as he seemed the other night.

So I think I’ll just pretend that this glass slipper feels too tight. –Judith Viorst

OR another choice: create a piece of art (drawing, etc) that revises one of these fairy tales. When you share it in our Google+ Community (you can upload a picture(s) or link), explain to us what you’re hoping to illustrate through your art.