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When a story begins "Once upon a time," readers expect a tale set long, long ago in a faraway kingdom with princesses, witches, heroes, talking animals, magic and adventure. People have favorite stories such as "Sleeping Beauty" and "Little Red Riding Hood," but people don't mind seeing those stories updated and modernized.
In the fall English elective "Fairy Tales Reinvented," six senior students — Destiny Brown, Jane McAleese, Savannah Sanford, Ashley Tate, Cartier Thomas and Olivia Tornetta — explored two questions: What is a fairy tale? Are fairy tales still relevant in a modern world?
At the end of a semester studying and researching traditional and modern fairy tales, they created an exhibit giving their answers to these two questions. The exhibit is on display in the Anne Frank Library until Friday, February 8.
Working in pairs, the students selected novels with fairy tale plots from the Anne Frank library collection. They read and analyzed their novels independently. Then they proposed, designed and created projects that expressed their interpretations and evaluations of those novels in relationship to fairy tales as a genre.
Ashley Tate and Jane McAleese did a character silhouette project based on the novel The Girls at the Kingfisher Club by Genevieve Valentine. Destiny Brown and Olivia Tornetta did a symbolic painting/modeling of the novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. Cartier Thomas and Savannah Sanford wrote a diary from the point of view of Captain Hook inspired by the novel Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen.
The seniors also became performing storytellers of particular tales. Each senior selected a fairy tale, read many different versions of it and then told their own version of the story from memory to the fourth and fifth grade. Grade 5 Teachers Mrs. Powers and Mrs. Hansell and Grade 4 Teacher Mrs. Fitzpatrick let the seniors tell their stories to their classes. The seniors then led a discussion with the Lower School girls about fairy tales and why they matter.
The Grade 4 and 5 audiences were divided into small groups so not all the girls heard all the stories. During the next few days, the younger students retold the stories to each other. "Fairy tales have a life beyond any picture book and the relatively simple plots and small list of characters allow the stories to be told and retold easily," explained English Teacher and Grade 9 Dean Sheryl Forste-Grupp.
The seniors also created a YouTube audio of the six different fairy tales as they were performed for the Lower School students. Listen to the audio here.