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 L. Leslie Brooke illustration, "Inside A Brick House"

L. Leslie Brooke illustration, “Inside A Brick House”

Simplia was nestled in the wingback chair playing Words with Friends in her stripey pajamas, her feet in their fuzzy bunny slippers propped up on the ottoman. Sagacia sat at the hearth in her nightie, watching the coals die away. Neither was quite ready to trek upstairs to bed, nor was Murzik, who purred contentedly on the Chesterfield.

Sagacia wrapped her arms around her knees and sighed, and one of the whispering coals flickered brightly. She reached for the poker to push it to the side, and as she did, an open sheet of lined notebook paper drifted out of the chimney and floated gently above the ashes and coals. Simplia completed her word and glanced toward the paper just as it rode a warm puff of air and settled onto the hearthstone.

Sagacia picked it up and admired the perfectly executed cursive. Then she read aloud:

Hi, Vasalisa! I hope you’re feeling especially wise today. Are you smarter than a second grader? (Just kidding!)

I am a second grade teacher, and listening to folk tales and fairy tales is a requirement of our state standards for second grade. We always read and discuss several in class, including characters, setting, problem, solution and other elements of these two genres, and we also compare and contrast the tales with each other.

As a closing activity, the librarian here and at two nearby schools came up with this “Fairy Tale Bowl” idea. The students will read anywhere from 10 – 15 fairy tales and folk tales at school or on their own. On Bowl Day (kind of like Super Bowl, right?–not!), all second graders may come to school dressed as a character in one of the tales. Four students will represent each class and participate in the bowl (We have a Quizco buzzer system, which the kids love!) There are four rounds of regular questions and two lightning rounds (one word or short answers.) The team that collects the most points will win a trophy for their class and cute little medals for themselves. All the kids who participate receive ribbons and certificates.

So, you can see we need lots of questions abut fairy tales! Someone suggested I ask you. Can you help? Also, maybe you have some favorite fairy tales you’d like to suggest for second graders (7-8-years old). Thanks!

–Teaching in Texas

“Whew!” said Simplia. “She sounds sane enough.”

“And real, too,” said Sagacia. “Sometimes I wonder if Vasilisa’s questioners aren’t just made up characters themselves, but this one sounds like a real person facing a real challenge in which knowing lots of stories can help! We need to ask our magical friends!”

“Yes, lets!” said Simplia, pushing herself out of her chair. “First thing in the morning.”