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Famous threesomes: Uncommon uses for common stories

Are these some of the intellectual skills you want for the children in your care?
takes initiative in learning
pays attention
concentrates on tasks
recalls information
orders the sequence of events
shows interest in written words
counts, sorts, and compares sizes of objects

And are these some of the social and emotional ones?
identifies feelings
feels safe, understands and uses safety rules
shows creativity
demonstrates self-help and health skills
cooperates with others
shows compassion and empathy
enjoys and responds to music
shows pleasure in success
works to solve problems peacefully

Are you committed to providing developmentally appropriate activities?
Do you want the children to have fun as they learn?
If these are your goals, this unit may be just what you need to plan fun-filled, developmentally satisfying activities, using familiar folk stories, in all areas of the classroom.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Gather these versions of the traditional folk tale:
Brett, Jan.
Fearnley, Jan.
Galdone, Paul.
Gill, Shelley.
Guarnaccia, Steven.
Mahan, Ben.
Marshall, James.
Oblogado, Lillian.
Percy, Graham. , book and cassette

Story time. Read the traditional story of retold and illustrated by Paul Galdone. Help the children learn the story by encouraging them to recite familiar lines, tell the story with flannel board characters, or act it out.
Explore other versions of the story including those illustrated by Jan Brett and James Marshall. Discuss and chart similarities and differences in the versions.
Read , by Brinton Turkle. Discuss and compare it to Goldilocks adventures.
Block center. Use unit blocks to build a house for the bears. Add pictures and signs to help children dramatize the story.
Art center. Provide sticks, leaves, and paint to paint a forest. Use a stick about 1 inch in diameter and cut at an angle. Show how to dip the stick in brown paint to make vertical lines for tree trunks. Dip smaller sticks or twigs into another shade of brown for the branches. Dip twigs with leaves into a shade of green paint and apply over the painted branches. After you demonstrate the steps, let the children explore these unusual art materials.
Offer brown sawdust or salt clay and encourage children to make bear sculptures.
Dramatic play. Place three different sized bowls, chairs, bed pillows (for beds), a bib (for Baby), an apron (for Mama), a man’s jacket (for Papa) and a basket (for Goldilocks) in the dramatic play center. Encourage the children to act out the story or make up their own version.
Put out puppets and a puppet theater so children can retell the story.
Listening area. Make available the Graham Percy book and cassette to the children. Or ask a parent to make a cassette of one (or more) versions of the folk tale.
Math and manipulatives center. Introduce activities using Teddy Bear counters, including weighing, counting, and color matching. Share bear puzzles and the Three Bears folder game.
Provide a collection of objects that come in three sizes: small, medium, and large. Encourage children to sort the objects according to size.

Three Bears folder game
Objective: The children will sort the bears and bedding by size and place them in the appropriate beds.
Here’s what you need:
file folder
heavy-duty envelope or small zipper-top plastic bag
package sealing tape
clear, adhesive-backed plastic or laminator
construction paper
patterned paper
copy machine

1. Trace the bed pattern on page 10. Use a copy machine to make two enlargements of the pattern, making three beds in graduated sizes. Do the same with the patterns of the bear and the blanket.
2. Use the patterns to cut out three bears and three beds from construction paper. Cut the blankets from patterned paper.
3. Glue the three beds to the inside of the file folder.
4. Write “Tuck each bear into bed” on the front of the folder.
5. Cover or laminate the file folder, the bear cut-outs, and the blankets.
6. Store bears and blankets in a plastic bag taped to the back of the folder.

Group times. Discuss safety rules. Ask “What did the bears forget?” (leaving their house unlocked; entering a house when they knew a stranger was inside) and “What did Goldilocks forget?” (doing what Mother told her; going into a stranger’s house).
Explore forests and trees with pictures and nature samples.
Talk about the different endings in the various versions of the story.
Cooking. Serve porridge (oatmeal or Cream of Wheat) for breakfast or snack. Offer honey, sliced almonds, raisins, and milk with the porridge.
Writing center. Offer paper, crayons, pencils, and markers for free drawing and writing. Provide word cards with the words three, bears, Mama, Papa, Baby, girl, chair, and bed printed in large, clear letters.
Discovery center. Collect pictures of hot and cold items. Encourage children to identify the object and sort the pictures.
Music and movement center.
First verse:
There was a great big (bear),
and a middle sized (bear) and
a teency, weency (bear).

Verses 2-4:
Repeat replacing (bear) with and .
Fifth verse:
There was a sweet little girl with the golden curls,
asleep in the teency, weency bed.
The bears came home and they growled and growled and
the scared little girl ran away.

Sing and adding movement to each.

The Three Little Pigs
Gather these versions of the traditional folk tale:
Ainsworth, Ruth.
Bishop, Gavin.
David, Judy. , book and cassette
Kellogg, Steven.
Lowell, Susan.
Moser, Barry.
Neway, Robert.
Percy, Graham. , book and cassette
Ross, Elizabeth.
Scieszka, Jon.
Trivigas, Eugene.
Zemach, Margot.

Story time. Read the traditional story of the retold and illustrated by Margot Zemach. Help children learn the sequence of the story, and the familiar refrain “Then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll blow your house down.” Retell the story with flannel board figures; let the children use the figures to share the story with each other.
Explore other versions of the story, including those known as fractured or twisted tales, in which the wolf becomes the sympathetic victim of the pigs’ mischief.
Art center. Instead of painting with a brush, blow the paint.
Here’s what you need:
sheets of slick-surfaced paper
drinking straws
liquid tempera
liquid dish detergent
measuring cup and spoons
mixing bowl and spoon
squeeze bottle

1. Pour 1/4 cup tempera, 2 tablespoons detergent, and 2 tablespoons of water into bowl. Mix gently.
2. Pour the paint mixture into a squeeze bottle.
3. Show the children how to squeeze a puddle of paint onto paper and use a straw to huff and puff and blow the paint around.

Introduce mud painting by talking about how pigs keep cool in mud, and how bricks are made from clay. Provide lumps of clay and water. Invite children to make bricks with the clay. As an outdoor art activity, mix water into the clay. Encourage children to finger paint with mud on a sidewalk.
Block center. Gather pictures of bricks laid in patterns—herringbone, basket weave, and banding. (See Guideboox/brick.html for more information.) Use unit blocks to make a wall like those in a brick house. Start the pattern and challenge children to continue it. Experiment with different patterns and try to determine which provides the most strength.
Bring cardboard brick blocks or hollow blocks outside. Build a house on the playground.
Dramatic play. Make pig snouts to add to the dramatic play prop box.
Here’s what you need:
pink plastic eggs
black permanent marker
ice pick or awl
stove flame
lengths of 1/4 inch elastic

1.Separate the plastic egg sections. One egg makes two snouts.
2.Use the permanent marker to draw two ovals on the rounded ends of the egg sections.
3.Heat the tip of the awl in a flame. Use the hot point to melt small holes in the plastic, one on each side of the snout.
4.Tie elastic through the holes to fit the children’s heads.
5.Label each snout with its user’s name.