Grimm’s Fairytales: Playful Acquisition of German

Diane DeMarco-Flohr, German/English, Mallard Creek High School



As second language teachers, it is our responsibility to provide relevant, interesting and comprehensible material to engage students and facilitate their development of 21st century skills. Its complex grammar makes acquiring German especially challenging for students; therefore, this unit provides a light-hearted approach to teaching German with stories. The curriculum unit has been designed for a Level 2 German class but could be easily adapted for higher level learners of German, ESL or even other second languages. Integrating simplified versions of four well-known fairytales by the Brothers Grimm, this unit allows students to playfully explore the German language through a cultural web quest, TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling), readers’ theater and digital storytelling. Including a wide variety of activities with which the students “play” with the language, the unit addresses diverse learning styles and promotes literacy through reading and writing. Students will listen to fairytales, re-tell and re-create the tales using Photo Story 3 and also collaborate in groups to practice and then perform the fairytales in the community. Such a performance provides purpose and relevance to their study of the language while it also strengthens bonds between schools and promotes the German program as a whole.

Introduction and Rationale

The scene opens……We find ourselves in the middle of a dark room. A teenage girl is speaking to her sick, bed-ridden grandmother. “Grandmother, what big teeth you have! Why, you aren’t my grandmother at all!” says the frightened girl. “No,” answers the wolf, “she went shopping with my wife and I wanted to watch football on her big screen TV.” The scene ends. Students are acting out an alternate version of Rotkäppchen (Little Red Riding Hood) as a dress rehearsal in their high school German class. They stop, correct, revise the German, and perform the scene again. They own the project. While they are laughing and talking and enjoying the time getting to a perfect scene, the students hardly realize how the activity is helping them to acquire skills in their second language.

Speaking, movement, laughter, play: these are elements desperately needed in world language classrooms to keep interest and engagement high. Many high school students struggle with the national requirements for learning a foreign language, not always seeing the relevance. Yet knowledge of a second language and global awareness are becoming increasingly important in the USA as students work towards attaining critical 21st century skills. In order to help students develop their communication skills in German, it is important to encourage them to stay with the language long enough to make some gains in proficiency. According to a survey done by the Modern Language Association in 2006, there are more students learning foreign languages than ever before. The question remains whether these students achieve a reasonable level of proficiency. The survey showed that roughly 52% of learners choose Spanish as a second language, 13% French, and 6% German. [1]Almost always the third language, German has a difficult time shrugging off its perception as a more difficult language to learn, and thus it often attracts fewer students. As a member of AATG (American Association of Teachers of German), I read in the teacher listserv every year about colleagues across the nation whose German programs have been cut due to budget restraints or to make room for other languages, such as Chinese. While language study is increasing nationwide, the study of the German language does not seem to be increasing proportionately – at least not in certain regions.

I teach German levels 1-4 at an urban high school of approximately 2,100 students with a very diverse population: approximately 30% Caucasian, over 50% African-American and the remainder made up of Asian, Hispanic, Indian and multi-racial students. Although my lower level classes are full, my advanced classes are quite small. In fact, last year my AP German 5 courses were changed into NC Virtual Online courses since only 10 students had registered. In fairness, many students in our district take the very minimum in foreign language because of so many other great course offerings. As the only German teacher in my school, the 90 students who learn German in my classes represent less than 4.5% of the student population. German, the language of business, engineering, technology and innovation, can frighten off enthusiastic learners if German teachers focus too heavily on its complex grammar and sentence structures. In order to attract more students to this important language, German courses would benefit from lighter, more playful approach. It is, therefore, my goal with this curriculum unit to create material, strategies and activities to capitalize on resources from the cultural and historical literature from Germany: the fairytales of Wilhelm and Jakob Grimm.

The year 2012 marks the 200th anniversary of the Brothers Grimm’s first publication of fairytales, so it will be an exciting year to pursue such a project. As a language teacher, it is my goal to use culturally authentic material (such as Grimms’ fairytales) while making instruction relevant, interesting and effective. Ultimately, I would like for students to acquire as much German while enjoying the learning process. It makes sense to look at the theories of how students can best acquire languages to achieve this goal. In modern foreign language classes, most teachers are familiar with the theories of Stephen Krashen. He developed the idea of providing learners with “comprehensible input” in the classroom: flooding students with the target language using all means to help them understand it. This may involve repetition, physical movement, pictures or sounds. According to Krashen, the four basic states of natural language acquisition involve 1) comprehension, 2) early speech production, 3) speech emergence and 4) toward full production. To provide adequate comprehensible input, Krashen suggests sustained silent reading and read alouds as optimal strategies. For most effective learning, teachers should present material in language which is slightly beyond the learners’ ability level. In The Input Hypothesis, Krashen supports the use of stories in instruction. After in depth studies of language learners, he concluded, “Finally, it has been firmly established that hearing stories is pleasant. Even if hearing stories were somewhat less efficient than skill-building for vocabulary development, there would still be good reason to prefer it.” [2] Despite Krashen’s conclusions, some controversy has arisen in past years as to whether “comprehensible input” and reading are sufficient for optimal language acquisition. In the book How Languages are Learned, the authors Lightbown and Spada contend that learners must do more than simply “listen” to stories to make progress in a second language. “Approaches that integrate attention to form within communicative and content-based interaction receive the most support from classroom research.”[3] Teachers must provide opportunities for students to use meaningful language and give corrective feedback in the process. Storytelling is a powerful tool in foreign language when applied in conjunction with many activities to encourage students’ expression in the language and feedback.

The use of stories to teach reaches back to the earliest days of mankind. Deep within each person, there is a need to tell and a desire to hear stories. Stories can be powerful builders of relationships. Rives Collins and Pamela J. Cooper, authors of The Power of Story: Teaching through Storytelling explain that “……storytelling is among the oldest forms of communication. It exists in every culture. Storytelling is the commonality of all human beings, in all places, in all times. It is used to educate, to inspire, to record historical events, to entertain, to transmit cultural mores.”[4] Jason Ohler, author of Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: New Pathways to Literacy, Learning and Creativity, goes so far as to say that stories are actually essential to our survival. He writes, “…the heartbeat of most good stories is conflict resolution. As each of us struggles to make sense out of a cacophony of information that bombards us, the need to construct personal, clarifying narrative that is connected to the world we live in becomes critical.” [5] Storytelling in education affects many areas of the learner’s life. When high school students listen to, adapt and perform these stories, they are doing more than building language skills. They are learning about how to approach and resolve conflicts in life.

In Creative Storytelling, author and professional storyteller Jack Zipes writes about the modern reader’s continued attraction to the [fairy]tales. These tales remain intriguing to children and adults alike. There have been countless film versions of the stories over the past decades. In fact, the 2011 new television line up includes two series based on fairytales: Once Upon a Time and Grimm. Both promise to enchant audiences and develop a popular following. In this curriculum unit, I will incorporate the viewing of these series as helpful background material and an opportunity to analyze and compare modern versions with the classic tales. As evidenced in the movie and television industry, people remain intrigued by these tales. It is amazing how life lessons can be disguised in stories as basic as Grimm’s fairytales. The tales are brutal, in some cases, not always ending as happily as Disney versions portray. Zipes explains that people’s “continued attraction to the [fairy]tales, especially the classical Grimms’ tales, is based on something specific that we repress and are afraid to talk about…child abuse, neglect, abandonment, and how children survive all this in the tales with good will and the desire to lead a different life.”[6] Grimms’ fairytales allow readers to look danger in the face (through the eyes of the character, of course) and triumph against it. They experience relief when the children are safe in the end, overcoming difficult obstacles in life.

Unlike the Disney versions of these stories, Grimm’s fairytales deal with complex issues which speak to teens who potentially deal with similar situations. Stories can provide answers, encouragement, even solidarity with young people who are struggling with complex problems in their lives. They offer a means of testing solutions if needed. Fairytales demonstrate to children that wisdom is a universal trait; they can learn from other lands, people and generations. While the stories of the Brothers Grimm may be different in their original forms than the Disney versions, they can be powerful tools of learning. Albert Einstein once said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”[7] There is so much to be learned from fairytales – from culturally relevant material to family relationships to psychology. Spaulding writes in The Art of Storytelling: Telling Truths through Telling Stories : “Ideally, storytellers are selling hope…..Story supports hope: it gives courage to fight when needed, laughter when the unexpected happens, and a kind of verbal sanctuary of wisdom to ponder in times of quiet.”[8] Fairytales can provide a cathartic experience which can be empowering for the reader and the teller – especially when they can approach the tales playfully.

In this day and age of constant testing and data analysis, students and teachers can certainly use some “empowering” in the classroom. Storytelling allows for a different type of achievement. Stories help create rapport between the teacher and the students in the classroom. They create a connection between the teller and the listener, and they can help establish a kind of “community” in the classroom. Zipes explores the need for storytelling in schools. He offers that “….teachers and students must set their own standards in response to community needs, and that storytelling can be one way to create and strengthen a sense of community that is severely lacking in America….”[9] He further holds that storytelling in schools can establish bonds between teachers and students by allowing them to focus on issues and conflicts of interest.[10] As America struggles to regain its place in the global economy, schools can be a stable community for students to process changes and develop the skills they need for the 21st century challenges.

As part of a classroom community, students who would normally struggle with language acquisition can use the storytelling process to help them progress in the target language. When students are given opportunities to dramatize stories, they focus more on the dramatic play than the learning of another language. “Drama-based activities can heighten the students’ abilities to acquire. By losing themselves in the struggles and conflicts of others, they seem better able to make the target language part of their memory story.”[11] Such activities are quite important for students who might not learn well with traditional form-focused instruction. Using fairytales with which students are already familiar allows students to relax, enjoy the activities and “play” with classical literature.

Fairytales in instruction can provide the needed vehicle for integrating more playful lessons into German classrooms. For this curriculum unit, I will incorporate four of the Grimms’ fairytales, all of which students will most likely be familiar: Rotkäppchen (Little Red Riding Hood), Schneewittchen (Snow White), Hänsel und Gretel, and Rumpelstilzchen. Exposing students to simplified versions of these tales will combine both a cultural backdrop for learning German as well as a familiar storyline from which to focus on language. With most learners of German starting in the 9th or 10th grades, students need fairly basic texts as opposed to the original versions. As Stephen Krashen suggests, I will adapt the tales to make them comprehensible to my German students. With my very diverse population of students, a variety of strategies will be necessary to meet the needs of each learner. No doubt, readers may have similar situations, so pick and choose activities as needed. My unit focuses on Level 2 German classes, but this unit could be easily adapted to meet the needs of students in Levels 1, 3 or 4. The unit could also be extended to other world languages and ESL. Since level 2 is a key phase in their study of language, I would like to impact the students positively to encourage their further study of German. Very often students stop after Level 2, and the attrition rate at my school is much higher than I would like. Through this curriculum unit, I hope to improve student learning, solidify students’ desire to continue with German, and also attract potential students, both in my school and at our feeder middle schools. The unit is designed to last three weeks with the placement of the unit towards the latter half of the course. My school operates on 90-minute blocks, a course lasting one semester.


To accomplish the goals of curriculum unit, I will include a variety of strategies. Level 2 is traditionally the most grammar-packed phase; for many students, this grammar can be overwhelming. In this three-week unit, I will incorporate four fairytales of the Brothers Grimm and introduce vocabulary and grammatical structures in a story context. By including stories students should already know, I am encouraging students to relax and focus on the words. Their listening and reading skills should improve as a result, but production of the language through speaking and writing is equally important.

Building Background with Technology

As a preface to the unit, students will research information on the lives and writings of Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm as well as the regions from which they gathered their stories. I will include a web quest in which students search for important information regarding the Grimm Brothers, the stories, and the historical context of their writings. Students can visualize the actual setting of the stories and better understand the tales by exploring their background. To make the tales even more realistic, we will pinpoint origins on a map of Germany in our classroom and design pictures to accompany these. Students can apply their artistic as well as spatial abilities in this way. Because students of the Digital Age flourish when given tasks involving technology, this component catches their interest and engages them early in the project. In addition, the research aspect meets the requirement of the North Carolina World Languages Essential Course of Study. In the category of Connections to Other Disciplines, “…technical skills in these areas are also drawn on, and technology is woven throughout world languages as a resource for materials and a means of expression and presentation.”[12] On the whole, the integration of technology is encouraged, and students certainly appreciate the opportunity to explore language online as well as in the classroom.


The integration of oral and written stories is beneficial for high school learners of foreign language as is evidenced in the popular program, TPRS (Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling). I will use TPRS to provide comprehensible input of the fairytales. Since our school district is striving toward improved literacy for all students, TPRS’s focus on reading and writing is highly beneficial to students. This method of teaching/learning through stories allows students’ inhibitions to drop. Although acquiring a second language is a serious business, students who learn in TPRS style do not seem to fret about learning. The playful approach helps students acquire language skills more naturally and quickly. In the case of fairytales as text, most students are already familiar with the most famous stories; they can therefore devote their attention to vocabulary building and natural sentence structure.

I will present each of the stories in oral and written format. In the classic TPRS form, the teacher presents new vocabulary gradually through pictures drawings and gestures. A method of learning vocabulary through gestures was developed by James Asher in the 1960s. His method, Total Physical Response (TPR), remains an integral part of TPRS, actually part of its original name. With TPR, concrete words are learned with the aid of gestures, adding an element of playfulness.[13] Then the teacher presents the basic aspects of the story through the use of repetition and questioning until the students have heard the vocabulary and the structures many times. Because of this repetitive, questioning style, TPRS presentation is not like a typical “read aloud.” It is much more interactive with built in checks of student comprehension. For a full understanding of this learning/teaching method, please refer to Fluency through TPR Storytelling by Blaine Ray and Contee Seely. The inspiration for this teaching/learning method is the work of Stephen D. Krashen, who wrote Second Language Acquisition, The Input Hypothesis and The Natural Approach. His concept “comprehensible input” in language instruction is the foundation of the TPRS program. Teachers must make the material comprehensible to the students before they are able to produce the language. Therefore, they receive a great deal of input, the same material in different forms, in a repetitive manner, responding only minimally at first and later more as they acquire the vocabulary and structures.

According to Krashen, the use of stories is a more effective strategy in conveying comprehensible input than direct instruction. In the article, “Are Read Alouds and Free Reading Natural Partners? An Experimental Study,” Krashen acted as advisor and editor to Kyung Sook, C. and Dong Seop, working with Korean school children learning English. They measured the language development of two groups of children – one which included regular English instruction and one which added daily reading of stories in English by the teacher. The students who received the extra storytelling daily were more advanced in the foreign language than their counterparts at the end of the course. The authors noted, “…the superior progress of the experimental (story-telling) students shows that language development can occur without formal instruction, just from hearing stories and reading”.[14] So giving students comprehensible input through stories empowers them in the language acquisition process.

Comprehensible input in the form of stories can help learners acquire new vocabulary very efficiently. According to Warwick Elley of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand, studies of school children prove that using stories boost learners’ vocabulary skills. [15] Although a somewhat older study, Elley describes a setting very reminiscent of a TPRS classroom. “…the features that best predicted whether a particular word would be learned were frequency of the word in the text, depiction of the word in illustrations, and the amount of redundancy in the surrounding context.”[16] After a period of “input” through storytelling, students can acquire just as much language as through direct instruction of lists and vocabulary drilling. A study of adult Japanese learners of English in 2004 also speaks for the power of storytelling in acquiring a second language. Whether the students are children, teenagers or adults, storytelling helps learning. They involve questions and conversation. Questions are crucial in helping teachers determine how students learn best and what concerns them.[17] Clearly, stories are an excellent tool to incorporate in lessons to engage students and ensure they acquire content, vocabulary and structures.

As many school districts across the United States, my district has, however, become very result-orientated. Teachers must show evidence not only of students’ comprehension but also of their skills in production of the language. For this reason, the unit will include many strategies which also encourage speaking and writing. Learners’ communicative, task-based activities – such as illustrated stories and literature with interactive segments will be crucial. The interactive portion involves personalize questioning of students. In addition to checking their comprehension of portions of the narrative, it also is an indication of their skills in structure. When students respond orally during storytelling, it may be in response to direct questioning. It could, however, also be part of an interactive story, in which the students supply key details of the story. In producing the language, students make use of creativity and also critical thinking skills. Students in the process of group storytelling are commonly highly engaged. Naturally, it is important for teachers to carefully monitor those students who are not fully engaged. When the “input” even by classmates becomes incomprehensible, some students simply shut down. It is, therefore, imperative to include frequent checks on comprehension of all students in class. Students who feel successful will almost always participate. In the safe and positive atmosphere of the classroom, with intriguing stories which the students help create, students are bound to learn quickly and effectively.

Paired and Small Group Readings / Discussion

After each fairytale has been presented in oral story format and students are growing confident in the vocabulary and structures from the tale, students will discuss the story in German. I always have students retell our group stories to a partner or a small group before moving on to other activities. This discussion is vital in the acquisition phase since students now communicate with one another instead of directly with the teacher who can perhaps more easily decipher meaning from their utterances. An effective part in the learning process, interaction with other learners requires concentration and participation. Students must negotiate for meaning with one another; this is critical feedback for them. When they have trouble expressing themselves, they search for alternatives. When they are misunderstood by others, this is a clear message that their language skills are different from a native or more advanced speakers and need improvement.[18] This fact can be more effective than direct instruction or drilling. If students’ attempt at communication produces language which is incomprehensible, it does not matter how much vocabulary they know. Most teens see the relevance in trying to carry on a normal conversation. Such negotiation of meaning can provide motivation where tests and quizzes do not. Other specific strategies to use for discussion here are paired readings, think-pair-share, and jigsaw activities.

Choral Reading and Chanting

The next phase would involve more active reading of the text. The groups will practice with choral reading. In the early stages of language acquisition, some students lack confidence in their oral skills. Alternatively, they may have the desire to express themselves, but they lack the necessary vocabulary. These students benefit from choral readings of stories. Here the focus is less on what one says but how one says it. “…choral reading offers struggling readers a comfortable support system in which all students are working together to ensure a practiced and comfortable presentation.” [19] When students focus on expressing emotion and acting out scenes, they are generally less self-conscious about pronunciation. Gradually students will become more familiar with the text and pronunciation improves. It is an opportunity to improve pronunciation and naturally acquire proper word order in a playful way.

Role Play and Pantomime

Students will participate in role plays in this curriculum unit. Depending on the classroom dynamics, I will select students from the group who can “ham” up the fairytales as we tell them in the TPRS phase. For some students, performing in front of their peers is thrilling. Role play allows them to step into the shoes of someone else for a while and act differently than they normally might. For other students, acting out a scene as a role play is their worst nightmare. Therefore, it is important to discover early on who is willing and encourage others as time goes on. Forcing students to perform defeats my goal of creating a safe environment in which to learn. Therefore, I always give timid students the option of performing just for me to receive feedback on their oral skills.

In pantomime, students demonstrate the actions in a story without speaking. They demonstrate comprehension without production of the language yet or to elicit oral responses from classmates. In role play, students speak and help “act out” the fairytale while I present it or they may retell it afterward. It might include interviews of the characters for the newspaper or a debate amongst characters from various stories. In either role play or pantomime, students “play” with the text to clarify or deepen meaning. Role play can be spontaneous, but this can be difficult for Level 2 students. Still, with enough repetition of the story (and consequently vocabulary and structures), students will be able to role play scenes from the fairytales.


Students will also retell the story in writing to solidify meaning in their own minds. I will provide numerous writing activities for students to playfully manipulate the story plot. In this category, I will include options to differentiate for the various skills levels of my students. Students who are struggling in the language will receive illustrations for which to create sentence captions. They will also put sentences from the text in correct sequence or re-order the sequence of events to tell a new story.

As individual writers, the students have quite a bit of flexibility and can make creative changes as they like – provided they have the language to express themselves. There is nothing worse than students who turn to Google Translator or end up with “Denglish,” and so I proofread their work carefully. More advanced students can retell the story from a different point of view (first person or from the perspective of another character in the story). Students will create literary posters / advertisements for the fairytales as well as simple newspaper articles.

For students with strengths in interpersonal skills, the option to collaborate in a group story writing activity is highly motivating. While I seldom insist students work in groups on such projects, I sometimes offer the opportunity for those who flourish in this type of task and work productively and creatively in a team. Group storytelling can result in fascinating work when students enjoy the task, and so it is important to set clear parameters for the outcome of such a group story.

There are many websites which provide access to Grimm’s fairytales in the original German. For the Level 2 German course, however, many of these versions are far too complex. Therefore, I will incorporate simplified versions of the four stories and adapt those versions into actual scripts for student actors. In order to diversify the lessons for more advanced students, I will provide the option to create/write a new version. I have found in language classrooms that much of my focus goes towards those students who struggle with learning; those who pick up the language quickly tend to wait patiently, or they may offer to help other students. In worst case scenarios, they become bored and disruptive. These exceptional students need special challenges as well to keep them engaged and to help them demonstrate growth. Creative opportunities for brainstorming new twists to the tales, writing, changing perspectives, and adding props will provide a useful challenge for such students and keep them on task.

Depending on the quality of the students’ written pieces, I will compile into a booklet of all their work as a keepsake for them and me.

Learning Styles

Unlike the “high fliers” in the classroom, students struggling with the language will need opportunities to demonstration comprehension and engagement with the text. In The Power of Story: Teaching through Storytelling, authors Collins and Cooper recommend including “Body Warm-Ups” and “Voice Warm-Ups” to prepare for storytelling. Such physical activities can help make the students reading for speaking and focus in a foreign language. In his article, “The Eight Intelligences (and how they relate to TPRS),” Thomas Armstrong of Michigan State University explains how the brain processes information through the eight intelligences, a theory originally presented by Howard Gardner. Armstrong explains that kinesthetic learners can be encouraged to create “freeze frames” of various scenes or make human sculptures to show understanding. Musically talented students might create chants or song versions of the text, and visual students should be encouraged to create a “doodle diary” as well as a storyboard to process the text of a story. Armstrong goes on to describe strategies for Logical/Mathematical learners who would benefit from thinking about and creating logical (true) and illogical (false) statements about the text.[20] By appealing to each student’s strength, I can encourage each to experience a successful early phase of the learning process.

Reader’s Theater

Reader’s Theater is a structured drama, in which participants act out a story using a script. It stresses reading aloud and using voice to interpret the meaning. Reader’s theater can be highly beneficial in second language acquisition since teachers assess students’ skills in pronunciation and inflection. Under the guise of working on the script, teachers can give corrective feedback more specifically. In Building Fluency with Readers Theatre, author Anthony D. Fredericks explains that such repeated readings also improve students’ reading fluency and comprehension.[21] Reader’s theater allows students to understand and interpret what they are reading as well as expand their creative and critical thinking skills.[22] Reader’s theater makes it possible for students to not only examine fairytales for their content but also to investigate the cultural aspects and interesting language characteristics. It is a fun and engaging way to combine groups of students who normally might not work together. Incorporating the strategy of reader’s theater will not only help my students improve their German language skills, they will collaborate with others, develop critical thinking skills and work towards achieving literacy goals.

As the student scenes improve and progress, it is my goal to reach out to the community. I would like to have my students travel to our feeder middle schools to present their scenes to interested groups. Not only is it exciting for students to perform for live audiences, but the middle school students love visits from the high school. It is an excellent opportunity for vertical learning and a wonderful way to promote the German program for prospective students. I encourage the students to keep the language simple and use stories with which the younger students are familiar. They can predict what will happen next because of their prior knowledge of the fairytales. Naturally, it is helpful to have self-confident presenters in the skits, who can communicate the storyline clearly and make German appear easy. Including a strategy like reader’s theater skits helps highlight students’ strengths in the language and attracts new students, too.


Beyond communicative-based tasks such as group stories and reader’s theater, this unit will incorporate technology to further engage students in their acquisition of German. In this Digital Age, most students respond so positively to the use of technology that it is a must in today’s classroom. In Digital Stories in the Classroom: New Media Pathways to Literacy, Learning and Creativity, Jason Ohler states he knows “…only one thing for certain about the technologies that await us in the future: we will find ways to tell stories with them.”[23] I plan to include viewings of basics such as films and audio clips so that students are hearing authentic speakers of German. There are many audio versions of the stories on the Internet, provided one chooses a simplified version. Film and other visual media especially capture and keep students’ attention. I have found, however, when film is integrated too frequently, students no longer appreciate it fully. For this reason, I like to use such clips strategically, at times of low energy or to clarify meaning. In addition to visual and audio clips, other strategies would be to include PowerPoint to introduce typical story and fairytale elements. It is also helpful to present different versions of the story, in which each character is highlighted and settings/ mood for fairytales are established.

Technology provides opportunities for teaching elements of stories as well as for playing with the fairytales. Since games appeal to the visual learners in classrooms, it makes sense to use either an LCD projector or a Document Camera to play. Fairytale trivia, character/ plot details, or author information can easily be included in games such as Jeopardy, Hangman, or Who Wants to be a Millionaire. Naturally competitive, students love a good game as long as the stakes are not too high. Students who are normally shy when the focus is on grammar will often come to life during such games where speed and agility are called for. Kinesthetic learners thrive in such an environment, and short games are amazing energy boosters for the class. It gets students up and out of their desks, moving and thinking in German. Games which involve students “racing” to the blackboard can be offered as motivation. Students are much more willing to cooperate during class with the promise of a preferred activity at the end, such as a game.

While taking a course at the Goethe Institut in Munich for German teachers in summer 2009, I learned about writing a “Hörspiel,” which was a radio drama of a play which the course participants created and performed themselves. We started with an idea, brainstormed scenes in groups, wrote the mini-play and recorded it including sound effects. Everyone received a CD of the recording, and it was an amazing experience. I plan to attempt a similar recording of our Reader’s Theater presentation probably using Audacity to accomplish this task. There is also website which allows one to record readings and radio dramas as podcasts and to upload them for others to hear: If my students are as entertained and as proud of their work as I was, it will be worth the time and materials invested.

Digital Storytelling (DST)

The written portion of the curriculum unit will also in part involve technology. The culminating activity of the unit includes the creation of a digital story. In his book, Jason Ohler describes the benefits for integrating digital storytelling into classrooms in that they allow students to work with classroom material using a medium a language which they best understand: technology. He writes: “Digital stories require student to create storyboards, story maps, scripts, media lists, and other planning products that have wide application……Most important, the media production process requires students to synthesize imagination, creativity, research, and critical thinking in order to translate their ideas into some form of media-based expression.”[24] In his website,, he provides digital storytelling storyboard templates which will be useful for the planning of the story. There are, however, ample online story creation sites.

Since our district has invested in Photo Story 3, I will encourage students to create new, adapted versions of the Grimm’s fairytales using this program. In this phase, students who are technologically talented can really demonstrate their skills and show off. Students insert photos, story text and audio clips, even recording their own voices reading the story. Students may choose to produce an individual or partner project in which they will consider theme, setting, characters, conflict, resolution, and mood to rewrite the stories. Students will create illustrated glossaries of new words used in their stories to assist other readers in class.


A major goal for me is to attract new students to the German program and grow my numbers. For this reason, the students will present their reader’s theaters skits and the Photo Story 3 projects in class, to other German classes and 9th grade English classes at my school. We will reach out to the community and visit our feeder middle schools to perform and present our masterpieces as well. I have found that the middle school students love visits from high school students, enjoy such presentations as a special event, and often sign up because the presentations highlight the interesting activities of the class. Live performances will benefit my German 2 students as well, as they perceive how their hard work is met with enthusiasm from audiences. It is really a win-win situation for all involved.


As mentioned previously, this curriculum unit will take three weeks. Due to other curriculum requirements, I will devote only a portion of each 90-minute class period to the Fairytale Unit.

Day 1: Introduction and Background

In order to elicit students’ previous knowledge of fairytale stories, I will give them a pre-assessment activity. This activity will involve students matching pictures of famous Grimm fairytales with titles in German. In addition, students will be asked to identify themes and typical story elements.

According to North Carolina Essential Standards, students should compare their culture with that of the target culture. (NL.CMT.4) In order to accomplish this goal in this curriculum unit, I will have students research the history and geography associated with the original fairytales of Wilhelm and Jakob Grimm. Students will receive a web quest sheet to explore the websites ( and ) for:

  • the lives of Wilhelm and Jakob Grimm
  • the origin of various Grimms’ fairytales
  • the “Märchenstrasse” (fairytale road) in Germany
  • the regions today
  • texts and audio versions of fairytales
  • online activities with fairytales (cloze texts, games, quizzes)

Students will have time to explore the website and play with the stories before actually reading them in German. They will be assessed on the completion and accuracy of answers from the web quest. Based on the information students discover, students will identify the region/town from which Grimms’ fairytales originated. Each student will receive one enlarged picture from the matching exercise to place next to our classroom map, attaching the picture to the region/town with a piece of string. Afterward, we will compare our findings with the map of the Märchenstrasse, created for tourists wanting to explore the origin of the fairytales, found at Students will thus be examining the German culture, reading in the target language (as well as comparing the text/structure/vocabulary with English), also meeting the North Carolina Essential Standard: (NL.CLL.2) Understand words and concepts presented in the language.

Days Two-Five

Each day for four days I will introduce basic vocabulary to help tell the four fairytales as a TPRS story. At this point in the course, students will have learned the present perfect forms of verbs and will be learning to identify the simple past tense forms. While I expect nothing close to mastery of the simple past tense at this stage from the students, I will nevertheless present the stories in the form to expose them to it. As part of the TPRS process, I will do the following each day:

  • present a few new vocabulary words and structures
  • use TPR to make the meanings of these clear
  • have students use gestures to internalize the meanings and demonstrate comprehension

Then I will proceed to tell an interactive version of the fairytales. With TPRS, students supply words, names, numbers, etc. to help build the story and take ownership of it. The telling is meant to be a fun, playful approach to learning, and student volunteer answers. Throughout the telling of the story, I will ask questions to 1) check students’ comprehension, 2) repeat structures, and 3) keep students engaged in the process. While I will not let the students stray too far from the original storylines, their opportunity to help tell the story and thus influence outcomes is very empowering to them. It can become a competitive game for them to come up with the best answers. My students receive weekly credit for participation in such storytelling events, so they are especially motivated to have their ideas included. During the storytelling, I will also encourage student “actors” to help make the scene more visual. In classes which include motivated students, these can be particularly entertaining moments.

I have chosen the four stories partially for thematic purposes. Day Two: Rotkäppchen (Little Red Riding Hood) involves an animal, the wolf and highlights a little girl in a dangerous situation. Day Three: Schneewittchen (Snow White) involves family relationships and jealousy. Day Four: Hänsel und Gretel incorporates a theme of siblings who cleverly outwit a witch to overcome dire circumstances. Day Five: Rumpelstilzchen includes a theme of wealth/poverty, making a deal with an evil creature to avoid certain death and living happily ever after.

After each day of storytelling, students will re-tell the story in some manner. Day Two they will re-tell a partner or small group, with each person taking a turn to say a sentence and add to the story. Day Three, students will receive a page with a story template to draw pictures of the story with accompanying sentences in German. Day Four, students will retell the story in German in a timed writing. I give the students a minute to plan and then five minutes to retell the story. Many German 2 students are able to write a 100-word story within these five minutes after having practice doing so. (For more on timed writings in TPRS classrooms, see “TPRS in a Year!” by Ben Slavic available through Day Five, students will retell the story as a group. As a variation, students could “try” to sneak in false information and have the others correct it. One might also include a ball of yarn in the telling the story. Students catch the ball of yarn, say their sentence and throw the ball to the next student, holding onto a piece of the yarn. In this way, it becomes clear who is contributing to the retelling. During the retelling phase, I only correct extremely glaring errors which interfere with communication. I will recast a sentence which is very unclear, for example, so the students hear a more accurate version. The retelling phase meets the North Carolina Essential Standard: NL.CLL.1 Use the language to engage in interpersonal communication.

In our school district, there is a focus on literacy – this year with special emphasis on boosting reading skills. To improve students’ reading skills in German on a daily basis, we will read a slightly more complex version of the story which includes vocabulary and structures from the previous day. Day Two: students will read alone, highlight key concepts in a bold color and respond to questions in English to ensure their comprehension of the text. Day Three: students will read with a “buddy” in class. For this, I will pair students of similar ability level to differentiate. Students will read through the text, taking turns explaining it to one another. Day Four: I will divide the text into three parts and have students do a “jigsaw” text reading of the story. This means each of the three groups has only one part of the story. After reading their portion and upon a signal from the teacher, a representative “expert” (or two) from each group goes to sit at the table of another group to tell his/her portion of the story and hear the part he/she is missing. Upon another signal, the same student moves to the third group and completes the same task. In the end, all participants should have each part of the story. Day Five: students will read small groups and create “freeze frame” versions of the scenes. Each small group will be assigned one section of the story to playfully interpret physically. I will photograph each group to create a “gallery” of the scenes for the students to view later.

Lastly, on these four days, I like to incorporate some very basic role playing for students to re-enact the stories. After the telling and the re-telling, students should have a fairly good idea of the story text. I group students and give them five minutes to create the scene and perform for the whole class. Assessment is based on enthusiasm, creativity and pronunciation.

Days Six-Seven

Students will receive excerpts from scripts for the Reader’s Theater scenes. Before I assign any roles, we will play with the texts and experiment with roles. During this stage, I will include choral reading from a portion of each story. Students will say lines from the script, while I suggest adding emotions to the same text. For example, I will hold up signs having them read once slowly, once quickly, once as if to a child, once as if to the President. Students will alternate saying lines loudly, quietly, angrily, lovingly, etc.

Similarly, groups will play around with rhythms of sentences with chants, repeating content numerous times. In essence, it is vocal and pronunciation training. Although focusing on emotion and pronunciation, we are actually drilling structures and vocabulary through repetition of the lines. By the end of Day Seven, students can express their preference for a role and parts will be assigned. It can be a good idea to assign someone as an “understudy” who can fill in when someone is sick of absent during practice or a performance. Also since there may be some students who would prefer not to have a speaking part, there should be some alternative tasks such as Sound Effects, Stage Manager, Line Prompter, etc.

Day Eight

Students will work in their Reader’s Theater groups to read the parts and plan the blocking, pacing and interpretation. Students should also to discuss costumes and props at this time. I will circulate throughout the room to keep students on task, answer questions and provide feedback.

After practicing, I will provide a variety of games to deepen understanding of the plot, review key vocabulary and grammar terms. We will play games in the same Reader’s Theater groups to encourage collaboration and sense of community. The following games/manipulatives will be available:

Quartett with characters/key objects, Memory (Concentration) with pictures and sentences in simple past tense, Charades/Pictionary with plot events, actions from the fairytales (vocabulary), and Million Dollar Question with key sentences from the fairytales.

Next we will do a pre-writing activity which is based on an idea from Jack Zipes book, Creative Storytelling. Although Zipes was working with younger children in the book, they were native speakers of English and therefore able to express their ideas readily for the task. This writing task is far from juvenile, and my German 2 students are only able to write at an elementary level anyway. He describes have the students name key elements of fairytales: people, objects, locations such as

father step-mother witch little girl evil man wolf

basket apple shoe breadcrumbs ball straw

castle woods town small house tower garden

We will write the German name for the terms and place these on cards.[25] I will require students to choose ten of the words to incorporate into the story. Some students will choose to remain fairly close to the original storyline, so I will encourage them to be original and take some risks in the language. Zipes describes allowing the students to engage in a hypothesizing “What if” the situation were different – if Little Red Riding Hood were a boy or if the wolf were a cub? Since my students are not yet at a stage in their acquisition of German to be able to express themselves using this structure, I would not attempt it with German 2. However, with more advanced classes (German 3 and beyond), this would be a very applicable and relevant activity to include for students to playfully practice these complex structures.[26]

Students will receive a printed storyboard template to retell their fairytale. Storyboard templates can be found online. My personal favorite is because it offers a large variety of versions which can be downloaded and printed for students to write on. I will give a differentiated assignment based on the students’ skills. I will give the students the option to work alone or in a small group. More advanced students can adapt the ending, or they can change the perspective and tell the story from a first-person point-of-view; struggling students can stay with the basic storyline and use actual sentences from the text or paraphrase. With this activity our literary goal of improved writing can be met.

As homework, I will allow students to read some other variations on the fairytale which exist in modern and world literature. Jack Zipes mentions several in Creative Storytelling: Catherine Storr’s “Little Polly Riding Hood and the Stupid Wolf,” Philippe Dumas’s “Little Aqua Riding Hood,” and Sue Porter’s “The Little Wolf.”

Homework: students will begin memorizing their lines. Although lines need not be memorized in a Reader’s Theater, the more familiar one is with the text, the more flexibility the reader has to focus on emotion and blocking.

Days Nine-Ten

To aid students in memorizing their lines, I will make use of a game to playfully drill the lines within the groups. I learned this activity in Germany during a training course in Suggestopedia (in the United States known as Accelerative Learning) with a training organization called Delphin many years ago, and it is explained in the Teacher’s Book for A Dream Come True by Gail Heidenhain. According to the activity, I will divide the class into four groups by story. A ball is needed as well as a set of playing card for each group.

Phase 1: Each student will choose one of his/her lines from the text. Students stand in a circle. As the ball is tossed to the student, he/she says his line aloud. As students become more familiar with the lines, they switch to Phase 2: Students throw the ball to the person whose sentence they know by heart now. Phase 3: The cards are dealt to each student (excluding Jokers). Students begin laying down cards in a kind of “war” situation. Whenever a student sets down the same card as another student, the two race to say the other student’s sentence in German as quickly as possible. The faster person wins the cards. To differentiate this activity, I also allow students to play this game in pairs, with one partner standing behind the other to provide assistance. In order to lighten up the competition which often pursues, I sometimes stop the game and allow each participant in the small group to repeat the sentences.[27]

Students will do partner pantomime and voice warm-ups before beginning to practice in their Reader’s Theater groups. They will read through the storyline several times, and I will circulate to answer questions and give feedback.

Students will work in the computer lab to read more complex versions of each story online. There are countless versions of the fairytales on the Internet. Some of the versions provide help for readers. For example, Lesekorb ( has a function which allows the reader to highlight an unknown word in German and see the English translation. Other websites allow the reader to toggle back and forth between the German and English versions (see Resources for Teachers). Students will be required to read (and listen to) all four of the fairytales online as well as complete a series of online activities such as choosing correct verbs, placing words into correct order, and playing hangman. As assessment, I will give students a stamp for each online activity they complete. Advanced students will have the option of exploring the Grimm Grammar website,, where they can read in English and German, learn new vocabulary and practice specific grammar points of interest. It is a very user-friendly site for self-learning.

As homework students will brainstorm ideas and write a skeleton story for their own modern version of a fairytale. Students will list all necessary vocabulary to identify unknown words/ structures.

Days Eleven-Thirteen

Students will practice Reader’s Theater in groups with costumes and props. They will make professional scripts for their performances.

Students will once again work in the computer lab to create a digital story. Having brainstormed an idea, students will use Photo Story 3 to write their stories, insert illustrations, and add music and narration. Photo Story can be downloaded for free at . Alternatively, students can make stories in cartoon format, using or . In these sites, students insert text or sound to personalize the stories, using characters from the online source. There is a wide variety of choices in terms of characters, so students can truly personalize these. For regular photographs, it is also possible to use . Since my students and I a more familiar with Photo Story 3, we will be using that format at least for the pilot project.

During our time in the Media Center, I circulate to check on skeleton stories and answer questions on vocabulary and structure. I will allow students to take a 45-minute period each day to gather pictures and songs to use in the creation of the story. If short on time, this can also be assigned as homework. On the following days, students will add text and narration on the program to complete the digital story. Students will include aWorks Cited pages of sources used in the project.

Day Fourteen

Students will complete dress rehearsals of their Reader’s Theater projects in preparation for performances in class and later at the Middle School.

Individual students present their Digital Stories to the class for a grade. I will make arrangements for the students to present these to other German classes throughout the remainder of the semester as each student’s schedule allow. Another forum would be our bi-monthly German Club. Lastly, I will choose the best versions of the digital stories for students to travel after school to our feeder middle schools to present these on the day of the Reader’s Theater presentations.

The Photo Story will be worth a test grade. The rubric I will use for grading is based on material from the book 50 German Oral Communication Activities.[28] It will look something like this:




Needs Improvement

Deadlines: Photo Story is completed on time.5 Photo Story is turned in late.4 3 Photo Story is turned in quite late.2 1 0
Plot Structure and Cultural Elements of Fairytales Story is logical and complete with fairytale elements, pictures, narrations, conversations and music.15 13 11 Story is complete with a few rough spots; needs a few more slides/ is missing fairytale elements, music pictures, narrations, and/or conversations.10 8 6 Story is incomplete with major gaps; is missing several slides, pictures, fairytale elements, narrations, conversations and/or music.5 4 3 2 1 0
Vocabulary and Dialogue Story includes a large variety of unit vocabulary15 13 11 Story includes a variety of unit vocabulary.10 8 6 Story includes little to no variety of unit vocabulary.5 4 3 2 1 0
Correctness and Use of Written German Written story has minimal grammar errors; depth of grammar and vocabulary is level appropriate and excellent.20 19 18 Written story has several grammar errors; depth of grammar and vocabulary is not quite level-appropriate.16 14 12 Written story has many grammar errors: depth of grammar and vocabulary is limited and needs work; writing is often unclear.10 7 5 3 2 0
Correctness of German and Pronunciation Student uses correct grammar + pronunciation. (only minor errors)10 9 Student uses mostly correct grammar and pronunciation. (some errors)8 7 6 Student uses incorrect grammar and pronunciation (many errors)5 4 3 2 1 0
Creativity Student has created a highly original story and included relevant artwork and music.10 9 Student has created an original story as well as included artwork and music.8 7 6 Student has used little evident creativity and not much originality in terms of artwork and music.5 4 3 2 1 0
Works Cited Student has included a complete, accurately written Works Cited page.5 4 Student has included a Works Cited page which may have some errors.3 2 Student has included a weak or no Works Cited page.1 0

Day Fifteen

On this final day, students will perform their Reader’s Theater fairytales in costume and using props. Since this is their culminating activity, students should feel confident and excited on this day. It is important to have a student in place to help students if the forget their place and “feed” them the line as needed. For the live performances, students will use their scripts. As with the Digital Stories, I plan to have these students perform for the older and younger students at my school as their schedules allow.

To document the reading, I would like for the students to record their voices either on a blog to be uploaded to the German site, Alternatively, we could record the four fairytale readings on Audacity.

Concluding Remarks

With this curriculum unit, I hope to encourage students to continue taking German by making the class enjoyable and relevant. It is my hope that the presentation of the unit within my school and at the feeder middle schools will reach potential students and entice them to give German a try. Lastly, I hope this unit helps students learn as much meaningful German as they can in a playful manner so that they enjoy the process of language acquisition and can apply these strategies and skills as 21st century learners to other disciplines.



[1] “New MLA Survey Shows Significant Increases in Foreign Language Study at U.S. Colleges and Universities,” Modern Language Association of America. (New York, NY; November 13, 2007), Accessed 9/22/2011.

[2] Stephen Krashen. The Input Hypothesis.

[3] Patsy M. Lightbown and Nina Spada. How Languages are Learned, 3rd ed. (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2009), 176.

[4] Ed. Rives Collins and Pamela J. Cooper. The Power of Story: Teaching through Storytelling,

2nd ed. (Scottsdale, AZ: Gorsuch Scaresbrick, Publishers, 1997), 1.

[5] Jason Ohler. Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: New Pathways to Literacy, Learning and Creativity, (Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2008), 9.

[6] Jack Zipes. Creative Storytelling: Building Community, Changing Lives. (NewYork and London: Routledge, 1995), 220.

[7] (Fairytale Quotes and Poems, September 6, 2011).

[8] Amy E. Spaulding. The Art of Storytelling: Telling Truths through Telling Stories. (Plymouth, UK.: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2011), 4-5.

[9] Ibid., 4.

[10] Ibid., 8.

[11] Patricia A. Richard-Amato. Making it happen: interaction in the second language classroom: from theory to practice, 2ed. (White Plains, NY: Pearson Education, 1996), 128.

[12] (North Carolina World Language Essential Standards).

[13] James J. Asher. Learning Another Language Through Actions. 6 ed. (Los Gatos, California: Sky Oaks Productions, 2000).

[14] Kyung Sook, C., Dong Seop, C., & Krashen, S. “Are Read Alouds and Free Reading ‘Natural Partners’? An Experimental Study,” Knowledge Quest, 36, No. 5 (2008), 69-73.

[15] Warwick B. Elley. Reading Research Quarterly : Vol. 24, No. 2, Spring, 1989. “Vocabulary Acquisition from Listening to Stories.” University of Canterbury, New Zealand, pp. 174-187.


[16] Ibid., 174.

[17] Rives Collins and Pamela J. Cooper. The Power of Story: Teaching through Storytelling, 2 Ed. (Scottsdales, AZ: Gorsuch Scaresbrick, Publishers, 1997), 5.

[18] Patsy M. Lightbown and Nina Spada. How Languages are Learned, 3 ed. (Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2009), 150-151.

[19] Anthony D. Fredericks. Building Fluency through Readers Theater. (Westport, Connecticut: Teacher Ideas Press, 2008), 18.

[21] Anthony D. Fredericks. Building Fluency through Readers Theater. (Westport, Connecticut: Teacher Ideas Press, 2008), 15.

[22] Ibid., 55.

[23] Jason Ohler. Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: New Pathways to Literacy, Learning and Creativity, (Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, 2008), 3.

[24] Ibid., 11.

[25] Jack Zipes. Creative Storytelling: Building Community, Changing Lives. (New York and London: Routledge, 1995), 46.

[26] Ibid., 29-34.

[27] Gail Heidenhein. A Dream Come True Teacher’s Book. (Ismaning, Germany: Max Hueber Verlag, 1994), 138.

Works Cited

Abilock, Debbie. “Differentiated Storytelling: From Focused Observation to Strategic Teaching” in Knowledge Quest, 36, No. 5. May/June 2008. Accessed 10/27/2011, ves/v36/365/KQW36_5Abilock.pdf . Accessed 9/1/2011.

This article describes concrete ways to differentiate instruction through the use of stories by including examples of three students (EC and ESL).

Armstrong, Thomas. “The Eight Intelligences (and how they relate to TPRS).” Accessed 7/15/2011.

This article review the theory of Howard Gardner on the eight learning styles and how they can

adapted for used in storytelling.

Armstrong, Thomas. The Multiple Intelligences of Reading and Writing: Making the Words Come Alive. Association for Supervision and Curriculum and Development. Alexandria, VA. 2003.

In this book, Armstrong highlights Howard Gardner’s theory on learning styles and provides practical reading and writing activities to appeal to each type of learner.

Asher, James J. Learning Another Language Through Actions. 6 ed. Los Gatos, California: Sky Oaks Productions, 2000.

This classic book describes the history and practice use of Total Physical Response in the foreign language classroom.

Collins, Rives and Pamela J. Cooper. The Power of Story: Teaching through Storytelling. 2 Ed. Scottsdale, AZ: Gorsuch Scaresbrick, Publishers. 1997.

This is a very useful source which provides tips from seven professional storytellers as well as a final chapter of storytelling activities for K-12 students.

Elley, Warwick B. “Vocabulary Acquisition from Listening to Stories.” Reading Research

Quarterly, 24, No. 2. Spring 1989. University of Canterbury, New Zealand. Accessed 9/1/2011.

This article describes research done to discover how learning vocabulary in the context of stories would impact acquisition of the foreign language.

Fredericks, Anthony D. Building Fluency through Readers Theater. Westport, Connecticut: Teacher Ideas Press, 2008.

This helpful book offers strategies, lessons and even scripts to integrate readers theater into K-12 classrooms.

Gass, Susan M, and Larry Selinker. Second Language Acquisition. 2nd Ed. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers. Mahwah, NJ 2001.

This is a useful text for understanding second language acquisition, which compares a variety of modern theories and practices.

Heidenhain, Gail. A Dream Come True Teacher’s Edition. Ismaning, Germany: Max Hueber Verlag, 1994.

This teacher’s supplement is designed to accompany the ESL textbook, A Dream Come True; it

offer a large variety of playful activities to work with texts in the style of Suggestopedia

(Accerlative Learning).

Lightbown, Patsy M. and Nina Spada. How Languages are Learned, 3rd. Ed. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2009.

This is great reference book, which provide the history of Second Language Acquisition with evaluation the efficacy of modern theories

Mason, Beniko, “Vocabulary Acquisition through Storytelling.” Presented at PAC5, Vladivostok, Russia, June, 2004.

In this printed speech, the author explains the results of her research in Japan with learners of English. In her study, she compares direct instruction of vocabulary with that learned in stories.

Mason, Beniko and Stephen Krashen. “The Effects and Efficiency of Hearing Stories on Vocabulary Acquisition by Students of German as a Second Foreign Language in Japan.” Accessed 7/21/2011.

This article highlights a similar study conducted by Beniko under the supervision of Stephen Krashen with Japanese learners of the German language.

Ohler, Jason. Digital Storytelling in the Classroom: New Pathways to Literacy, Learning and Creativity. Thousand Oaks, CA : Corwin Press. 2008.

This is a crucial book for learning how to use technology into the modern classroom. Ohler carefully defines digital storytelling and describes the step-by-step process integrating it into instruction.

Ray, Blaine and Contee Seely. Fluency Through TPR Storytelling, 5 ed. Berkeley,

CA: Command Performance Language Institute, 2008.

This book is the foundation for the TPRS movement for using storytelling in instruction. The

authors explain the theory of Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling and give

practical examples to follow in the application.

Richard-Amato, Patricia A. Making it happen: interaction in the second language classroom: from theory to practice. 2 ed. White Plains, NY: Pearson Education, 1996.

This is a great source book for teachers of second languages, offering both SLA theory and practical application with many useful activities for the classroom.

Spaulding, Amy E. The Art of Storytelling: Telling Truths through Telling Stories. The Plymouth, UK: Scarecrow Press, Inc. 2011.

This inspirational book explains the elements of storytelling and the skills a good storyteller can develop. It also includes a list of useful stories and online sources.

Zipes, Jack. Creative Storytelling: Building Community, Changing Lives. Routledge. New York and London, 1995.

Excellent resource for the “storyteller” which provides variations on existing fairytales and activities for students to process the tales and rewrite/act out their own versions. German recording program. Accessed 9/22/2011. Quotes on Fairytales. Accessed 9/22/2011. Accessed 9/22/2011. Modern Language Association Statistics. Accessed 9/22/2011.

Useful Sites for Teachers Website with simplified versions of Grimm’s fairytales, theater scripts, game, and puppet ideas. Website of the Deutsche Märchenstrasse showing origins of fairytales and other interesting locations. Stories with activities, games. Printed literature in print. Grimm’s fairytales can be found here in the original. Fairytales, fables and legends in German. Background information on the Brothers Grimm in English. Original stories translated into English. Simplified versions of the tales, also dual German/English versions. Website from Goethe Institut for recording and listening to original versions of fairytales/Hörspiele. Tales in dual languages. Tales in dual languages. Grimm’s Fairytales in German – audio versions to download. Grimm’s Fairytales to download and listen to audio version. Hänsel und Gretel video with Scherenschnitt figures – 1:37 minutes. Hänsel und Gretel Song with melody. Very simplified version of Hänsel und Gretel (Frau Zins) Pictures of fairytales for coloring. Mohamed Esa’s fairytale blog. Language statistics Website of Stephen D. Krashen with books and articles by him. Little Red Riding Hood “Hörspiel” / Musical with Puppets Cartoon version of “Rotkäppchen.” Classic film version of “Rotkäppchen.”