Grade 1 and 11 Students Become Fairy Tale Heroes


Once upon a time there lived a group of young princes and princesses learning about fairy tales in their Grade 1 class. Her Royal Highness the Queen, Alison Galloway, taught them about elements commonly found in fairy tales (royalty, talking animals, magic, “Once upon a time…”), and how to tell a story (with a beginning, middle and an end) about a hero solving a problem and coming to a happy ending.

One beautiful morning, as the birds chirped away outside, Queen Galloway said to the princes and princesses, “I want you all to create your very own fairy tale… in English and Spanish.”

The young royals said in unison, “But how will we manage such a difficult task?”

A group of knights, made up of Advanced Spanish 11 students led by Emperor Clayton Daum, heard the cries of the Grade 1s and came to their rescue.

“My knights will partner with these princes and princesses, and work with them to scribe outlines of their own fairy tales, including the setting, the characters, the problem and the solution,” Emperor Daum said. “Then my Spanish-speaking knights will flesh out the fairy tales, writing the complete story in Spanish and then English.”

The junior monarchs were all excited about their new friendships with the smart knights. Each brave knight took a prince or princess under their wing, and together they brainstormed their own stories. Then, as the sun set on the day, the knights returned to their castle to write and illustrate the royals’ stories, vowing only to return when their work was complete.

Many days and many nights passed, and the royals grew anxious. One morning in Februrary, the town crier rushed into Queen Alison’s castle proclaiming, “The knights are en route; they have finished writing the fairy tales!”

Excited for the arrival of the Grade 11 knights, the princes and princesses dressed in their finest robes and dragon costumes to celebrate their partners’ return.

It was a joyous celebration, as each knight entrusted their golden fairy tales, written in both languages, to the monarchs.

Now each prince and princess was the proud heir to a unique fairy tale, which they co-created. Each monarch also gained valuable writing experience (and they learned a bit of Spanish in the process). And the knights gained an enriching leadership opportunity, to complement their skills in their own quests for nobility.

The princes, princesses and knights all remained friends, and they lived happily ever after.

– The End –


Below is one of the co-written fairy tales, The Adventure or La Aventura, by Matthew (Grade 1) and Josh (Grade 11).

The Adventure

Once upon a time there was a boy who was six years old. His name was Matthew and he was very strong. He lived in a castle in the forest. Matthew was the king of the forest and protected all who lived in the forest.

One day, Matthew was watching Star Wars in his grand theatre, when suddenly he heard a noise that was very loud. It was the sound of a castle being crushed in the distance. Matthew was very smart and knew who had done it. It was his evil twin, Tom. Matthew had to stop Tom before he crushed his castle!

He went into the forest to search for Tom. The forest was very dark but Matthew knew every part of the forest so he did not need his vision. He used the force.

A little while after, Matthew heard a noise behind a tree. “Who goes there?” said Matthew, “show yourself!”

Tom jumped out from behind the tree and said, “I’m going to crush your castle, and there’s nothing you can do to stop me!”

Then Tom ran towards Matthew’s castle to destroy it. Matthew chased after Tom and ran very fast. Matthew was faster and stronger than Tom.

Tom arrived at the castle and was about to destroy it, but suddenly Matthew grabbed his arm and asked, “Why do you want to crush my castle?”

Tom thought about the question. He just thought that because he was the bad guy, he always had to crush castles. Tom had no reason to destroy castles. Tom realized that he didn’t like destroying castles because no wanted to be his friend. Tom said, “I destroy castles because I have no friends, and I have no friends because I destroy castles!”

Matthew said to Tom, “If I become your friend, will you not destroy my castle?”

“Yes!” Tom yelled happily. Matthew and Tom became best friends and lived happily ever after.

by Matthew and Josh

La Aventura

Érase una vez un chico que tenía seis años. Se llamaba Mateo, y era fuertísimo. Él vivía en un castillo en el bosque. Mateo era el rey del bosque y él protegía a todas las personas del bosque.

Un día, Mateo estaba mirando al Star Wars en su teatro grande, cuando de repente el oyó un ruido ruidísimo. Fue el sonido de un castillo que se ha aplastado en la distancia. Mateo era muy inteligente, y sabía quien lo ha hecho. Era su gemelo malvado, Tom. ¡Mateo tenía que parar a Tom antes de que aplastaba su castillo!

Él fue dentro del bosque para buscar a Tom. El bosque era muy oscuro pero Mateo ya conocía todas las partes del bosque entonces no necesitaba usar su visión. Él usó la fuerza.

Poco después Mateo oyó un ruido detrás de un árbol «¿Quién va allí?» dijo Mateo, «¡muéstrate!»

Tom saltó desde detrás del árbol y dijo, «Aplastaré tu castillo, ¡ y no hay nada que puedas hacer para pararme!»

Entonces Tom corrió al castillo de Mateo para destruirlo. Mateo persiguió a Tom y corrió rápidamente.

Mateo era más rápido y fuerte que Tom. Tom llegó al castillo y estaba para destruirlo pero de repente Mateo agarró el brazo de Tom y dijo, «¿Por qué quieres aplastar mi castillo?»

Tom pensó sobre la pregunta. Él sólo pensó que como que era malo, él siempre debía aplastar castillos. Tom no tenía una razón para destruir castillos. Tom se dio cuenta que no le gustaba destruir castillos porque nadie quería ser su amigo. Tom dijo, «Yo destruyo castillos porque no tengo amigos, y ¡no tengo amigos porque destruyo castillos!»

Mateo dijo a Tom «¿si me pongo a ser tu amigo, no vayas a destruir mi castillo?»

«¡sí!» gritó Tom. Mateo y Tom eran mejores amigos después y vivieron felices y comieron perdices.

de Matthew y Josh





Student Reflections

“I loved when our buddy helped us make the setting of the story. He drew flames and cheesy lava!” – by Ethan

“My buddy was a boarder and I really liked it when he showed me his house. It was so cool.” – by Anderson

“I learned that you can write fairy tales in any language.” – by Sophie

“My buddy taught me how to say goodbye in Spanish. I would like to take Spanish 11 when I am at the Senior School.” – by Sahvean

“The best thing about the Senior School was eating with my buddy in Brown Hall. I had pork, carrots, crackers, watermelon and hot chocolate but I’m still not full! I still have crackers in my pocket for later.” – by Rayan

“I really liked coming up with a fairy tale with my buddy. I liked writing the beginning, middle and end.” – by William

“It was a great experience working with the Grade 1s.SMUS-FairyTales-FF-01 I don’t have any younger siblings but I wish I did. I used to get nervous spending time with little kids because I sometimes do not know what to do when they don’t cooperate. I sometimes felt I lacked the ability to get along with young kids. Therefore, I really cherished the opportunity to work with the Grade 1s. It is definitely an important skill to work with kids. It not only requires patience, but also some tactic. We did not manage to stay on task the whole time, but we had a lot of fun. I am impressed by their sweet character and creativity. I am sure this experience enriched both the Grade 1s and the Grade 11s.” – by Flora F.

SMUS-FairyTales-JW-02“Teaming up with the Junior School Grade 1s was an incredibly uplifting experience and I think it really lit up everyone’s day. It was exciting to watch their fantasy worlds come to life as they created the plot for our fairy tales. Their imaginations and expressions were so refreshing to be around in the middle of a busy day and I think it really took everyone’s mind off the stress and problems of our day – I know it did for me! It was also a great leadership opportunity for the Grade 11s to teach the children different Spanish words and phrases, and also a chance to be the student and let them teach us. I was amazed at how thrilled they were to be in charge while teaching us the different steps in writing a good fairy tale, and also how enthusiastic they were to learn new things.” – by Jennie W.

SMUS-FairyTales-FS-01“I really enjoyed the time with the Grade 1 students. They were all very cute and friendly. For me it is unusual to take a leadership role, because normally we are still considered the ‘young people’, not the teacher; this time it was the opposite. We tried to do everything correct because we wanted to be good role models for the Grade 1 students. When they came out of the bus I thought they would be more nervous, but they weren’t at all. My student, named Mikaela, directly started a conversation with me and told me what she liked and asked my name. I felt responsible for her during the time she was with me. This was sometimes kind of scary, because you were afraid that something would go wrong. Overall I am glad that SMUS gave me this opportunity, because I got an experience I will probably not get again in that way. Moreover, to know how to be a role model is a valuable quality and useful for your future life.” – by Flora S.

Teacher Reflections

“The students get a lot out of this partnership. They get one-on-one attention for them to talk about specific parts of the story. They’re the experts on fairy tales, the Grade 11s are the experts in Spanish. Our job is to make sure the stories fit the fairy tale model based on what they’ve learned in class. It gives them a sense of purpose for learning the elements of fairy tales. The experience also really inspires them; when the Grade 11s leave, all Grade 1s want to do is write their own fairy tales. They’re so gung-ho, because now they have an understanding of how to write a story. And they loved going up to the Senior School to see the Grade 11 classroom because that is where they’re going. I think for the older ones, it’s also great to come down to the Junior School and see how far they’ve come.” – by Mrs. Alison Galloway

“The obvious benefit for my students is they get to write in Spanish. More importantly, they get to have a neat connection to a group of kids they don’t otherwise get access to. Students I’ve talked to, and students who’ve done this in previous years, say this is the most memorable part of the class. They really like the opportunity to take on that leadership role with a group of students who are super keen and, for the most part, very easy to work with because they’re so excited about the topic. It gives my students a really neat opportunity to be a leader in a setting where they’re guaranteed to be successful, which is nice. I think they also really take pride in the finished product, because they know it’s not just going to me, but it’s going to their Junior School partner.” – by Mr. Clayton Daum

Next week, Ms. Lynn Porteous’s Grade 1 class will partner with Ms. Kim Tait’s Grade 9 drama class on a fairy tale unit with a very similar venture. But instead of writing the co-created fairy tales in Spanish, the Grade 9 students will perform the stories for the Grade 1s!

See more photos of the Grade 1 and Grade 11 Advanced Spanish classes writing fairy tales at the SMUS Photo Gallery.

(photos by Kyle Slavin)


  1. Great example of meaningful collaboration. I appreciated the student reflections showing that an authentic audience for student work can transform the learning.
    We have a unique opportunity to offer these cross campus experiences.


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