Jacob and Wilhelm: The Brothers Grimm

Jacob and Wilhelm: The Brothers Grimm

Our study of fairtales, took us to many places and exposed us to new learning almost daily. However, our study of the Brothers Grimm was the most stimulating, in regard to authors. Our travels in Germany included journeys to homes, towns, and museums that highlighted the lives of the two brothers.

Jacob and Wilhelm spent most of their lives in Germany. Both were lawyers by trade, and later become professors, who lost their jobs due to their ethical stances. Nevertheless, they were ambitious and turned their focus to writing children stories and other literacy works. The process to create their stories were very intentional. They collected oral and written narratives, and adapted them to create the “grimm genre”, which made stories more appropriate for mothers to read to their children. The bourgeois audience, which the brothers targeted, believe that childhood was a time of freedom and safety. Therefore, in several cases, the wicked woman in the story became the evil stepmother.

The Grimm brothers fairytales also had a heavy emphasis around meanings, including tales of fortune or warnings to the audience. In their stories, the fortune often awaits the hero, such as a marriage the that brings a new social class, as in Cinderella. The warnings taught children about consequences of actions, such as not listening to your parents or talking to strangers like in Little Red Riding Hood.

Additionally, the brothers wanted to “redeem imagination” against the rationalities of modern life by using little, fantastical creatures, such as dwarfs and talking animals. Our conclusions is that like us, the brothers wanted children to think beyond their realities and dream big.

As we reflected on our study of the brothers, we became more committed to continue their charge of teaching students about life through stories and encouraging them to think beyond their current realities. In addition, we will share the brothers story of perseverance, in hopes of reinforcing the idea that greatness is often achieved through overcoming adversity.

In our opinion, the future of our community lies in our students’ abilities to become leaders, who use their imagination to solve problems and create new opportunities. We have a new level of respect for these brothers. Until next time.

Primary Sources: GRIMMWELT Museum Kassel and Bruder Grimm-Hans Steinu Museum

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Germany – A Perfect Fairytale Setting

Have you every wondered if those “far, far away” lands described in fairytales exist? Well, in our opinion those places exist in the country of Germany.
                         
For seven days, my colleagues and I traveled the fairytales route of Germany. During our tour, we learned about the history of the Brothers Grimm and explored some of the cities and castles that inspired their work. But, one surprising takeaway from this experience was how similar Germany’s landscape is to the settings described in fairytales.

Like many fairytales, the towns were decorated with cottages and cobblestone roads. Additionally, the countryside had an abundance of castles and thick forests. The only components missing were the magical characters, and we are sure they lived somewhere in the deep forrest out of our sight. 

Seeing that Germany offered such an authentic representation of fairytale settings, we plan to use our video recordings and photos to enhance our teachings of settings. Our hope is that the lessons will help our students better visualize fairytale settings and ignite their imagination as they begin to write their own fairytales.

Please stay tuned. A more in-depth post of the Brothers Grimm is coming shortly. They are intriguing!

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The Italian Way

Ciao! Yesterday concluded our learning journey in Italy. Our immersion into the Italian culture afforded us many opportunities for reflections because each city we explored had distinct features. However, when discussing our take aways from this experience, we focused on two significant aspects we believe will inspire our students; ingenuity and social responsibility.

Venice or Veneza, as the Italian refer to it, is an intriguing city. It is a city built on water. We were impressed with the early Venetian engineers, as they “paved” their streets with water instead of stone. Miraculously, people of Venice primary means of traveling continues to be by boat. For us, this city had bigger implications for our students. Venice waterways are a demonstration of how a group of people’s imagination and ingenuity changed the thinking of how and where cities could be built.

In addition to their innovative spirit, we observed that in a majority of cities visited, the Italian citizens demonstrated some level of social responsibility to each other. During our bus and subway rides, passengers automatically gave up their seats for the elderly and women with children. In many cases they offered to help them get settle. My colleague and I acknowledged that people assist each other in the U.S., but not on such a comprehensive level and it is not a social expectation. Our hope is that as we retell our stories, students will gain a deeper sense of responsibility to the community.

The lessons on the Italian culture will stretch our students’ mind beyond their academic standards. Our students are in for a treat. Arrivederci!

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La Belle au bois dormant

“Imagination will carry us to worlds that never were.  But without it we go nowhere.”                – Carl Sagan 

Charles Perrault is the father of modern-day fairy tales.  His tales are based on French popular tradition and were very popular in sophisticated court circles. Perrault used images from around him, like Chateau D’ Usse, to inspire his works.  Yesterday we took a train to the Loire Valley to explore Chateau D’ Usse.

Within the walls of the castle, scenes from Sleeping Beauty brought the fairy tale to life.  Significant scenes such as the old woman spinning the spindle that ultimately causes the princess to be put to sleep, and the princess lying dormant in the finest room in the palace where she was ordered by the King to be placed upon a bed of gold and silver-embroidered fabric, and the prince who finds the castle and kisses the princess to awake her.  Each scene sparked our imagination to retell the story in a more meaningful way.  There was something special about being in Sleeping Beauty’s tower and analyzing the Renaissance structure of the palace. Both of which ignited our own curiosity.

Grandiose Style

Prior to visiting Paris, we admired the French for their fashion, food, and architectural designs. Our attraction to their culture was solely based on secondary sources such as books, documentaries, and lessons taught in our European studies classes in high school and/or college. However, those experiences could not have prepared us for our personal immersion into the French culture.

For two days now, my colleague and I have traveled the city of Paris and surveyed the French lifestyle. We have eaten authentic cuisine and attempted to use the language, although to our surprise, most people here speak English. We are living in a “flat,” also known as an apartment amongst the Parisians. We have visited historical landmarks and are impressed! Not only did the French contribute to the world’s history, but they did so in grandiose manner.

Here, the bread and cheese are like nothing we have tasted before. Their language has a distinct and sharp sound as it echoes throughout the city. The architecture of the Cathedral of Notre Dame and the exquisite decor in the Palace of Versailles is what tips the scale. The architects did not forget a single detail.

Our personal experiences with the French has enhanced our respect for their culture. Now we are inspired to replicate these experiences for our students in grandiose style. Wish us luck!

 

 

 

 

First blog post

On June 12, 2016 we will set out on an adventure to inspire our students and broaden their imagination. We will travel to several countries across Europe to gain a deeper understanding of fairy tales. Our mission is to enrich our school and community through the use of fairy tales in our classroom and in homes across our school district …”Bibbidi-Bobbidy-Boo!”