Cat and Mouse in Partnership

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  2. 2 – Cat and Mouse in Partnership | Fairy Tales Grimms to Disney: Professor Norberg Course Preview
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Meanwhile the greedy cat went and made an end of the little pot of fat. The mouse asked at once what name had been given to the third child.

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I never met with anything like it! Whatever can it mean? After that the cat was not again asked to stand god-father. When the winter had come and there was nothing more to be had out of doors, the mouse began to think of their store. There is something about reading fairy tales that is quintessentially classical.

After all, classical education considers the great stories of Western culture one of its core foundations. So if at the end of a school day I have read a fairy tale with my students, I am usually pleased. Rich as they are for the moral imagination, I try to draw as much from them as possible.

Here is a breakdown of some of my favorite extension activities to do with students. A classical mainstay, Socratic discussion is at the heart of my approach to studying fairy tales. We discuss the stories in small groups and as a whole class, often rearranging the desks and chairs so we form one large circle or several smaller ones. This discursive format helps students break down the plot and unpack its core symbols. I guide the discussions but play a limited role in order to encourage active engagement from the students. Plus, it lets them tease out the ideas that they find most interesting.

In this way, students feel a greater sense of ownership in the discussions and make more personal contributions. This is a really fun one that serves as a natural outgrowth of Socratic discussion. Disputation involves debating key aspects of the story, typically those that pose moral dilemmas. For example, in reading Cat and Mouse in Partnership , we might debate whether the mouse should have formed a partnership with the cat.

Or when reading Cinderella , we might debate whether or not it is a good story for little kids. Sometimes our debates are very formal with preparation and regulated rounds. Other times, they are of a more impromptu style. Either way, the students get very animated and impassioned. Another exercise I really like is plot reinvention. First, students have to thoroughly understand the original plot of the story, meaning they can express the inciting incident, climax, and resolution for themselves much as I have done in this blog series.

Once they can do this, they choose an element to change. If, for example, the father in Godfather Death were to choose God, then the whole story would change. One of the great things about this exercise is that it gives students a concrete place to start writing, which can be very difficult with more open-ended prompts. Character reinvention follows this same principle.


2 – Cat and Mouse in Partnership | Fairy Tales Grimms to Disney: Professor Norberg Course Preview

What if Little Red Cap were a naughty girl? Or what if the fisherman had a tougher upper lip? Or how about making the youngest sister in Twelve Brothers a real chatter-box? When students develop a whole new approach to a character, it affects all of his or her motives and actions and can lead to a different, not to mention highly entertaining, story altogether.

Cat and Mouse in Partnership

I also like projecting beautiful paintings or sketches from fairy tales and having students write just one scene based on the picture. This approach is a little more contained than the previous two, so it makes it easier for students to develop sharp, properly formatted dialogue and well-planned narration.

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As such, it readily doubles as a grammar lesson as well as a creative writing exercise. In preparation for writing a scene for Cinderella , I might depict the painting above by John Everett Millais and prompt students with the following: Describe the moment in time depicted here. Draw your ideas together as a scene from the story. Be sure to include dialogue and narration.


There are a number of mediums one could use for reflective journaling, but one I really like is water color. This entails students painting something they found inspiring in a fairy tale. After reading The Little Match Seller , one might paint a wood stove, another a Christmas tree, or even the little girl flying up to Heaven. Once students have painted their pictures, they reflect in writing on what they have depicted and why. All the while, we play classical music and otherwise maintain silence.

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  8. It makes for a very relaxing, thoughtful environment, not to mention beautiful work. Since there is no more fat to be eaten, Cat does not pretend to have to attend the baptisms of any more kittens. When winter comes, Mouse says that it is time to retrieve their jar of fat. The two animals go to the church and take the jar from beneath the altar. Mouse starts to berate Cat for being greedy and deceitful.

    Cat angrily replies, "one more word and I will eat you too. True to his word, Cat silences Mouse by eating the little creature.

    Grimm's Fairy Tales (Selected) | Study Guide

    Sign In Don't have an account? Start a Wiki. Plot Cat and Mouse become friends and decide to set up home together. The story concludes with the words, "that is the way of the world. The title was changed to Katze und Maus in Gesellschaft for the third edition of the anthology.