Below are six ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ resources, as well as tasks and comparative questions. Although primarily aimed at Junior Cycle students, some of the questions can also be adapted for Senior Cycle students.
Resources and Tasks
Perrault and The Brothers Grimm
Click the images below for separate PDFs or click here for the combined PDF.
1. Based on ONE of the stories, write the post the wolf OR the girl might make on their personal blogs later that day.
2. Re-write the Brothers Grimm’s story from the grandmother’s perspective.
3. Imagine a sequel of Perrault’s tale has been found. Write the text of the uncovered story.
4. Write a modern re-telling of the story of Little Red.
5. You are a journalist investigating reports of ONE of the ‘Little Red’ stories.
(i) Write an article reporting on your investigation of the story. The article can be for a tabloid, broadsheet or online news outlet.
(ii) Write the script of your news report. The script can be for a video or audio recording.
6. You have been asked to direct a short production of ONE of the texts, starting from when Little Red reaches her grandmother’s house. Describe how you would stage the scene. In your answer you may wish to consider some of the following: choreography, costume, dialogue, facial expressions, lighting, props, setting and set design, special effects, stage directions, sound, etc.
7. Little Red’s mother has asked you to help advertise her new book of recipes.
(i) Write the script of a book trailer.
(ii) Design a poster. In your answer, describe and explain your choice of images, colour, etc.
8. The house of Little Red’s grandmother has been put on the market. You are the real estate agent assigned with the task of selling the property. Write the text of the advert you would write.
9. “Fairy tales such as ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ present naïve and improbable scenarios, and thus have little or no significance in today’s world.” Write an opinion piece for a popular print or online publication in response to this statement.
Into the Woods (music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by James Lapine)
1. Describe the effect the rhythm and music create in ‘Hello, Little Girl’.
2. In ‘I Know Things Now’, Little Red Ridinghood states “Even flowers have their dangers” and “Nice is different than good.” What do you think these lines mean?
3. Write a short story inspired by ONE of the following:
(i) “There’s no possible way / To describe what you feel / When talking to your meal!”
(ii) “I should have heeded her advice… / But he seemed so nice.”
(iii) “Down a dark slimy path / Where lie secrets that I never want to know…”
(iv) “Do not put your faith / In a cape and a hood – / They will not protect you / The way that they should…”
(v) “Isn’t it nice to know a lot! / … and a little bit not…”
‘Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf’ (from Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl)
The text and a recording of Dahl reading the poem can be accessed here.
1. Do you think this would be an enjoyable poem to read aloud? Explain your answer with reference to the poem.
2. What age group do you think this poem is aimed at? Explain your answer with reference to the poem.
3. “… She’s going to taste like caviar.” Compose an alternative ending to the poem, continuing from this line.
4. Compose an acrostic using the words ‘fairy tales’ OR ‘fairy story’.
‘An Interview with Red Riding Hood, Now No Longer Little’ (by Agha Shahid Ali)
The text of the poem is available here.
1. Describe the character of the wolf presented in this poem.
2. Write the text of an interview with ONE of the characters from the story of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’.
3. You have just learned that Little Red Riding Hood’s father has begun to buy pieces of the forest and he intends to can cut it all down to find the wolves. Write the text of a speech defending OR opposing his actions.
4. Write an acrostic using the word ‘interview’.
‘The Wolf’s Postscript to ‘Little Red Riding Hood” (by Agha Shahid Ali)
The text of the poem is available here.
1. Describe the character of the wolf presented in this poem.
2. What do you think is the main message of the poem? Explain your answer with reference to the poem.
3. Imagine you are the wolf of this poem. Write an open letter about your negative portrayal in the story of Little Red Riding Hood. Your letter may reference more than one adaptation of the story.
4. A collection of writings similar to ‘The Wolf’s Postscript’ has been published, featuring the so-called “villain’s” perspective of fairy tales. Select ONE fairy tale and write a submission by the villain of that tale. The submission can be in the form of your own choosing.
5. Write an acrostic using the word ‘postscript’.
Perrault and The Brothers Grimm
1. To what extent are the two texts similar/different? In your answer you may wish to consider the characters, themes, outcomes, etc.
2. Which of the two texts do you prefer? Explain your answer with reference to BOTH texts.
3. Which text, in your opinion, more effectively presents ‘the moral of the story’? Explain your answer with reference to BOTH texts.
Into the Woods, Perrault and The Brothers Grimm
1. Do you think ‘Hello, Little Girl’ is a faithful adaptation of Little Red’s encounter with the wolf in the Brothers Grimm’s text? Give reasons for your answer with reference to BOTH texts.
2. “‘I Know Things Now’ and Perrault’s and Grimm’s ‘Little Red’ present lessons to be learned.” Which text, in your opinion, does this more effectively? Explain your answer with reference to all THREE texts.
Into the Woods and ‘Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf’
1. Compare the character of Little Red in BOTH texts.
2. Compare the portrayal of the wolf in BOTH ‘Hello, Little Girl’ and ‘Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf’.
‘Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf’ and ‘The Wolf’s Postscript to ‘Little Red Riding Hood”
1. Compare the depiction of the wolf in BOTH poems.
2. Which of the two texts do you prefer? Explain your answer with reference to BOTH poems.
‘Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf’ and ‘An Interview with Red Riding Hood, Now No Longer Little’
1. “We reluctantly feel sympathy for the wolves in both poems.” To what extent do you agree with this statement? Support your answer with reference to BOTH poems.
2. “These poems reveal that Little Red Riding Hood undergoes a significant change after her encounter with the wolf.” Do you agree with this statement? Support your answer with reference to BOTH poems.
‘An Interview with Red Riding Hood, Now No Longer Little’ and ‘The Wolf’s Postscript to ‘Little Red Riding Hood”
1. “Agha Shahid Ali evokes feelings of sadness from his tragic reconstructions of the story of ‘Little Red Riding Hood'”. With reference to BOTH poems, describe the feelings are you left with after reading these poems.
2. “In offering a new perspectives on the tale of ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, Agha Shahid Ali asks us to reconsider how we traditionally view the characters and morals presented in fairy tales.” Examine this statement with reference to BOTH poems.
Dramatic readings, role play, and performances are a regular feature of my lesson plans. This connects to some objectives in both the Junior and Leaving Cert syllabus, for example:
“students should encounter opportunities for frequent practice in… interpreting orally and attempting performances” (JC English Draft Syllabus for Consultation (Rebalanced Syllabus), p. 16).
“Students should be able to… approach drama scripts from a theatrical perspective… [and] engage in interpretative performance of texts” (LC Syllabus, p. 14)
The performance of a texts serves many purposes: an interactive encounter with the text through active learning can engage students with the text in a meaningful way, the language is understood more easily (and allows for word decoding), and there is greater potential for enjoyment and appreciation of the text.
Furthermore, performing the text (or simply reading it aloud) offers the opportunity to demonstrate expression/intonation. Expressions can be influenced by punctuation and phrasing, and during the performance of a text this can also be influenced by a character’s body language, how they feel during a scene, and so on. Learning about this can develop students’ awareness of how dialogue is spoken when they are reading individually/silently.
The drama section of the 2001 JC Ordinary paper provided an excellent text for such use in class. Each student is given a copy of the text to read, then seven students are chosen to act out the scene.
What makes this text challenging (to students of all years) is the tension which must be created in the performance.
A few points for students to keep in mind during their performance:
- The stage is “dimly lit” and it is “after curfew”. Combined with the information we are given about the play, we know that there is a tense atmosphere.
- Body language is key for the entrance. For the “four teenagers with a ladder” to convey this tension, they must “enter sneakily”.
- As expected, the teenagers need to be quiet. If students wished to portray urgency, they could speak the lines quickly and quietly- for example, Jan’s line “Oh no! Where? Where?”.
- Given the setting and the circumstances, how accurate the performance of the stage directions “They freeze, afraid to look” and “Panic. All scatter” will be important to portray the scene’s credibility in the eyes of the audience. Likewise with the confrontation with the officers (all the while Anna is atop the ladder!).
This introduction provided the class with an excellent understanding of repetition and it enabled students to comment on its usage in all texts (poems included!). It also proved to be a good foundation for students when they were drafting their own speeches and elevated them to a level where they were thinking critically about how emphasise their points and how their speech would best engage their audience.
Students were given a copy of the below extract and I asked students what they knew about Martin Luther King Jr. Most of the students had a lot of information about him, so they introduced him and gave us plenty of context for the speech – even more detailed then what I had planned to say!
Before I played the audio clip, I asked them to write an ‘R’ in the margins whenever they hear any words or phrases that are repeated. I used this to prompt students to think about the use of repetition in speeches:
Why someone would repeat something during a speech?
What effect does it have?
Once we discussed this, we listened to the speech a second time – this time we underlined whenever Martin Luther King directly addresses the audience – i.e. using words such as ‘you’, ‘our’ and ‘we’. As with repetition, we discussed how and why this featured in speech writing (help the speaker connect with the audience, keeps the audience engaged, etc.).
Extract from ‘I Have a Dream’ speech
Address to civil rights marchers by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 28, 1963
I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.
I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.
Go back to Mississippi. Go back to Alabama. Go back to South Carolina. Go back to Georgia. Go back to Louisiana. Go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.
Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”
The next lesson followed a similar format. I asked what the students know about Obama, we recapped on the uses of repetition and directly addressing the audience, and continued like the previous lesson from there.
In Obama’s speech, I paused it just before “And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen…” to assess students’ understanding of anecdotes as we had previously covered this (an explanation and examples of course, not just a one-sentence definition). The pause also offered them a breather!
Extract from Barack Obama’s victory (“Yes we can”) speech in Chicago on November 4th, 2008.
If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.
It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.
It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.
It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.
It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.
The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.
There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.
For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.
This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing – Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.
She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the colour of her skin.
And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.
At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.
When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.
When the bombs fell on our harbour and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.
She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that “We Shall Overcome.” Yes we can.
A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.
America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?
This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:
Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.
Possible follow-up tasks might include:
asking students to pin-point themes or points which were discussed in each speech and then draw comparisons.
a break-down of how each speech progresses (i.e. the structure of the speech).
- Close-up: Used to film just the head or face.
- Cut: An instant change from one frame to another.
- Deep focus: Foreground, middle ground and background are all in focus.
- Dissolve: A move between two shots (i.e. a transition) during which the first image gradually disappears while the second image gradually appears
- Extreme close-up: Used to film very small details closely.
- Fade-in: Necessary for the beginning of a scene. A dark screen gradually brightens as the shot appears.
- Fade-out: A shot gradually darkens as the screen goes black.
- Fourth wall: Audience occupies the fourth wall, looking in on what is happening (as in a theatre). Breaking the fourth wall happens when a character addresses the audience, turns to the camera, comments on the fact they are aware that they are in a play etc.
- Frame: Single image.
- Long Shot: Framing in which the scale of the object shown is small.
- Melodrama: Music swells and carries emotion.
- Mise en scène: Everything on camera (costumes, lighting, colour, location, situation of objects and characters, etc.).
- Montage: Sequence of images or scenes used to compress the passage of time, suggest memories, summarise a topic, etc.
- Pathetic Fallacy: Attributing human emotions to inanimate objects, animals, or aspects within nature. In other words, the atmosphere/setting echoes the mood/thoughts/emotions/conduct of the protagonist. It is an external expression of internal states and the inner protagonist becomes connected with the environment/outside world. In other words, it establishes metaphorical links between objects of abstracts. (Basic examples include rain when a character is upset or a beautiful landscape during a happy moment.)
- Point of view: There are a few variations of POV shots. Typically, it’s a shot taken where the camera is placed where the character’s eyes would be, showing what the character would see (i.e. the character is in possession of the perspective and we are looking through their eyes).
- Wipe: Type of transition in which the screen ‘wipes’ from one frame/scene to another, creating an overlap – as one scene disappears, another replaces it.
In the Witch’s House (PDF) (adapted from TES contribution by diamond_raindrops)
Macbeth 4.1 role play activity (adapted from resource at teachit.co.uk)
Possible questions related to the performance activity:
- What sound effects would you use?
- How would you perform the scene as the First/Second/Third Witch? Why?
- What about stage directions – who would move and when? How would they move? Why do you think they would move in that way?
- How would you describe/visualise the setting?
- What about costumes? Colours? Props?
- What effect does the alliteration, assonance, and rhyming have?
- Explain how you would perform/stage the scene.
Performance of the scene in groups of threes (one for each Witch) can illustrate to students that it is a living text that is meant to be performed, help students understand pace of the dialogue/scene and stage directions, and offer them the opportunity to improvise staging and prop usage, etc.
Q.1. Design the front page of a tabloid newspaper. Be sure to include a picture of the witches and a short news report about the scene on the front page.
Q.2. Draw/sketch the scene in detail. Include the witches, setting and props in your drawing.