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Trainer’s Tip: Telling Tales


Mike Morrison recounts an exercise that puts a popular children's story in a new light.

The Story: Goldilocks and the Three Bears:
Goldilocks wanders into the house of the Three Bears. She tastes their porridge, finding one bowl "too hot," one bowl "too cold," and one bowl "just right." Goldilocks also tries out their chairs, finding one chair "too big," one "too small," and one "just right." Then she tries out the bears' beds, finding one bed "too hard," one "too soft," and one "just right." She falls asleep in Baby Bear's "just right" bed. When the bears return, they find that someone has been eating their porridge, sitting in their chairs, and sleeping in their beds. They discover Goldilocks in the "just right" bed and she runs away.

The Questions:

  • Level 1: Knowledge

  • List the characters in the story.
    What were the bears eating?
    Where was Goldilocks when the bears found her?

  • Level 2: Comprehension

  • Retell the events in the story in your own words.
    Why was Goldilocks afraid of the bears?
    Why was Goldilocks sleeping in Baby Bear's bed?

  • Level 3: Application

  • Tell what might have happened if you had been Goldilocks.
    Relate the story from the point of view of Baby Bear.
    Use the information from the story to help you build a model of the bears' house.

  • Level 4: Analysis

  • Compare Goldilocks' experience with that of Little Red Riding Hood's.
    Identify parts of the story that could happen to you.
    Make a list of all the events in the story that indicate it is a fairy tale.

  • Level 5: Synthesis

  • Combine art and drama to create a new ending for the story.
    Suppose that Goldilocks had found the home of the Three Raccoons. What might have happened?
    What if Goldilocks had brought a friend to the home of the Three Bears. What might have happened?

  • Level 6: Evaluation

  • Judge whether or not Goldilocks made a good decision by running away from the bears. Explain.
    Pretend that Goldilocks was on trial for "breaking and entering." Decide whether you would find her guilty. Justify your decision.
    Evaluate Goldilocks' behavior as a guest in the bears' house.

    The exercise was developed by Margaret Farguhar (Grosset & Dunlap, New York) and summarised by Dr. Judy Van Voorhis (Education Department, Muskingum College).

    Others include:

    View the original posting:

    Goldilocks Listening Exercise

    See more Trainer’s Tips


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