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Early Childhood

Storytelling and Basic Literacy - Early Childhood Lesson Plans
 
Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools any teacher can use to teach basic literacy. Oral language development is the first step towards teaching reading and writing. If a child has not heard a word it is not part of his or her sight vocabulary. Stories bring history and science to life while teaching the components of a good story, namely, character, setting and plot.
 
From 1999 through 2001, I worked with a hundred early childhood educators in the Peoria Area to help them improve their storytelling skills and give them the tools they needed to teach storytelling and basic literature. As a result of that project they wrote the following lesson plans. Each lesson was classroom tested and edited. Though they all share the common feature of using storytelling, each teacher developed a different twist or focus. Many of these lessons also include other curriculum ties like science, math, social studies, geography, and simple craft lessons. Simply scroll down to read them all.
 
For more information on basic storytelling skills you can click here to read a series of articles on using your voice body and imagination to bring a story to life.
 
All that we ask is for a little feedback. If you use these plans please send us an e-mail. Let us know how it worked, offer suggestions, or better yet use this simple submit form to contribute a lesson of your own. If we each add one lesson a year we will soon have hundreds of lessons to share! What are some of your favorite stories to tell and how do you use storytelling in your classroom? Please submit a lesson.
 
• You, Too, Can Tell A Tale! Do You See How Easy It Is? - The Big Mouthed Frog
• Lesson Learned on the Coattails of The Long Leather Coat
• Rocks are a good way to commune with nature! Everybody Needs A Rock
• Building houses with The Three Little Pigs
• Growing an Imagination in The Magic Pond
• What makes a story? And let me ask: Are You My Mother?
• The Little Red Hen, a lesson on friendship.
• The Little Red Hen, a lesson on friendship revisited with felt puppets.
• Goldilocks and the Three Bears, predicting outcomes.
• The Little Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly and Variations on a Theme.
• Sitting Down To Eat: A musical feast for ears and minds.
• Black Bears and Orange Soda, A Personal Story Just For Fun
• The Gunniwolf Alphabet Song
• Harold The Inch Worm: A Sing-a-long Story
• Charlie the Caterpillar Broadens Our World - Social Interaction & Helpfulness
• Families love birthdays So Much
• Froggy Gets Dressed for Winter: Staying Warm in Sequential Order
• The Rabbit and the Monkey: African Folklore and Culture
• Once there was An Old Witch: I Tell, You Tell, We All Tell
• The Underdog Prevails: GECKO Gets Water


 

THEME: You, Too, Can Tell A Tale! Do You See How Easy It Is? - The Big Mouthed Frog

 

 

AUDIENCE: Early Childhood Educators

 

 
GOALS: The primary goal is for each teacher to learn at least one story they can tell on Monday. We will work with vocal inflection, body language, imagination and audience participation.
 
STATE LEARNING STANDARDS: 3, 4, 5
 
MATERIALS: An active imagination!
 
INTRODUCTION: I would begin by telling everyone that they already know how to tell stories, reminding them that every time they open their mouths they are telling tales!
 
SYNOPSIS OF STORY: Please click here to link to the story.
 
METHODS: Before telling the story, I would invite the audience to tell the story along with me. There are two ways they can help: First, they should think about their favorite animals and what those animals eat. I will call on people later to help me with this information. (Which means that every time I tell it I use different animals!) Secondly, if they hear me repeat something I have already said they can say it with me the second time, and the third time... The only way to learn storytelling is to do it!
 
I will then tell the story of The Big Mouthed Frog with exaggerated voices, gestures, and body language, encouraging the audience to join in at every turn.
 
After telling the story I will warm them up to the idea that they can tell the story by having them repeat parts of the story with me, emphasizing the obvious patterns and repetitions. With younger children I would walk them through the entire tale in a call and response manner to be sure they have it. With older children and adults we repeat the beginning and end with an emphasis on the pattern of the middle.
 
I will then have them turn to a partner and take turns telling the story. If time allows I will ask two or three individuals to come to the front of the room and tell the story to the whole class. Their homework is to go home and tell this story to a parent or child. For bonus points they can bring in a note from the person who heard the story.
 
OTHER CURRICULUM TIE-INS: This story is a wonderful introduction to the food web and predator-prey relationships. With pictures on the board you could discuss the question: Who eats who? You could also rewrite the story with animals from different habitats, a swamp, a prairie, or rainforest, and discuss the animals found in each ecosystem. For Social Studies you could introduce simple map-making skills by asking the students to draw a map of the frog's journey with a key to explain the terrain. In math you could take turns jumping and measure the jumps. For a language arts lesson you could ask them to rewrite the story with different animals; younger students could use sequential pictures. Hands-On Science: The children will spend the next couple weeks observing the tadpole metamorphosis. They will use magnifying glasses to make their observations and record changes in their frog journal. Math Concept: We will be keeping a time-line on our tadpole, recording significant events on it. We are also going to sing "Five Little Speckled Frogs". After we have sung the song once we will act it out. Using carpet squares we will make a "log for 5 children to sit on. Each child is going to jump into the "pool" as the frog in the song jumps. Between each verse we will count the remaining "frogs." Physical Education or Opportunity for Movement: We will be having a frog jumping contest with the 4th grade class. We will pair a 4th grader with a PreK student and have them jump like frogs to see which pair can jump the farthest. Music: see singing above.
 
EVALUATION: The proof is in the pudding! Teachers will tell the tale to their groups.
 
SUGGESTIONS OR COMMENTS: This is a fun way to learn a story and this lesson plan can be used with any short, easy story.
 
IDEAS CONTRIBUTED BY: Brian "Fox" Ellis, Fox Tales International with additional lesson plan ideas contributed by Dawn Gersich, Harrison School
 
 

 

THEME: Lesson Learned on the Coattails of The Long Leather Coat

 

 

AUDIENCE: Pre-school and primary students.

 

 
GOALS: This is a great story for teaching or reinforcing the reading skills of sequential order and prediction. Students can learn and tell this story easily.
 
STATE LEARNING STANDARDS: Speaking and listening skills. Creative writing. Sequential order, cause and effect.
 
MATERIALS: Large sheet of brown paper and a pair of scissors.
 
INTRODUCTION: When I tell this story I always begin with a question: "When you read a story or someone reads to you how many of you try to guess what is going to happen next? If you just raised your hand give yourself a pat on the back. This is called prediction and it is what a good reader or listener does. While you are listening to this story try to guess what he is going to make next."
 
SYNOPSIS OF STORY: Please click here to link to the story.
 
METHODS: I recently used a large sheet of brown craft paper for bulletin boards to make a life size copy of the coat. I had a volunteer from the audience stand on a chair and hold up the coat as if he were my uncle. Whispering in his ear, I asked him to simple do what the story says. For example if the story says tip your hat, tip your hat. He pantomimed the story as I told it. He held the large piece of paper as I trimmed it into each of the new items as the story went along. I gave him the button at the end as a souvenir. When the story was over we drew a story map on the board to chart out the sequential order of the story. I then asked them to tell it with me and then to tell it to a partner. With an 8 1/2" X 11" sheet of paper and scissors older students could cut their own small coat and turn it into a jacket, vest, hat, tie and button.
 
OTHER CURRICULUM TIE-INS: In language arts students could write their own version of this story using a very different large item that is gradually reduced to something small. For example: a yellow bus could become a camper, a pick-up truck, a car, a motorcycle, a bicycle, and a unicycle, until finally all that is left is a small yellow reflector that is used to make a story. This story is also a wonderful introduction to a unit on recycling, waste reduction, and the value of natural resources. In our current "throw-away society" this is a very important lesson. The cycles of birth and death, graduations and baptisms, weddings and funerals could be part of a social studies discussion on the cycles of life, stages of growth and community celebrations. In math you could discuss fractions and percentages and in art students could draw a story map of the story they wrote.
 
EVALUATION: Their story maps could be collected for a grade.
 
SUGGESTIONS OR COMMENTS: In my version of this story I have strongly emphasized the pattern of the story by consciously repeating several phrases. This makes the story easier to learn and easier to tell. I also encourage the audience to shout out their predictions on cue by pausing just before I tell them and motioning with my hands.
 
IDEAS CONTRIBUTED BY: Brian "Fox" Ellis, Fox Tales International
 

 

THEME: Rocks help you commune with nature! Everybody Needs A Rock by Byrd Baylor

 

 

AUDIENCE: Teachers if they have never felt the smooth roundness of a rock in their pocket. Pre-school students who need the experience of finding their own special rock.

 

 
GOALS: That you will feel as good about having 'your special rock' as the author. That you will keep looking for 'your special rock' as you go about your daily life!
 
STORY FOR STORY TELLING: "Everybody Needs A Rock" by Byrd Baylor, illustrated by Peter Parnall. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York.
 
MATERIALS FOR STORYTELLING: My own special rock for audience to see! Large numbers 1 thru 10 (size 12x18) with the cheat sheets for '10 rules for finding a special rock.' Put the rules on the back of the cards - for presenter's use!
 
INTRODUCTION: Quoted from book: "Everybody needs a rock! I'm sorry for kids who don't have a rock for a friend. I'm sorry for kids who only have TRICYCLES, BICYCLES, HORSES, ELEPHANTS, GOLDFISH, THREE-ROOM PLAYHOUSES, FIRE ENGINES, WIND-UP DRAGONS AND THINGS LIKE THAT - if they don't have a rock for a friend."
 
SYNOPSIS OF THE STORY: This has been written as if the author absolutely LOVES her special rock and is trying to get all kids (and I say, adults also) to have their own 'special rock'. She even goes so far as to give the reader 10 Rules for finding 'your very own special rock'!!! She explains that no one else needs to know why your rock is special - it is your secret! The rock and why - to keep forever and ever!!!
 
METHODS: Telling: with ENTHUSIASM. Actions: Act out hunting for your special rock as you tell the 10 rules. Audience participation: Let children hold huge numbers (representing rules 1 through 10). After telling many times the whole class goes looking for 'a special rock'.
 
OTHER CURRICULUM TIE-INS: Language Arts: - Write in Journals about finding 'your rock' draw pictures of it. Write children's ideas about story & read story written. Science: Hunt for rocks on real field trips or on neighborhood field walks. Make a rock box for Science Table. Have a science area that will show different kinds of rocks that children find though of course no one will put a 'very own special rock' on display. Mathematics: Count rocks. Make sets of rocks to count and do pre-math ideas
 
EVALUATION: Observe reaction/interest in story. Evaluate if interest will continue through life as nature lovers!
 
Conclusion of story quoted from book: "All right, that's ten rules. If you think of any more write them down yourself. I'm going out to play a game that takes just me and one rock to play. I happen to have a rock here in my hand . . . . ."
 
IDEAS CONTRIBUTED BY: Arlene Wise, Parent Educator, Woodruff/Mark Bills S.T.A.R.
 

 

THEME: Building houses with The Three Little Pigs

 

 

AUDIENCE: Pre-Primary

 

 
GOALS: To retell the story. Make three houses and then compare to The Three Little Wolves and The Big Bad Pig. Observational drawings and step by step directions to making a house.
 
MATERIALS: Both books, The Three Little Pigs and The Three Little Wolves and The Big Bad Pig, big paper, markers, pens, pencils.
 
INTRODUCTION: My students have been working on this as a project. We webbed first, read stories, made materials list. Made a favorite house graph and retold story. We have completed the brick house.
 
SYNOPSIS OF THE STORY: The three pigs built a straw house, stick house, and brick house. The wolf huffs & puffs & blows the houses down. The wolf blows first two down and climbs chimney of third house and falls into a pot of water. In the second book the three wolves build a brick house and the pig uses a sledgehammer to break it down. They then build a steel house and he uses dynamite to break it down. They build a concrete house and he uses a drill to break it down. Finally, they build a flower house and the pig likes the smell so much he turns nice and they all lived happily ever after.
 
METHODS: Use all the intelligence's to implement theme. I use whatever works that day. I use stories, visuals, props, student help and lots of prompts.
 
OTHER CURRICULUM TIE-INS: Math numbers (recognition counting), Writing - story, new words, S.S. - farm animals, comm. helpers, Science - making materials - graphing, mixture, Fine Arts - painting, drawing, act it out, Language - retell story - make play.
 
EVALUATION: Collect stories and write/dictate them. Look at Venn Diagram and web to see if they understood the stories.
 
SUGGESTIONS OR COMMENTS: Starting with student interest works best.
 
IDEAS CONTRIBUTED BY: Ann Pettinger - Valeska Hinton (Red 2)
 

 

THEME: Growing an Imagination! The Magic Pond by Pam Schiller and Mike Artell

 

 

AUDIENCE: PreK - 1st grade

 

 
GOALS: Children will use imagination, body language, following directions and be exposed to audience participation.
 
STATE LEARNING STANDARDS: Illinois learning goal 2, 3 - Fine Arts Domain (District 150 goal 3.1) (2.1) Language Literacy: 1, 1.1 - Show interest in reading related activities, L.L. 5, 5.1 - Listen with interest to stories read aloud, Arts: 3,3.1 - Creative movement.
 
MATERIALS: An active imagination/enthusiasm from the teacher!
 
INTRODUCTION: Ask a raise your hand question: What is magic?
 
SYNOPSIS OF THE STORY: This story is called The Magic Pond by Pam Schiller and Mike Artell. It can be found in the book Rainy Day Recess.
 
METHODS: The story will be more fun if children are allowed the freedom to move around. (Make sure space is appropriate) Begin with the children standing on/in a circle. Children will be doing dramatic movement that is modeled by the teacher.
 
STORY: One day a boy and a girl went walking in the woods. (Walk in place.) They found a pond. (Look at/point at the circle. Draw a big circle with your finger.) The pond wasn't too deep so they decided to sit down and dangle their feet over the edge. (The children are sitting and pretending to hang their feet in the water) The boys and girls did not know that this was a magic pond. When they dipped their feet in the water something strange happened. Their feet and legs turned into _____________ (frog, cat, dog, etc., You decide what animal you would like to begin with.) and their feet began to hop. (If a frog, hop. If a rooster, scratch and crow.) Finally, the girl/boy said, "We better go back to the pond." They stuck their feet back in and they changed into a ________ (Allow children to come up with different animals once routine is established. Drama continues until you're ready to stop.) Finally, the girl/boy said, "We better go back to the pond." They stuck their feet back in and they changed into a boy/girl. (End with children sitting with their feet changed back to little girl and boy feet.) They were so tired they decided to rest and listen to their teacher tell a quiet story!
 
OTHER CURRICULUM TIE-INS: Science: This is a great introduction to animals and animal movement. Art: Students could draw their favorite animals. When they share their pictures with the class they could pantomime their favorite animal before they show the picture so it is a guessing game. L.A.: Students could draw a story map of this tale and then rewrite it using different animals.
 
EVALUATION: For the most part this is just a lot of fun waiting to happen!
 
SUGGESTIONS OR COMMENTS: For added fun children can move around the circle imitating teacher movement.
 
IDEAS CONTRIBUTED BY: Connie Owens, Valeska Hinton (Red 1)
 

 

THEME: What makes a story? And let me ask: Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

 

 

AUDIENCE: Pre-primary

 

 
GOALS: Recall beginning, middle and end of story, retelling the story, predicting if the story is real or imaginary.
 
STATE LEARNING STANDARDS: Language Literacy: 1, 1.1 - Show interest in reading related activities, L.L. 5, 5.1 - Listen with interest to stories read aloud, Arts: 3,3.1 - Creative movement.
 
MATERIALS: Butcher paper/crayons
 
INTRODUCTION: Write the title of the story across the top of the paper. Divide the paper into three sections for beginning, middle & end of story. Discuss how a mural tells a story. Explain to the children after listening to the story they will draw pictures of animals and machines the little bird met.
 
SYNOPSIS OF THE STORY: This is a story about a little bird who goes in search of his mother and asks different animals and machines "Are you my mother?" A big machine called a "snort" picks up the little bird and places it in its nest with its mother.
 
METHODS: Read the story. Discuss the events that occurred in the beginning, middle and end of the story. Ask children to draw the animals and machines the little bird met. (May take several days). Ask the children to share if they think the story was real or imaginary.
 
OTHER CURRICULUM TIE-INS: Art center - eggshell collage, Dramatic Play - Children can pretend to be inside an egg all warm and safe. Begin jumping, kick arms and legs to stretch out of the shell. They can pretend to be a little bird asking other children "Are you my mother?" Children can predict and draw a picture of a new ending.
 
EVALUATION: Assessment: Ask children to recall events of the story, list animals and machines found in the story, retell the story in their own words by looking at the pictures in the story/mural.
 
SUGGESTIONS OR COMMENTS: Older children can pantomime the action of the entire story, assign roles, etc.
 
IDEAS CONTRIBUTED BY: C. Brown, Valeska Hinton
 

 

THEME: The Little Red Hen, a lesson on friendship.

 

 

AUDIENCE: 3 and 4 year olds

 

 
GOALS: Students will be able to listen to a story, and, by using spoken language effectively, participate in the telling of this story.
 
STATE LEARNING STANDARDS: Language Literacy: 1, 1.1 - Show interest in reading related activities, L.L. 5, 5.1 - Listen with interest to stories read aloud,
 
MATERIALS: A good imagination and a loud voice!
 
INTRODUCTION: This story is ideal for including in a theme study of folk tales. It also is great for a lesson on friendship (including helping friends and sharing). I would begin by asking the students to help me tell a story. I would tell them that I will point at them when it is their turn to speak.
 
SYNOPSIS OF THE STORY: The Little Red Hen asks her friends to help her plant the seeds, reap the wheat, carry the wheat to the mill, and make the flour into dough. They do not help her, so they do not get to eat the bread.
 
METHODS: I would introduce the story by first reading the book and discussing the characters. Then I would divide the group into three parts for cats, pigs and geese. Explain that each group will repeat the words "Not I," when I point to them. As the children become familiar with the story, they could take on more of the character parts, such as the narrator and the Little Red Hen.
 
OTHER CURRICULUM TIE-INS: You could read different versions of the story and compare parts of the story, such as characters and the different endings. To develop critical thinking skills, ask the students how they help their family at home. Then ask them how they would feel if they were the only one doing chores and no one else helped them. Tell them that you are going to read a story about a hen who had to work hard while others played. For Social Studies, the students could explore family roles and structure by thinking of ways families help each other. This story is also excellent for using as a sequencing activity. Picture cards for each part of the story are put in the correct order as the child retells the story. Making homemade bread is a good cooking and math activity.
 
EVALUATION: The children will become motivated to participate in the story if they are allowed to speak the different parts and act out the story in their own individual way.
 
SUGGESTIONS OR COMMENTS: This story is a great way to get the children involved in developing listening, and speaking skills.
 
IDEAS CONTRIBUTED BY: Kathy Nordvall - Valeska Hinton
 

 

THEME: The Little Red Hen, a lesson on friendship, revisited.

 

 

AUDIENCE: Kindergarten ( ages 5-7)

 

 
GOALS: The learner will understand how to be a good friend by sharing their treat with a friend who is sitting by them. The students will be able to act out the story of the Little Red Hen after listening to the story.
 
STATE LEARNING STANDARDS: Listen and speak effectively in a variety of situations. Use language arts to acquire, assess and communicate information.
 
MATERIALS: All felt puppets on sticks: Little Red Hen, duck, dog and cat figure, a seed, grain, picture of a mill and a loaf of bread OR felt figures and a felt board.
 
INTRODUCTION: Talk about what makes a friend. Who are your friends and how do you know?
 
SYNOPSIS OF THE STORY: The Little Red Hen plants a seed and asks her friends the dog, cat and duck if they would like to help; they don't. Then the hen asks for help with cutting the wheat; her friends don't help. Next, the hen asks for help with grinding the wheat at the mill; again, they don't help. Finally the hen is at home and she asks her friends if they would like to help make the bread; they don't and therefore, they don't get to eat any of the bread.
 
METHODS: With the felt figures on a stick act out the story. (It may be helpful if the dog, cat and duck were on the same stick.) Have the characters each have their own voice and characteristics.
 
OTHER CURRICULUM TIE-INS: Math: Count the seeds that the Little Red Hen would plant. Science: Plant wheat seed and watch them grow. Research wheat farming. Social Studies: Find out where wheat is grown: where in the world is wheat grown; what does the temperature have to be; does it have to dry, wet. Language Arts: Change the story, what if the Little Red Hen's friends helped her? Art: Make your own figures on a stick.
 

 

THEME: Goldilocks and the Three Bears, prediciting outcomes.

 

 

AUDIENCE: Preprimary children, 3 & 4 year olds

 

 
GOALS: The primary goal is for the children to predict, listen to and retell the story in their own words.
 
MATERIALS: The book Goldilocks and the Three Bears.
 
INTRODUCTION: We will have read the story several times before this lesson. I will have the children sitting on a rug and begin the story loudly with "One upon a time…"
 
SYNOPSIS OF THE STORY: The 3 bears go on a walk and leave the door opened. Goldilocks discovers the open door and eats their porridge and tries out their chairs and their beds. Goldilocks falls asleep. The three bears come home and discover their porridge gone and their chairs sat in and their beds slept in.
 
METHODS: I will begin to tell the story using a different voice for all the characters. I will encourage the children to use the same motions I use for eating porridge, sitting and sleeping in the bed. I will also encourage them to join in while saying "this is too cold, hot or just right."
 
OTHER CURRICULUM TIE-INS: A future lesson will encourage children to come and retell the story to their friends. They can re-write the story using different characters. They can draw their favorite part of the story.
 
EVALUATION: We will take photos and write down anecdotal notes of the experience and videotape the experience.
 
SUGGESTIONS OR COMMENTS: The children love to hear this story. I try not to depend on the book when telling the story. I want them to create the scene in their head by using cues from the storyteller.
 
IDEAS CONTRIBUTED BY: Ann Bond - Valeska Hinton (Red 3)
 

 

THEME: The Little Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly and Variations.

 

 

AUDIENCE: Preprimary 3 and 4 year olds

 

 
GOALS: Compare three versions of this story through the use of a Venn Diagram.
 
STATE LEARNING STANDARDS: Language Literacy: 1, 1.1 - Show interest in reading related activities, L.L. 5, 5.1 - Listen with interest to stories read aloud, Arts: 3,3.1 - Creative movement.
 
MATERIALS: Paper, 3 different colors of markers
 
INTRODUCTION: Read and retell three versions of story on different days. Then one day ask the kids what is similar about the stories and what is different. Begin to record answers in drawings.
 
SYNOPSIS OF THE STORY: Three versions in book form Little Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly. Little Old Lady Who Swallowed A Trout. Little Old Lady Who Swallowed A Pie.
 
METHODS: Record differences and similarities on Venn diagram as they come out in groups and then review and discuss the story. Talk about the aspects of a Venn diagram in understandable terms.
 
OTHER CURRICULUM TIE-INS: Could act out the story, make puppets to act out the story or design hand motions.
 
EVALUATION: If children are focused and in the flow then it is a success.
 
SUGGESTIONS OR COMMENTS: Let the children take the lead.
 
IDEAS CONTRIBUTED BY: Kathy Steinheimer - Valeska Hinton (Yellow 2)
 

 

THEME: Sitting Down To Eat: A musical feast for ears, hearts, and minds.

 

 

AUDIENCE: Pre-Primary

 

 
GOALS: (5a) The children will listen with interest to stories read aloud. (3b) The children will participate in group music experiences.
 
STATE LEARNING STANDARDS: Language & Literacy #2 - As a result of their schooling, students will be able to listen critically and analytically. Arts #3 - As a result of their schooling, students will be able to demonstrate the basic skills necessary to participate in the creation and/or performance of the arts.
 
MATERIALS: Book: Sitting Down to Eat, By Bill Harley, Illustrated by Kitty Harvill, Published 1996 by August House Little Folk.
 
INTRODUCTION: Talk with the students about having friends visit their homes for dinner. Ask what they would do if they didn't have enough food for all their friends. Where would everyone sit?
 
SYNOPSIS OF THE STORY: Animals come one by one to visit a little boy and have dinner with him. The house becomes really full with all the animals until a teeny tiny caterpillar creeps in and the house falls in and goes "BOOM!"
 
METHODS: After some discussion about the story, sing the story to the students using the book. Try to use a lot of expression in your voice and change your voice to adapt to the different animals. Make predictions on what animal they think will come next and identify the numbers on the page. Read/Sing the story several times and encourage the students to join in. After reading/singing the story several times you may encourage the students to change the animals and create their own story.
 
OTHER CURRICULUM TIE-INS: Sequencing the animals in the story, making animal sounds, counting skills, and drawing pictures that represent their favorite part of the story.
 
EVALUATION: Were the students interested in the story and were they able to join in with singing the song? Did the students have fun?
 
SUGGESTIONS OR COMMENTS: I bought this book through Discovery Toys after I heard "Cookie" from the Children's Hospital sing it at our family night. She also has this song on one of her tapes. The children really love this!
 
IDEAS CONTRIBUTED BY: Rhonda Umdenstock - Valeska Hinton (Blue 3)
 

 

THEME: Black Bears and Orange Soda, A Personal Story Just For Fun

 

 

AUDIENCE: 3 and 4 year olds

 

 
GOALS: To listen with interest to stories told aloud. To show interest in reading - related activities.
 
STATE LEARNING STANDARDS: Language & Literacy #2 - As a result of their schooling, students will be able to listen critically and analytically. Arts #3 - As a result of their schooling, students will be able to demonstrate the basic skills necessary to participate in the creation and/or performance of the arts.
 
MATERIALS: Bottle of orange soda, quarter.
 
INTRODUCTION: You know kids drinking this orange soda makes me think of being with my grandma when I was a little girl.
 
SYNOPSIS OF THE STORY: We went to the zoo, you could buy orange soda and feed it to the black bears. You held it up to their cage and they would drink it right from the bottle as you held it - making noises. He drank one after another.
 
METHODS: When I was 3 and 4 like you we all went on vacation together. We went to this animal park one time and guess what you could buy orange soda for a quarter. My grandma bought one from the machine next to the cage with the black bear in it. I drank it down (gulp, gulp) (let them join in). My grandma said "No Tammy, it's not for you it's to feed to the bear. "I said what?" "I ain't feeding that bear". She showed me how to do it and the bear went gulp, gulp. That bear loved orange soda. It drank another and another and another. At the end guess what happened? You will never believe it. He burped.
 
OTHER CURRICULUM TIE-INS: Colors - What makes orange? Cooking - Mix orange soda with ice cream for a float. Science - Melt solids into liquids. Math - taste-test and graph who likes orange soda and who doesn't. Make a second graph of favorite flavors. Art - First look for all of the things in the room that are orange. Make orange paint by combining yellow and red and then paint with your orange experimenting with shades of orange. Science - Talk about bubbles and fizz-what makes it pop fizz? Drop alka-setzer in water. Mix pop rocks in water. Journal - If you were a bear what would you eat at the zoo? What would you do all day? What do you think of the people coming to see you?
 
EVALUATION: Did children listen to the story? Did the children participate? Did they laugh and have fun. Were they wanting to tell their own story?
 
SUGGESTIONS OR COMMENTS: Though this is Tammy's story you could tell it as if it happened to you OR use her story as an example and then tell your own story about an encounter at the zoo.
 
IDEAS CONTRIBUTED BY: Tammy Shinkey Valeska Hinton (Yellow 1)
 

 

THEME: The Gunniwolf Alphabet

 

 

AUDIENCE: Pre K - Kindergarten - First Grade

 

 
GOALS: Learn sequence of alphabet
 
STATE LEARNING STANDARDS: Language & Literacy #2 - As a result of their schooling, students will be able to listen critically and analytically. Arts #3 - As a result of their schooling, students will be able to demonstrate the basic skills necessary to participate in the creation and/or performance of the arts.
 
MATERIALS: The Gunniwolf. United States of America: Harper Collins,1988
 
INTRODUCTION: Please sing the ABC song with me. …I want to tell you a story about a little girl who knew the ABC song. This story is about the Gunniwolf.
 
SYNOPSIS OF THE STORY: The little girl while picking flowers in the woods, meets the Gunniwolf. He falls asleep while she is singing the ABC song but awakens when she runs away. Morale: Sing while picking flowers to keep the Gunniwolf away.
 
METHODS: 1. Use ABC chart to when telling story. 2. Ask children to sequence letters before or after hearing story. 3. Write letters if appropriate. 4. Act out story to reinforce sequence of letters. 5. Make mural or illustrations. Include some of the letters of the alphabet in drawing.
 
OTHER CURRICULUM TIE-INS: Drama; art; literature (other stories about wolves); writing creative stories about wolves; math-graphing which wolf story you like best; science (learning about wolves); music-singing on pitch.
 
EVALUATION: Ask children to retell story. Look for story sequence. Ask children to write letters of alphabet.
 
SUGGESTIONS OR COMMENTS: This story-song-game makes the alphabet song more meaningful: If you think about it the alphabet song saved her life just as learning the alphabet and how to read can save your life, too!
 
 

 

THEME: Harold The Inch Worm: A Sing-a-long Story

 

 

AUDIENCE: Pre-K through 1st grade (3-7yr.)

 

 
GOALS: To increase attending and listening skills; to demonstrate and encourage playing with language, rhythms and sounds; to assist children in sequencing story events; to engage the multiple intelligences of the children in verbal/linguistic, musical/rhythmic, bodily/kinesthetic, visual/spatial and interpersonal; to demonstrate size concepts
 
STATE LEARNING STANDARDS: 1C/1a, 1C/1b, 2B/1a, 2B/1c, 4A/1a, 4A/1b, 4A/1c, 4A/1d, 5C/1b, 7A/1a.
 
MATERIALS: None, just a captive audience to participate
 
INTRODUCTION: Active prior knowledge about worms. Demonstrate on a ruler how big an inch is Harold the Inchworm is that big! Invite the children to help you tell a silly story about Harold.
 
SYNOPSIS OF THE STORY: (recite in a rhythmic, sing-song voice) Sittin' on the fence post, chewin' my bubble gum. (chomp, chomp, chomp, chomp) Playin' with my yo-yo (wooooo wheeee) When along came in inch worm. (open and close fingers like talking, click tongue 4 times) His name was Harold and he was this big. (Show size between 2 hands-size starts at 3 inches and increases gradually to as far as arms can stretch) I said, "Harold, what happened? And he said, "I ate (insert child's name)." Repeat the above verse 7 times until Harold is as big as he can get. Each time add another child to the list he has eaten. Last verse is the same until "His name was Harold and he was this big". Here show Harold 1 inch between thumb and index finger. Then say, " 'Harold, what happened?' and he said, 'Pardon me, I burped!' " The end.
 
METHODS: Begin by using thumb and index finger to show about an inch and tell children "This is Harold at the beginning of our story. Isn't he cute?" Recite the first verse. Emphasize gum chewing (chomp, chomp, chomp, chomp), yo-yo (wooooo wheeee) and tongue clicking (along came an inch worm). Demonstrate size with 2 hands. (He was this big!) Pause after "I ate …" and scan circle of faces before inserting a child's name. Repeat same sounds and motions for all verses. Harold grows in this approximate order: 3 inches, 9 inches, 15 inches, 2 ft, 3 ft., 4 ft. and as far as your arms can reach. Stop once or twice during story to remind children who Harold has eaten so far. In the last verse, Harold returns to his 1 inch stature. Put your hand over your mouth when Harold says "Pardon me. I burped!".
 
OTHER CURRICULUM TIE-INS: Math: size concepts, sequencing, use lengths of yarn to show all of Harold's sizes-discuss big, bigger, biggest. Science: problem solve-Is there really an inchworm? Use research books to find a picture of an inchworm and compare to other worms. Learn about worms and investigate other worms - appearance, body parts, food, habitat, etc.
 
EVALUATION: Children laugh and enjoy the story. Children participate and do and say the repeated parts of the story. Children recall story events and sequence.
 
IDEAS CONTRIBUTED BY: Karen Kolb, S.T.A.R. Pre-K, Riverview Taft
 

 

THEME: Charlie the Caterpillar Broadens Our World - Social Interaction - Helpfulness

 

 

AUDIENCE: Pre-School (3-4 year olds)

 

 
GOALS: The children will 'feel' compassionate for Charlie. This will relate to their interaction with other children. We will enjoy story time even more than with reading stories. Children will bring stories to share with the rest of us.
 
STATE LEARNING STANDARDS: Language Literacy: 1, 1.1 - Show interest in reading related activities, L.L. 5, 5.1 - Listen with interest to stories read aloud, Arts: 3,3.1 - Creative movement.
 
MATERIALS: Charlie, a one inch "caterpillar person", Katie, another one inch "caterpillar person", props for story - eye glasses for monkeys, pointy ears for rabbits, round ears for mice. And the book Charlie the Caterpillar by Dom Deluise. Illustrated by Christopher Santoro.
 
INTRODUCTION: One bright and sunny day Charlie, the caterpillar was born. The world looked very, very big to Charlie. . . . because he was very, very small. . . . because he was just born. "This is Charlie!" (I will show Charlie who is just one inch long. He is made of CelluClay - green.) "He can sit on my hand."
 
SYNOPSIS OF THE STORY: Charlie is a 'newborn' caterpillar. He wants to have friends - everyone feels he is ugly and tells him so & to get out of here. He finally gets revenge after he grows into a beautiful butterfly. He later befriends Katie, another 'no friends' caterpillar. He plays with her and tells her his story.
 
METHODS: Voices: Different voices for Charlie, monkeys, rabbits, mice, Kate. Actions: Act out movements - look to left, look to right, walk straight ahead. Act out story with props: For audience to manipulate - glasses for monkeys, round ears for mice, pointed ears for rabbits, little Charlies/Katies. Audience participation: children will chime in on repetitive parts.
 
OTHER CURRICULUM TIE-INS: Language Arts: Write in Journals about Charlie, draw pictures of him. Do language experience chart story. Write children's ideas about story and reread story written. Science: Have a cocoon on Science table to watch it hatch. Have pictures of butterflies/moths in all stages of development. Have an aquarium to display/keep caterpillars children may bring. Art: Make Charlie stick puppets. Draw/paint picture of story characters. Draw together map of Charlie's "Seeing the World"
 
EVALUATION: I will observe actions of children in play centers and note their treatment of other children. Observe reaction/interest in story.
 
IDEAS CONTRIBUTED BY: Arlene Wise, Parent Educator, Woodruff/Mark Bills S.T.A.R.
 

 

THEME: Families love birthdays So Much

 

 

AUDIENCE: All ages

 

 
GOALS: The primary goal is for the children to become familiar with repetitive text and to use their imaginations for adding to the story.
 
MATERIALS: The book So Much by Trish Cooke (Candlewick Press). An active imagination to embellish the story.
 
INTRODUCTION: I will begin by talking about families with the children. We will discuss all of the different types of families that there are and who makes up a family.
 
SYNOPSIS OF THE STORY: The story is about a family coming together for the celebration of a birthday. There is a lot of repetitive text that the children come to know after reading or hearing it only once or twice. The story talks about a baby's experiences with the different members of the family that arrive. At the end, the baby knows that the relatives do these things with him because they love him "so much."
 
METHODS: I have always begun by discussing families with the children. I have also read the book to the children several times before beginning to just tell the story. The advantage of this is that there are wonderful illustrations and this is a story about an African-American family. The children also become very involved in the repetitive nature of the story, and begin reciting it with you.
 
After the children are familiar with the story, they naturally wish to add other comments. This book is set up trying to get children to respond. At this point, I put away the book and tell the children that we are going to try and tell the story without the pictures, but I need their help. They love the idea of having to help me to get through the story. The children love to help me to tell the story. There are also several instances where the story opens up for other comments or to add to the story. The children always love thinking of new things to add to it. For example, we extended the story quite a bit by adding many different types of food that they could serve at the party.
 
The children then always like to tell the story to each other. Sometimes the child wishes to have the book to give themselves cues as to what comes next in the story. I have heard many different renditions of this story by children, and the language that is added exhibits the wonderful imaginations that are used.
 
OTHER CURRICULUM TIE-INS: This story is a wonderful introduction to a unit on families. I use it to help children realize that we can tell how much people love us by the way they react to us. I also will introduce other books about families, and we will maybe graph the number of people in the different families. I also use this book around Valentine's Day in talking about showing the people we care about that we do care.
 
EVALUATION: The primary evaluation is just in hearing the children re-tell the story and add their own parts. This shows use of language and extension of language. This also gives the children a chance to showcase their abilities by adding to the story.
 
SUGGESTIONS OR COMMENTS: Every group that I have used this with really takes to the story. In most classes I've worked with, the children request the story time and time again. They never tire of this story.
 
IDEAS CONTRIBUTED BY: Gretchen Miller, Harrison School
 

 

THEME: Froggy Gets Dressed for Winter, Staying Warm in Sequential Order

 

 

AUDIENCE: Young Children

 

 
GOALS: Students will be able to sequence steps to putting on winter clothes. Students will be able to retell story using appropriate voice inflection and nonsense words/onamonapias (zum, zwit, zat, zyp)
 
STATE LEARNING STANDARDS: Language Literacy: 1, 1.1 - Show interest in reading related activities, L.L. 5, 5.1 - Listen with interest to stories read aloud, Arts: 3,3.1 - Creative movement.
 
MATERIALS: Winter clothing, the book Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London
 
INTRODUCTION: Empty a bag of winter clothing (hat, coat, scarf, mittens, boots, pants, socks, shirt) onto the floor.
 
SYNOPSIS OF THE STORY: Froggy wakes up during winter and wants to go play in the snow. Each time he goes outside his mother reminds him he is missing clothing. In the end he forgets to put on underclothes. He goes inside and is so tired, he goes back to sleep.
 
METHODS: 1) Have students name winter clothing and purpose. 2) Tell story of Froggy Gets Dressed. Exaggerate mama when she calls to Froggy and Froggy's frustration when his mom yells to him. 3) Retell the story and leave parts out and ask students to help fill in and retell the story by sequencing clothes. 4) Allow students to pair up and retell story to each other. 5) Allow a few students to retell story to class using clothing props. 6) Allow more students to practice during individual center time.
 
OTHER CURRICULUM TIE-INS: Retell the story during different seasons (different clothes). In math students can measure how long they can hop. Research with nonfiction books about frogs.
 
EVALUATION: Students will act out and tell the story using clothing props.
 
SUGGESTIONS OR COMMENTS: This is a great short story with great opportunity for voice inflections and onomatopoeias (zip, zat, flop, zut).
 
IDEAS CONTRIBUTED BY: Sandy Weede, Kingman Pre-K
 

 

THEME: The Rabbit and the Monkey: African Folklore and Culture

 

 

AUDIENCE: Any age 

 

 
GOALS: To raise awareness of folklore in general and African American Folklore.
 
STATE LEARNING STANDARDS: (4A) Listen effectively in formal and informal situations (27) Understand the role of the arts in civilizations past and present.
 
MATERIALS: An active imagination and a healthy helping of vitality!
 
INTRODUCTION: We have been discussing famous African American people during Black History month so we brought in a story as well.
 
SYNOPSIS OF THE STORY: An old African Folktale Retold by Augustine Jones. Please click here to link to the story.
 
METHODS: Simply tell the story!
 
OTHER CURRICULUM TIE-INS: Science: Children can discuss what each animal does and why (i.e. lions roar, snakes hiss, frogs ribbit, etc). P.E.: They could act out what animals do. They could draw pictures of their favorite animals and act them out. L.A.: They could rewrite the story with different animals and their actions.
 
EVALUATION: Sheer joy and enjoyment of the story is the only measurement that matters!
 
SUGGESTIONS OR COMMENTS: This is a fun story to act out and do a lot of pantomime as you tell it!
 
IDEAS CONTRIBUTED BY: Brenda Craig & Augustine Jones, Irving Primary
 

 

THEME: I tell, We tell, You tell, A simple strategy for learning a story.

 

 

AUDIENCE: Pre-school through adult!

 

 
GOALS: To teach everyone one simple story they can tell, while introducing simple storytelling skills.
 
STATE LEARNING STANDARDS: Language Literacy: 1, 1.1 - Show interest in reading related activities, L.L. 5, 5.1 - Listen with interest to stories read aloud, Arts: 3,3.1 - Creative movement.
 
MATERIALS: An active imagination and willing participants.
 
INTRODUCTION: I believe that once you learn one story and the process for telling that story it becomes very easy to learn and tell many stories. If you can tell this simple, four-sentence story you are ready for Shakespeare! You use all of the same skills in "Once There Was An Old Witch" that you would use in Shakespeare's "MacBeth."
 
SYNOPSIS OF THE STORY: Once there was an old witch, (cackle), Stirring her pot. (Stirring with your arm, shoulders, whole torso.) Along came two ghosts, (Changing your voice to sound like a ghost.) "I wonder what she's got?" (Pointing.) Tip-toe, tip-toe, BOO! (Use your hands like feet to tip-toe and then scream BOO!) I got you! ("Jump" the audience. Take a bow.)
 
METHODS: The process for teaching this story is quite simple. I tell the story to the audience. We tell it together and then they tell it to a partner. With younger students I will insert an extra step by having them listen and then repeat while I tell the story in pieces, call and response.
 
Tell the following story with great panache. Cackle like a witch! Talk in an old English ghostly voice. Tip-toe with a whisper and then scream boo to scare the listeners. With this type of jump tale the important thing is timing. As Mark Twain said, "The pause is the most fickle thing." If you lower your voice and pause with each tip-toe you draw them in and set up a suspense that you can shatter with a good loud boo.
 
After you tell the story invite them to listen as you tell one line and then they repeat it. Go through the story step by step. With a large class or auditorium I will then invite all of them to tell the story at the same time along with me. Then they turn to a partner and take turns telling the story. Challenge them to work on their timing and try to scare their partner even thought they know what's coming. If time allows ask a few students to stand up and tell the story to the class. Always follow one of these performances with a round of applause and a compliment.
 
OTHER CURRICULUM TIE-INS: Very few if any.
 
EVALUATION: I will occasionally ask students to go home and tell their story to their mom, brother, sister, dad, grandma, uncle and aunt. I will write a note for them to get signed by every person who hears them tell their tale:
I heard _______________________ tell the story of ______________________________.
Signed ________________________
Signed ________________________
Signed ________________________
Signed ________________________
Signed ________________________
 
SUGGESTIONS OR COMMENTS: There are many short simple stories like this that you can use in this process but this is my favorite. Once they learn a few short stories you can use this same process to teach them a little longer story like a fable or porque' story.
 
IDEAS CONTRIBUTED BY: Brian "Fox" Ellis, Fox Tales International
 

 

THEME: The Underdog Prevails: GECKO Gets Water

 

 

AUDIENCE: Pre-School and Primary Grades

 

 
GOALS: This fun rhythmic tale teaches problem solving, determination is more important than size. It also introduces weights and measures, dance and African Animals.
 
STATE LEARNING STANDARDS:
 
MATERIALS: The Storyteller's Start-Up Book, Scales, Ruler, Plastic Animals
 
INTRODUCTION: Sometimes we think size is the most important thing. Is BIGGER always better? As you listen to this story ask yourself: Who can best solve this problem?
 
SYNOPSIS OF THE STORY: "Gecko" pg. 139 from The Storyteller's Start-Up Book by Margaret Read MacDonald, August House Publishers. During a terrible drought many animals try to stomp and dig into the dry riverbed for water. Large animals try but finally it is the persistence of little Gecko that brings water to the thirsty animals!
 
METHODS: While telling this story invite the students to chant: "Heavy, Heavy, Elephant, Elephant, Heavy, Heavy, Water, Water!" Invite them to stand up and do a little stomp dance while turning around! Start with Elephant and end with Gecko, but ask the students to name their favorite African animals for the class to dance and act out in the middle. Change voices and rhythms as you act out different animals.
 
OTHER CURRICULUM TIE-INS: SCIENCE AND MATH: Discuss different African Animals and ask students to predict which is heaviest and lightest. Using realistically scale sized animals and a ruler or yard stick, create a balance to compare weights. A ruler works well because the measurements allow you to easily find center and be sure animals are evenly spaced. ART: Draw several African animals on one sheet TO SCALE! Discuss sizes. Draw a human next to an elephant next to a mouse, etc.
 
PHYSICAL EDUCATION: Many African dances are based on agricultural movements. Put on a tape or CD of African drumming and create your own dances with stomping, digging, planting, picking, scattering seed, reaping grain, and so on.
 
EVALUATION: Drawings could reflect Math and Science predictions and measurements.
 
SUGGESTIONS OR COMMENTS: KWANZA is an Afro-American holiday that celebrates cultural values. Stories like this teach about Africa and Afro-American values.
 
IDEAS CONTRIBUTED BY: Brian "Fox" Ellis