Storytelling

2012-09-17 08.34.22

Every morning we open our morning with a story. Not just any story but an oral story or song. There is something special about gathering the children with their families around the carpet for this time. Often our director facilitates this experience but occasionally myself or one of the other teachers facilitates opening story. When it is my turn to tell a story I often try to select stories that will connect with the children. Last week I adapted a tale I found online about a dragon that blessed a village with water by breaking open a spring in the valley with a sneeze (many of our boys love dragons, who am I kidding some of the girls do too). A couple months ago I wrote my own. Being a writer sometimes I decide to just do my own if I can not find one that I like. Trust me it is tricky to find stories that we have not done and are tapped into the children while not being extensively long. Well several weeks ago the children were really interested in a song called “Blow the Balloon”. Hugh Hanley does a nice version. I often sing it with the children as a relaxing activity. Well I thought a tale about how balloons were made would be fitting. I did a little research about balloons and let my imagination carry me away. And, So I wrote the following story (feel free to share it):

Once long ago there was an old man who loved carnivals. He loved to listen to the music tinkering through the pathways. He loved the sweet smell of cotton candy and buttery popcorn. He loved to watch the spinning and whirling of a lit up ride. But most of all he loved the laughter of the children and families enjoying the festivities.
Well one day there was a ride he passed where all the children sat in a little basket and twirled around. It looked like a set of swings on a merry-go-round. It looked exciting. It looked fun. It looked inviting. Most of the children were giggling with joy. But, one little boy came off of the swing around ride with tears in his eyes. This upset the little old man. He decided he must do something for the little boys and girls who became sad or scared at the carnival.
He rushed home and tinkered about his barn. He dug on the shelves and turned over containers but he found nothing to help him. He decided to go out to his yard in the orchard and think about what he could do. He strolled around scratching his head when he noticed the sap from his rubber tree dripping down to the ground. And while he was watching the trees and sap drip every once and awhile the wind would catch a drop and carry it away like a bubble. This gave him an idea. He ran to the barn for a big metal bucket. He put the bucket under the tree where the sap was dripping. He collected the rubber sap in the bucket until it was filled to the top. Then he carried the heavy bucket to the barn. He pulled some straws off the shelf and dipped one into the bucket. He blew through the straw and it made a beautiful and colorful bubble at the end. He soon began to make a whole collection of these bubbles. He made red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and purple – all the colors of the rainbow. There were even a few that turned out with all the colors of the rainbow swirling around in them. Those were his favorite. After creating a handful of them he ran to the carnival with them.
When he saw a sad little boy or girl he would offer them one. When they would ask what it was he never knew what to call them but they were all delighted to have one. One day a little boy came off of the swing around ride with tears in his eyes. The old man offered him a bubble straw and this time the boy insisted on knowing what it was called. The man didn’t know why but he didn’t want to call it a bubble. Maybe something similar – so he scratched his head and thought out loud to himself as he sputtered out the word balloon. Yes – balloon he thought was fitting. He told the boy it was a balloon and the young man ran away delighted. To this day the old man visits the carnival and hands out balloons of all different colors. So if you ever see him be ready to take a balloon. What color would you like? (allow the children to pick a color as you pretend to hand them out and then have them pretend to stretch it before singing and acting out this song.)
“Blow the Balloon”
Blow the Balloon. (pretend to blow a balloon as your hands get larger throughout the song)
Blow the Balloon.
Blow.
And Blow.
And Blow. (clap hands together as if it has popped)
Where did my balloon go? (sad face)

And that is the end of that story.

Story telling is enchanting and unique to each community. Tailoring stories to your age group, children’s interest, and the community culture are all important things to consider when preparing for story telling. Not every teacher needs to write their own – there are so many folk tales, oral stories collections, or great books that can be adapted to great oral tales. My recommendation is to give it a try – even if just every once in awhile. Replace a circle time or two with a story time that has no pictures or book to share, a note card with key notes in your lap is helpful when first starting. Jump in!

Storytelling in the Early Childhood world has numerous benefits. The opportunity for exposing children to rich language, vivid cognitive imagery, and the pure joy of literacy is laced in every oral story we share with children.

Support For Storytelling:

One of my favorites I found: http://www.scottishstorytellingcentre.co.uk/education/SRresources/earlyyearsstarter.pdf

http://www.betterkidcare.psu.edu/TIPS/TIPS1511.pdf

Love Zero to Three for information on quality ECE practices: http://main.zerotothree.org/site/PageServer?pagename=ter_key_language_storytelling&AddInterest=1145

http://www.australianstorytelling.org.au/txt/childhd.php

Sharing a few stories the children have enjoyed (sometimes we do stories in song form, especially with the young ones):

Here is the one about the water dragon I adapted.

http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/UBooks/DragRock.shtml

Hermie the Wormy Song – (This one is for you Josie! 🙂 – thanks for teaching me your version).

Sittin’ on my front porch
Chewin’ my bubble gum
(Make a bubble gum chewing noise: smack-smack-smack-smack)
Playin’ with my yo-yo (woop- oooop – pretend to yo-yo)
When along came Hermie The Wormy
and he was this big (hold hands apart a small amount and get larger for each verse).
And I said,
“Hermie, Baby, what’s happening?”.
And he said” I ate pencil”.

Sittin’ on my front porch
Chewin’ on my bubble gum (smack, smack, smack, smack, smack)
Playing with my yo-yo (woop-oooop)
When along came Hermie the Wormy
and he was this big.
And I said,
“Hermie,Baby, what’s happening?”
and he said “I ate a broom.”

Sittin’ on my front porch
Chewin’ on my bubble gum (smack, smack, smack, smack, smack)
Playing with my yo-yo (woop-oooop)
When along came Hermie the Wormy
and he was this big.
And I said,
“Hermie,Baby, what’s happening?”
and he said “I ate a tree.”

Sittin’ on my front porch
Chewin’ on my bubble gum (smack, smack, smack, smack, smack)
Playing with my yo-yo (woop-oooop)
When along came Hermie the Wormy
and he was this big (hold hands apart a tiny amount).
And I said,
“Hermie,Baby, what’s happening?”
and he said (make gulping noise) “I burped!”.

Sometimes good books turn into great oral stories.

not afraid

storm

 

A few of my favorites that my director has told and the children love:

An African Tale with a refrain that sticks with you and a tricky twist to the end:  http://www.amazon.com/Whos-Rabbits-House-Picture-Puffins/dp/014054724X (An adapted version of this tale)

A catchy song about a journey home:

LONG WAY HOME
(John Forster and Tom Chapin)

I was comin’ home, on a yellow bus,
When the bus broke down, and stranded us.
Comin’ home on a yellow bus,
When the bus broke down and stranded us.
It was a long, long, long, long, long way home.

So I hopped a train, comin’ down the line.
The caboose came loose, I got left behind.
Hopped a train comin’ down the line,
Caboose came loose, I got left behind.
It was a long, long, long, long, long way home.

So I found a boat, by the river bank,
But we struck a rock, and we promptly sank.
Found a boat by the river bank,
But we struck a rock and we promptly sank.
It was a long, long, long, long, long way home.

So I got picked up, by a submarine,
But they left me off, in the Philippines.
Got picked up by a submarine,
They left me off in the Philippines.
It was a long, long, long, long, long way home.

So I took a jet, but I couldn’t pay,
So they threw me out, of the cargo bay.
Took a jet but I couldn’t pay,
So they threw me out of the cargo bay.
It was a long, long, long, long, long way home.

My parachute, kept me safe from harm,
And I landed in a tree, on the neighbors’ farm.
My parachute kept me safe from harm,
Landed in a tree on the neighbors’ farm.
It was a long, long, long, long, long way home.

So I jumped a horse, but it threw a shoe,
And I had to walk, back home to you.
So I jumped a horse, but it threw a shoe,
And I had to walk back home to you.
It was a long, long, long, long, long way home.

So I’m sorry, Mom, that I’m home so late,
And that dinner’s cold, and I made you wait.
Sorry, Mom, that I’m home so late,
And that dinner’s cold and I made you wait.
It was just a long, long, long, long, long way home.

Now you have a platform to inspire you or borrow from.

support

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