Thursday, April 24, 2008

Another Fun Storytelling Site

Yes! It is related to storytelling. Everything is....if you try :)
Stumbled on this one this morning.
There are other characters available.
You can put in any text you want.
Of course, I put in a story! Enjoy....

gif animation

Animated Generator Site

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mother Goose

Most of us remember Mother Goose nursery rhymes. They are usually among the first songs, poems or finger plays that we play with babies. But there are many more "Mother Goose" rhymes many of which we rarely hear. No one knows if there was a "real" person behind the name Mother Goose. Many rhymes are said to have been written by Mother Goose but the connection of "Mother Goose" to these rhymes is difficult.....more likely impossible to determine. Three countries claim "Mother Goose" as belonging to them.... France, England and United States.

I have listed a few links to the many "Mother Goose" sites available on the web.
But I thought I would share a story with you from one of the sites. It seems that L. Frank Baum, of "The Wizard of Oz" fame, wrote a book of stories based on Mother Goose rhymes in 1904. The book was entitled
Mother Goose in Prose (this link takes you to a gutenburg project copy of the book).

The Cat and the Fiddle

Hey, diddle, diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon!
The little dog laughed
To see such sport,
And the dish ran off with the spoon!

Perhaps you think this verse is all nonsense, and that the things it
mentions could never have happened; but they did happen, as you will
understand when I have explained them all to you clearly.

Little Bobby was the only son of a small farmer who lived out of town
upon a country road. Bobby's mother looked after the house and Bobby's
father took care of the farm, and Bobby himself, who was not very big,
helped them both as much as he was able.

It was lonely upon the farm, especially when his father and mother
were both busy at work, but the boy had one way to amuse himself that
served to pass many an hour when he would not otherwise have known
what to do. He was very fond of music, and his father one day brought
him from the town a small fiddle, or violin, which he soon learned to
play upon. I don't suppose he was a very fine musician, but the tunes
he played pleased himself; as well as his father and mother, and
Bobby's fiddle soon became his constant companion.

One day in the warm summer the farmer and his wife determined to drive
to the town to sell their butter and eggs and bring back some
groceries in exchange for them, and while they were gone Bobby was to
be left alone.

"We shall not be back till late in the evening," said his mother, "for
the weather is too warm to drive very fast. But I have left you a dish
of bread and milk for your supper, and you must be a good boy and
amuse yourself with your fiddle until we return."

Bobby promised to be good and look after the house, and then his
father and mother climbed into the wagon and drove away to the town.

The boy was not entirely alone, for there was the big black tabby-cat
lying upon the floor in the kitchen, and the little yellow dog barking
at the wagon as it drove away, and the big moolie-cow lowing in the
pasture down by the brook. Animals are often very good company, and
Bobby did not feel nearly as lonely as he would had there been no
living thing about the house.

Besides he had some work to do in the garden, pulling up the weeds
that grew thick in the carrot-bed, and when the last faint sounds of
the wheels had died away he went into the garden and began his task.

The little dog went too, for dogs love to be with people and to watch
what is going on; and he sat down near Bobby and cocked up his ears
and wagged his tail and seemed to take a great interest in the
weeding. Once in a while he would rush away to chase a butterfly or
bark at a beetle that crawled through the garden, but he always came
back to the boy and kept near his side.

By and by the cat, which found it lonely in the big, empty kitchen,
now that Bobby's mother was gone, came walking into the garden also,
and lay down upon a path in the sunshine and lazily watched the boy at
his work. The dog and the cat were good friends, having lived together
so long that they did not care to fight each other. To be sure Towser,
as the little dog was called, sometimes tried to tease pussy, being
himself very mischievous; but when the cat put out her sharp claws and
showed her teeth, Towser, like a wise little dog, quickly ran away,
and so they managed to get along in a friendly manner.

By the time the carrot-bed was all weeded, the sun was sinking behind
the edge of the forest and the new moon rising in the east, and now
Bobby began to feel hungry and went into the house for his dish of
bread and milk.

"I think I 'll take my supper down to the brook," he said to himself,
"and sit upon the grassy bank while I eat it. And I 'll take my
fiddle, too, and play upon it to pass the time until father and mother
come home."

It was a good idea, for down by the brook it was cool and pleasant; so
Bobby took his fiddle under his arm and carried his dish of bread and
milk down to the bank that sloped to the edge of the brook. It was
rather a steep bank, but Bobby sat upon the edge, and placing his
fiddle beside him, leaned against a tree and began to eat his supper.

The little dog had followed at his heels, and the cat also came slowly
walking after him, and as Bobby ate, they sat one on either side of
him and looked earnestly into his face as if they too were hungry. So
he threw some of the bread to Towser, who grabbed it eagerly and
swallowed it in the twinkling of an eye. And Bobby left some of the
milk in the dish for the cat, also, and she came lazily up and drank
it in a dainty, sober fashion, and licked both the dish and spoon
until no drop of the milk was left.

Then Bobby picked up his fiddle and tuned it and began to play some of
the pretty tunes he knew. And while he played he watched the moon rise
higher and higher until it was reflected in the smooth, still water of
the brook. Indeed, Bobby could not tell which was the plainest to see,
the moon in the sky or the moon in the water. The little dog lay
quietly on one side of him, and the cat softly purred upon the other,
and even the moolie-cow was attracted by the music and wandered near
until she was browsing the grass at the edge of the brook.

After a time, when Bobby had played all the tunes he knew, he laid the
fiddle down beside him, near to where the cat slept, and then he lay
down upon the bank and began to think.

It is very hard to think long upon a dreamy summer night without
falling asleep, and very soon Bobby's eyes closed and he forgot all
about the dog and the cat and the cow and the fiddle, and dreamed he
was Jack the Giant Killer and was just about to slay the biggest giant
in the world.

And while he dreamed, the cat sat up and yawned and stretched herself;
and then began wagging her long tail from side to side and watching
the moon that was reflected in the water.

But the fiddle lay just behind her, and as she moved her tail, she
drew it between the strings of the fiddle, where it caught fast. Then
she gave her tail a jerk and pulled the fiddle against the tree, which
made a loud noise. This frightened the cat greatly, and not knowing
what was the matter with her tail, she started to run as fast as she
could. But still the fiddle clung to her tail, and at every step it
bounded along and made such a noise that she screamed with terror. And
in her fright she ran straight towards the cow, which, seeing a black
streak coming at her, and hearing the racket made by the fiddle,
became also frightened and made such a jump to get out of the way that
she jumped right across the brook, leaping over the very spot where
the moon shone in the water!

Bobby had been awakened by the noise, and opened his eyes in time to
see the cow jump; and at first it seemed to him that she had actually
jumped over the moon in the sky, instead of the one in the brook.

The dog was delighted at the sudden excitement caused by the cat, and
ran barking and dancing along the bank, so that he presently knocked
against the dish, and behold! it slid down the bank, carrying the
spoon with it, and fell with a splash into the water of the brook.

As soon as Bobby recovered from his surprise he ran after the cat,
which had raced to the house, and soon came to where the fiddle lay
upon the ground, it having at last dropped from the cat's tail. He
examined it carefully, and was glad to find it was not hurt, in spite
of its rough usage. And then he had to go across the brook and drive
the cow back over the little bridge, and also to roll up his sleeve
and reach into the water to recover the dish and the spoon.

Then he went back to the house and lighted a lamp, and sat down to
compose a new tune before his father and mother returned.

The cat had recovered from her fright and lay quietly under the stove,
and Towser sat upon the floor panting, with his mouth wide open, and
looking so comical that Bobby thought he was actually laughing at the
whole occurrence.

And these were the words to the tune that Bobby composed that night:

Hey, diddle, diddle,
The cat and the fiddle,
The cow jumped over the moon!
The little dog laughed
To see such sport,
And the dish ran off with the spoon!

I hope you enjoyed the story!
Here are a few Mother Goose Links...

Mother Goose (Amherst)

The Mother Goose Pages

The Mother Goose Society

Animated Mother Goose

Mother Goose (apples 4 the teacher)

Mother Goose Games and Activities

Origins of Mother Goose - Wikipedia

Enchanted Learning Rhymes

Mother Goose Rocks

Charles Perrault's Mother Goose Tales

Mother Goose Parade

The Real Mother Goose: Project Gutenburg

Mother Goose Clipart - Karen's Whimsey

Sunday, April 20, 2008

I do a lot of my storytelling with preschoolers. The usual age is between 2 and 6 years. Sometimes older, sometimes younger. I like this age group which some storytellers don't deal with because they can be so much fun. And because they are…..fresh, interested in any and everything. Especially if the information is presented well with lots of enthusiasm and participation.

When I do storytelling with that age group, I use a combination of movement activities, circle games, props, songs, finger plays, a short story and a songbook. I am also very fond of themes.

So, I thought I would share a sample program with the theme of counting or numbers.

Once Upon A Song - (Sample) Counting Program

Opening Song - 1 little, 2 little, 3 little Children
(same tune as the "123 Little Indian" song)
use the song to count the children or if they are old enough have them count themselves

Finger Play - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
One, two, three, four five!
Once I caught a fish alive;
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten.
Then I let it go again.

Why did you let it go?
Because it bit my finger so.
Which finger did it bite?
This little finger on the right.

Story Songbook - The Ants Go Marching

Rhyme to Act Out - 10 in the Bed (bring 10 children up with you to help act out this rhyme/song. You can use a large blanket that the kids can hold up….looking like they are in bed….. Then sing or chant the song. As each child leaves, you can have the kids count to see how many are left.)

Story - Why Anansi Has 8 Legs

Finger Play or Acting Out Activity - 5 Green and Speckled Frogs
(You can have the kids do this as a finger play or bring kids up to play the frogs)
Five green and speckled frogs,
Sat on a speckled log,
Eating some most delicious bugs...yum, yum.
One jumped into the pool
Where it was nice and cool.
Then there were four green speckled frogs.

(Continue until only one frog is left )

One green and specked frog.
Sat on a speckled log,
Eating some most delicious bugs...yum,yum.
He jumped into the pool
Where it was nice and cool.
Now there are no green speckled frogs.

Reprise of The Ants Go Marching
(sing the song with the kids…..depending on how many children you have, you can have the children walk in pairs or threes , etc. and march around the room while singing and acting out the movements in the song)

Closing Song

There you have it, a sample of the type of program I would do with young children. You can add or subtract songs and activities depending on how long the children can stay on task.

Here are a few other counting activities that you can do with children…………..

10 Bottles of Pop on the Wall (change the number of bottles depending on the age of the child/ren) & 5 Little Monkey Jumping on the Bed

Use some of the Math books that use foods…..M&M Math; the Cheerios Counting Book; Hershey Book on Fractions ; the Goldfish Book and others.

Use Tanagram books. There are many.

Go for a walk and count the steps. You might also count jumps, skips, hops, turns or anything you can think of.

Have fun!!!

Sand Art...Shalom

Art done by sand artist Ilana Yahav.
This shows one of the many ways to tell a story.
Storytelling with sand....Fabulous!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Songs of Malvina Reynolds

Malvina Reynolds wrote many songs and poems in her life. Many of her songs are still sung. They have been recorded by artist such as Pete Seeger, Joan Baez and the Limeliters.

"Malvina Reynolds was born Malvina Milder on August 23, 1900, to a Jewish socialist immigrant family in San Francisco, California. Her parents ran a tailor shop together and their home was filled with political discussion and meetings........ There she earned both her Bachelor's and Master's degrees, and later, in 1938, her Ph.D. in Romance Philology.......... In 1934 She married carpenter and labor organizer William 'Bud' Reynolds and having a daughter in 1935. In the late forties (which were also her late forties) Bud and Malvina worked together on progressive political campaigns and she performed at folk music events in the Los Angeles area, along with Earl Robinson and other musicians active in Peoples’ Songs (whose Bulletin was a forerunner of Sing Out! magazine). She had been writing the occasional popular or political song since her late thirties; by her fifties, she had increased her output and added children’s songs to the mix. By the time the folk protest movements of the 1960s came along, she had honed her skills and was ready to take on the issues of the day: civil rights, opposition to the war in Vietnam, and the right of workers to organize. Overall she wrote hundreds of songs, some of great beauty and many displaying a sense of humor and wit that has endeared her to performers and listeners from Helsinki to Tokyo. Malvina Reynolds died on March 17, 1978, with gigs on her calendar."

More information about Malvina is available at the Malvina Reynolds: Song Lyrics and Poems website.

The video below has 6 Melvina Reynolds songs. Four of them performed by Malvina, one by Pete Seeger and one by the Seekers. Unfortunately, I could not find my favorite song by Malvina Reynolds, The Magic Penny. I have written the lyrics below. It is such a marvelous song for kids and adults.

Magic Penny words and music by Malvina Reynolds

Love is something if you give it away,
Give it away, give it away.
Love is something if you give it away,
You end up having more.

It's just like a magic penny,
Hold it tight and you won't have any.
Lend it, spend it, and you'll have so many
They'll roll all over the floor.

For love is something if you give it away,
Give it away, give it away.
Love is something if you give it away,
You end up having more.

Money's dandy and we like to use it,1
But love is better if you don't refuse it.
It's a treasure and you'll never lose it
Unless you lock up your door.

For love is something if you give it away,
Give it away, give it away.
Love is something if you give it away,
You end up having more.

So let's go dancing till the break of day,
And if there's a piper, we can pay.
For love is something if you give it away,
You end up having more.

For love is something if you give it away,
Give it away, give it away.
Love is something if you give it away,
You end up having more.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

An Interesting Site...

I just stumbled across this site and thought others might find it fun and interesting.....Fairytale Generator

Basically you pick situations from a list and the site "generates" a short, very short, fairytale for you.

Monday, April 7, 2008


This is a link to a wonderful article about the state of storytelling today. Enjoy!

Storytellers counter an age of bits and soundbytes with the timeless power of an oral tradition

Saturday, April 5, 2008

As I am sure I have mentioned before, or at least I should have, I love poems and poetry. And I have quite a few favorite poems and poets. One of my favorite writer's of children's poetry is Shel Silverstein.

Born Sheldon Alan Silverstein, September 25, 1930 in Chicago, Illinois, "Shel" Silverstein was an American poet, songwriter, musician, composer, cartoonist, screenwriter and author of children's books. He wrote 3 books of poetry for children Where the Sidewalk Ends (1974), A Light in the Attic (1981)and Falling Up (1996).

Just an interesting aside, Shel Silverstein also wrote the music and the lyrics for the following songs: "A Boy Named Sue" that was performed by Johnny Cash, "The Unicorn" which is popular in Irish pubs all over the world, "The Cover of the Rolling Stone" a song performed by Dr. Hook.

The following poem can be found in his book "Where the Sidewalk Ends". "Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me, Too" is a wonderful poem. It's fun to say, the children love the rhyme and the images that it creates. It is also a marvelous poem to act out. There are so many places for the children use their imagination.

If you have the time and the facilities, why not go a step further and have the kids make Mulligan Stew!(It's mentioned in the poem :)

Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too,
Went for a ride in a flying shoe,
"What fun!"
"It's time we flew!"
Said Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too.

Ickle was captain, Pickle was crew,
And Tickle served coffee and mulligan stew
As higher
And higher
And higher they flew,
Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too.

Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too,
Over the sun and beyond the blue.
"Hold on!"
"Stay in!"
"I hope we do!"
Cried Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too.

Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too
Never returned to the world they knew,
And nobody
knows what's
happened to
Dear Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me too.

Written by Shel Silverstein (1930-1999)

I know from experience that your average child will ask you what mulligan stew is as soon as you finish the poem, if not sooner. So here is your answer (just in case you did not know, I didn't.)

Mulligan stew is a kind of dish said to have been prepared by hobos in camps in the early 1900s. Usually, it includes meat, potatoes, vegetables, and whatever else can be found. The hobo who put it together was known as the "mulligan mixer". A stew is generally difined as being made, literally, of "whatever is on hand" including meat, potatoes and vegetables in any combination.

I have included 2 different stew recipes. Enjoy!

Campfire Mulligan Stew
Ingredients :
Method :
In small amount of hot fat in heavy frying pan, brown: 1 pound stew meat, cut in small pieces Add: 1 tsp. salt Stir in: 1 can condensed tomato soup 1 can water Cover tightly and let cook slowly until tender (about 1-1/2 hours). If fire gets too hot, take from heat occasionally to keep at a simmer. When the meat is tender, add: 3 carrots, cut in thick slices
3 potatoes, quartered
3 onions, halved Continue cooking slowly about 30 minutes. If there is not enough juice, add water during cooking. If too thin take off lid and cook sauce until thickened. 4 to 6 servings
Recipe from the Betty Crocker's Cook Book for Boys and Girls

Easy Crock Pot Beef Stew Recipe
- 4 each potatoes, chopped into bite size pieces
- 1 each onion, chopped
- 1 pound carrots, sliced
- pound stew meat
- 1 can tomato soup
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 package stew seasoning

Cut the vegetables and meat into bite sized pieces. Mix the stew seasoning with the water. Place the meat on the bottom of the crock, cover with vegetables. Pour the soup and stew seasoning mixture over all. Cook in the crock pot on high for 6 hours or low 10 hours.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 6 or more hours
Servings: 6

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Do Schools Kill Creativity? Sir Ken Robinson

First let me say I am not bashing teachers!!!
I have subbed quite a bit in my time and I have at least 3 teachers in my family
and a princpal/school administrator.
But I do believe that The Arts are sadly neglected in the educational system.

That being said......This video is absolutely fabulous!

Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining (and profoundly moving) case for creating an education system that nurtures creativity, rather than undermining it.

(if this video does not work here is the Link )


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Storytelling Quotes III

The Storyteller’s Creed
I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge,
That myth is more potent than history,
That dreams are more powerful than facts,
That hope always triumphs over experience,
That laughter is the only cure for grief,
And I believe that love is stronger than death.
—Robert Fulghum

There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside of you. —Maya Angelou

A song ain’t nothin’ in the world but a story just wrote with music to it. —Hank Williams, Sr.

Stories are the single most powerful weapon in a leader’s arsenal.
—Howard Gardner, Harvard University

Life itself is the most wonderful fairytale of all. —Hans Christian Andersen

The universe is made of stories, not atoms. —Muriel Rukeyser

It takes a thousand voices to tell a single story. —Native American saying

The story was the bushman’s most sacred possession.
These people knew what we do not; that without a story you have not got a nation, or culture, or civilization.
Without a story of your own, you haven’t got a life of your own.
—Laurens Van der Post