‘Please tell me a story’ is a heart-felt request that has surely been made to every teacher and parent. Often, the request is granted much to the delight of the eager listeners. What draws us to storytelling so deeply? How do we choose the stories appropriate for telling? How can we make storytelling more effective? How can we use this art of oral narration in a learning context? These are the questions that Story Time will attempt to answer.
The column will always begin with a story, which will be followed by post-storytelling activities that explore various facets of facilitating learning. The stories in this column will be chosen to suit 7 to 11 year old children. These stories and the activities that follow can be simplified or made complex depending on the target audience.
The frog race
“Yes! Come on! Faster!” shouted the animals of the jungle as they watched a unique race. It was a race of frogs up the vertical walls of a castle. A very strange race indeed it was. The frogs had decided to race up the walls of a castle which was as high as a hill. All the animals came to watch and cheer. Hundreds of frogs contested but they all gave up very soon.
Pichuk! pichuk! the frogs fell off the slippery wall. Soon there were only three left. These three kept climbing on and on, higher and higher. The animals below began to worry for the frogs now. “Hmmm…what if the frogs have a bad fall and hurt themselves?” they thought. So instead of cheering and encouraging them, the animals began to shout, “Stop! Come back! It’s not safe! Return now!”
These shouts soon reached the three climbing frogs. Two of them stopped in their tracks. They decided to return and very carefully came back to the ground sound and safe. The third frog however kept going. Forget returning, he didn’t even stop for a moment. On and on and on and on he went. Higher and higher. There was absolute silence below as everyone watched with bated breath.
Birds flew up to try and warn him but they were too late. The frog had reached the top of the castle! “Hurrah!” everyone cheered and clapped below. The victorious frog sat there on the top of the castle. The excited birds said, “Congratulations frog! You must tell us what gave you the courage to continue even when so many animals were discouraging you?”
And what do you think was the winning frog’s answer? He turned around confused and said “Eh?”
You see the frog was deaf and so he hadn’t heard anything!
The author is a storyteller, educationist, writer and voice-over artist. She holds storytelling performances with music and dance woven in. She conducts training workshops for teachers on the art of storytelling and using it in the classroom. She is also the founder of Story Arts India (www.storyartsindia.com), an organization that offers storytelling shows and training programs for children, teachers, parents and all storytelling enthusiasts. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.