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I have been invited to tell stories in English in a German elementary school. They have been learning English, but aren't very fluent, so I am looking for easy stories with participation to tell. Can anyone suggest stories I could tell? Probably the kind you would tell to preschool or kindergarten children.
Thanks so much,.

Tags: Christmas, participation, stories

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The old story about Too Much Noise can be switched to Santa's home with Mrs. Claus & the noisy elves. He can ask for help from the newspaper's advice column or whomever you decide could advise Santa, telling him to add pets to his home's noise, then reindeer, & any farm animals the children suggest. If you divide the group so each noisy person or creature has a sound & action (Mrs. C., the elves, & so on), it can get quite chaotic, so be sure, before you start the story, to give a signal to quiet your audience each time.

Do you know the story about The Twistmouths? It can be found online. I even see a YouTube video version by fellow member, Leslie Slape. Some tellers change it to Santa Visits the Moes. (It's in the book, Ready-To-Tell Tales by member, David Holt, along with Bill Mooney.)

Other adaptations of familiar traditional tales include having Santa's sleigh get stuck or a huge present gets stuck & he needs help pulling it out as in the story of the enormous root vegetable that is sometimes a turnip, carrot, or potato (end with someone or an animal that is tiny); the Gingerbread Boy (Mrs. Claus bakes it for Santa, you can let the children suggest who else chases it -- the version I ran into lets Santa finally catch it to put it into a Christmas stocking, so "if you get 1, you'll know how it came to be there"); similarly "Going on a Bear Hunt" can be tailored to vocabulary they might know & also using actions & sounds; I've done the cumulative action story of "My Name is Joe and I Work in a Button Factory" as an elf working in Santa's toy factory, with Santa asking for added jobs -- the original is found on YouTube & elsewhere by putting the title in (quotation marks help); as Germans they probably know Grimm's The Fisherman & His Wife, have her want bigger & grander presents & homes for her Christmas decorations.

Do you know any fingerplays? They're perfect & your library should have some! My favorite book is from Flint Public Library here in Michigan. Amazon lists it or get it directly from Flint at http://www.fpl.info/ringoroses/index.shtml & avoid the "middleman." Don't overlook songs that have participation, too.

Beyond straight storytelling here are a few other options that may or may not work for you.

If you would like a story where you draw or cut out a design that produces a Christmas picture, there are several. Totline has 1 by Jean Warren that was popular in a library where I worked, called "Cut & Tell" Scissor Stories for Winter: Original Stories, Paper Plate Cut-Outs and Patterns. For drawing, I looked on Amazon using "tell and draw" as the search terms. Unfortunately book reviews for the author I recall, Margaret J. Olson (later Margaret J. Oldfield), didn't mention Christmas although I believe there may be something in 1 of them. Amazon also had similar books by Barbara Freedman-De Vito. Your library may give that type of story or, if you are good at origami or string figures, & you can manage that while telling, you can take shapes you learn & fit them to a Christmas story. Online try "origami" or "string figure" + "Christmas."

Personally I like to tell a story & at the same time use sign language because there are so many "natural" signs that help explain the words when telling in a language that your audience is learning. I've done this when telling abroad. Here in the U.S. I use it both as an awareness of the importance of American Sign Language & it's an easy way to get an audience both participating & learning.

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