FINGER FABLES (for Squiggly Squirmers)
A highly engaging performance & workshop program for children Pre-K to grade 2.
Let your master storyteller take young children by the hand and guide them to become better listeners. “Finger Fables” engages even the “squiggliest squirmer” to turn their fingers, faces and voices into story characters. They not only follow the fable but learn to listen, retell and reenact. Studies show children who learn to tell storytelling become stronger readers writers and problem-solvers.
Drawing fables from Aesop to Anansi, and authors like Margaret Wise Brown, and Leo Leoni, this program enchants children from Pre-K to second grade.
The best way is to offer an assembly performance, followed by four 30-40 minute story-making workshops. Usually, four short interactive fables are performed.
Alternatively, schedule a day of five in class visits. Each 45-minute visit offers, two or three performed fables the children will retell, and reenact. We’ll launch a pre-writing/drawing activity on the main idea or sequence.
Fees: $650. A day in residence. $400. For one assembly performance, up to 175 students
$275. For additional assemblies, up to three in one day.
Video Clip: “Where Are Little Bear’s Dancing Pants?” a performance with kindergartners
Possible Fables - Please ask about other selections
Big Fish, Small Pond - originates in the Caribbean, and takes kids "by their hands" on a journey leading to that old saying. Here, Big Fish tries to escape the boredom of his small pond. The wild river however puts him in great dangers. There’s a rough current, huge hungry fish, and a fishing net! Big Fish discovers sometimes is good to be a big fish in a small pond. Children love acting out this fable.
Activities - Ask children to answer questions about key details in the stories. Retell favorite parts of each story. Draw, three pictures in the order they happened, each of the dangers Big Fish met in the river. Draw in order the three games, Little Fish wanted to play with Big Fish. Do you know any one like Big Fish? What is the message?
Lion & Mouse - an adaptation joining Aesop’s classic with a touch of Androcles’ Lion. Here, children experience drama leading to the moral, ‘you are never too small to help.’ They’ll enjoy acting out with their hands, faces, and voice, Zebra, Antelope, Rhino, Giraffe, Monkey and Snake! It’s tender and touching too!
Related Reading - Your favorite version from Aesop, & “Amos & Boris” by William Steig Activities
Activites - Ask the children to draw a picture showing how things were in the story each time the lion roared, beginning middle and end. Ask the children to list and draw three things they do at home or at school to help.
Rabbit & Turtle - Aesop’s classic performed as a lively finger fable. Little fingers become Rabbit’s ears. A small fist serves well as a shell. Rabbit boasts and zooms. Turtles ducks into his shell but forges on slow and steady. Some races take the two right around your school. There is a delightful a tried true message.
Activities- Students to draw a picture of their favorite part of the tale. Collect the drawings, and display them in the front of the room. The class orders their drawings beginning to end. Discuss what it means to boost or brag like Rabbit. What is best to do slow and steady? Remember; “slow and steady wins the race when you are learning to read ride your bike and tie your shoelace!”
Sunny Time Bunny - original fable, inspired by Margaret Wise Brown's "Runaway Bunny." A Bunny wants to run jump and have fun at nap time. Grandmother Willow and Grandfather Frog warn of Fox! Bunny learns it is better to let someone know where you are and best to watch out for each other.
Activities - Play the Bunny/Fox game (jump about, then duck down when “Fox” appears. Act out the story as a group or ask children to do so in small groups of five. Draw pictures of favorite parts of the tale.
Fox & Crow - Aesop’s clever fable warns to beware of flattery. Children will completely understand what it means listening to this story of Fox outwitting Crow of a chunk of cheese. Listen Read - “Aesop for Children” with pictures by Milo Winter
Activities - Discuss how Fox got the cheese from Crow. Look up Eagle, Peacock and Lark to see why Fox used them to trick Crow. Draw a series of two to six pictures showing what happens in this fable, step by step. Older students will enjoy James Thurber’s versions of this fable. Talk about what flattery means.
Swimmy - Adapted from Leo Lionni's delightful children’s book. A school of blue fish gets eaten by a huge shark. Swimmy remains. Finding a school of red fish Swimmy tries to join them. They shun the strange colored one. Then, comes a threatening shark. Swimmy shows them the value of being different. Activities: Read aloud and retell this tale. Reenact this tale. Discuss why the red fish changed about Swimmy. Why is it important to have different people in a group?
Barkface & Rootnose - an original fable showing why it's better to make friends in life than to try to fight your way to the top. Cooperation often bests competition. Two trees fight to be the biggest. Two new trees learn to work together to grow. They still grow today.
Activities - Discuss and analyze why the first two trees feel and the next two trees thrived. Draw a sequence of pictures of the first two trees and the second trees showing what is different about them. Tell how you help your friends.
The Tailor’s Tale - A traditional German/Yiddish folk tale. What happens when something wears out? Turn it into something that never does - a story! Here, it becomes an interactive tale your students will learn to tell at home.
Activities - Ask the children to do a story map sequencing the tale in six drawings. Ask them to retell the tale to a partner, and then to take it home!
I offer many other fables! Please ask for ones to match your themes and interests.
Common Core Standards Addressed:
Key Details #2
K "With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details."
1st - "Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson." 2nd -Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.
Knowledge and Ideas #9
K- Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories.
Ist a. With prompting and support, students will make cultural connections to text and self.
2nd Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e.g., Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures.
Responding to Literature K,1st, & 2nd - Making connections between self, text, and the world
K.L.6 Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading, being read to, responding to texts.
K.SL.2 Confirm understanding of a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media, K.SL.4 Describe familiar people, places, things, and events and, with prompting and support, provide additional detail. K.SL.6 Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly.
Video - "Little Bear's Dancing Pants" for kindergarten
Video: Show starts by catching stories
“Not a soul budged while listening to him tell his fable of "Barkface and Rootnose."
Wendy Schiavi, Co-chair The Glens Falls Community Read-a-Thon
My kindergarten class is really enjoying your performances. They are even telling each other to be quiet so they can hear the stories!!!
Jill Coloney, Saratoga Elementary
I liked the stories you told us! My imagination really works good now!”
Gary - 2nd Grader Garrison, NY
Jonathan Kruk is an incredible one-man show without the bells and whistles, no big sound systems or lights, no pomp. That said, Mr. Kruk’s performance is so colorful and stimulating, it makes you come alive. He is a fantastic storyteller! Your imagination tingles. Child or adult, you become completely captivated as he uses his body, voice/ sound effects and hands to make his characters practically appear in front of your eyes.
Juani Tantillo, Tuscan School PTA, Maplewood NJ