Posts Tagged ‘storytelling’

The Legend of the Christmas Stocking

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

image of Christmas stockings

With Thanksgiving behind them, the “Can Do” kids were looking forward to the coming Christmas holiday.

it was time for some Christmas activities; so, Miss Pat invited Grandpa Dooley to class to share the Legend of the Christmas Stocking.

The “Can Dos” all knew and liked Grandpa Dooley. They especially liked his storytelling. His booming voice made his storytelling extra special. Willie and Nellie were always so proud to have their grandpa tell stories to the class.

Grandpa Dooley cleared his throat and began. “The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. Everyone knows this poem. But, do you know who wrote it?” Not even Orrie had the answer, and he has most answers.

Grandpa Dooley continued with his storytelling. “As far back as 1823, when Clement Clarke Moore wrote “A Visit From Saint Nicholas,” stockings were being hung near the fireplace, awaiting a visit from Santa Claus. At the end of the poem, St. Nick “fill’d all the stockings; then turn’d with a jerk,/And laying his finger aside of his nose/And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.”

But where did this legend, this practice of hanging Christmas stockings, come from?

While there are no written records of the origin of the Christmas stocking, there are popular legends that attempt to tell the history of this Christmas tradition. One such legend has several variations, but the following is a good example:

Very long ago, there lived a poor man and his three very beautiful daughters. He had no money to get his daughters married, and he was worried what would happen to them after he wasn’t around to take care of them.  Passing through town, St. Nicholas heard the villagers talking about the girls. St. Nicholas wanted to help, but knew that the old man wouldn’t accept charity. He decided to help in secret. After dark he threw three bags, which contained gold, through an open window. When the girls and their father woke up the next morning they found the bags of gold and were, of course, overjoyed. The girls were able to get married and live happily ever after.

This led to the custom of children hanging stockings or putting out shoes, eagerly awaiting gifts from Saint Nicholas.

A tradition that began in a European country originally, children simply used one of their everyday socks but eventually special Christmas stockings were created for this purpose. Many families create their own Christmas stockings with each family member’s name applied to the stocking so that Santa will know which stocking belongs to which family member.”

Grandpa Dooley put the paper down that he was reading from and looked at the class. “Now it is your turn to speak. Tell me about your Christmas stocking traditions.”

Hand shot up and each “Can Do” waited politely to be called to share about their Christmas stockings.

 Sources information: Wikipedia – description of the history of the Christmas stocking.


The Three Little Pigs Poem

Monday, October 14th, 2013

pigsOn his last day in storytelling class with the “Can Dos”, Storyteller Bill shared a poem he wrote about The Three Little Pigs.

Before Storyteller Bill recited his poem, he reviewed all the things you can do with an existing  story. “Boys and girls,” he said,”you can make so many things out of a story that already exists. Why you can do what we have been doing during our time together. You can change the ending; you can add characters. You can make a story into a play and perform it on stage. Why you can make it into a poem! Here is one I wrote about the Three Little Pigs.”

Three Little Pigs with a Woof and a Tweet

Three Little Pigs with a Woof and a Tweet

They all got together for a holiday treat

With things they all like on one special night

And on days throughout the New Year

They shared things together in all kinds of weather

They tried to be good

And to be kind as they should

They shared things together

In all kinds of weather

And in days throughout the New Year

So take my advice

Try to be nice

And help out your sister and brother

Be kind in all things

Be happy and sing

Like three-little pigs

With a woof (woof woof)

And a tweet( tweet tweet)

And a Tweet (tweet tweet)

And a Woof (woof woof)


The “Can Dos” all clapped when Storyteller Bill finished his poem. Storyteller Bill smiled, took off his hat and bowed. “Remember boys and girls…there are so many things around you that are the makings of a good story. A trip to a new place, an event you saw on the street, something that happened to a friend are all things that can make a good story. You, as the storyteller, have to make it interesting so people listen to or read your story.

Well it is time for me to go. It has been great spending time with all of you.”  Hector cried out, “Don’t go. You’re fun. Stay and tell us more stories like the Three Little Pigs.”

“I wish I could, answered Storyteller Bill, “but there are other schools with other boys and girls who need to learn about storytelling. I am headed to a school not far from here. I’ll be looking for your stories in your school newsletter. So get busy writing your stories down. Who knows, you might be the official Can Do Street Storyteller some day!”

About Storyteller Bill: Bill Woods began storytelling as a young child. He put on plays for his sisters and brother, cousins and friends.  He would perform in front of his family’s garage. His father would turn on the car headlights and shine them on Bill as he performed. Bill Woods has spent a lifetime entertaining children and adults by telling stories and putting on plays. He is a member of the Heights Players, a Community Theater Group in Brooklyn Heights, NY where he began by designing sets, then moved on the directing and acting. After 30 some years in theater, he has returned to his childhood by writing and telling stories for children.

Bill describes himself as an old storyteller who is  young again in his heart!


The Three Little Pigs With a Woof and a Tweet Continued…

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

storytellingThe “Can Dos” couldn’t wait to see how Storyteller Bill finished the story about The Three Little Pigs.

They raced into the room where Storyteller Bill was waiting for them. They looked up and saw that half the blackboard was covered. The other half of the blackboard had the story of the Three Little Pigs with the changes Storyteller Bill had made last week.

As soon as the “Can Dos” were seated, Storyteller Bill reminded them that they left off with the story just as the Woof was coming down the street looking like grandma. The Woof was singing, “For food I am looking, that doesn’t need cooking. I need just a bite and a chew and a crunch. Something soft, or something fat for breakfast or dinner or lunch.”

Then Storyteller Bill, uncovered the rest of the story. Storyteller Bill asked Orrie to read the rest of the story to the group.  This is what Orrie read:

The Woof said to The Three Little Pigs, “I’ll blow off your roof, with a woof and a poof. I’ll knock down the walls with Ah Ha trick or treat!

So you’d better build strong, and do nothing wrong, or I ‘ll gobble you up, I’ll gobble you up, I’ll gobble you up for a song.”

The Three Little Pigs and Tweet built their houses. The 1st and 2nd Little Pigs were cold and not very comfortable. The 3rd Little Pig and Tweet, however, were warm and safe, because they built their house together. It was bigger and stronger.

“I’m back,” cried the Woof. “I smell pork chops in the air.” Tweet yelled, “It’s a Woof! It’s a Woof! It’s a Grandma Woof!

The 1st Little Pig said, “Go away fur ball.” The Woof answered, “No way! I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down to the last straw. So you might as well join me for breakfast.”

The 1st Little Pig answered, “Not by the hair of your chinny chin chin!” Then the Woof started huffing and puffing. The 1st Little Pig ran to the 2nd Little Pig’s house where they hid under a blanket.  Tweet saw what was happening, and flew to the 2nd Little Pig’s house calling out, “It’s  a Woof…a Woof…a Grandma Woof.

The Woof said, “You gotta be kidding—you built your house with sticks? I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your house down to the last stick.  So you might as well join me for breakfast.”

Pigs 1 and 2 answered, “Not by the hair of your chinny chin chin!” Then Pigs 1and 2, followed by Tweet, ran to the 3rd Little Pig’s house. Woof, dressed like grandma was not far behind them.  When Woof got to the house, he saw The Three Little Pigs and Tweet staring out the window, at him, all snug and safe  inside the house.

pigsWoof said, “Well this house at least has taste.  After all this huffing and puffing and woofing and poofing, I hope they taste good. I’m hungry. Trick or treat.” The Three Little Pigs and Tweet answered, “Not by the hair of your chinny chin chin!”

The Woof huffed and puffed but he couldn’t blow the house down. Just then a brick, from the house, fell on his head and knocked him out. The Three Little Pigs gathered round him trying to think of what to do. Just then, Woof sat up and said, “Where am I?  Who am I? The Pigs and Tweet answered, “Why, you are a Woof.”

The Woof asked, “What is a Woof!”

The 3rd Little Pig quickly answered, “Why you are a very special kind of a creature. You’re a vegetarian…you don’t eat meat! You just eat fruits, vegetables, grains and things made of dairy, like milk and cheese and ice cream.”

Woof answered, “Oh, I am a very hungry vegetarian with a bump on my head. Would you have something for me to eat?”

The Three Little Pigs and Tweet all answered at once. “We do; we have Halloween treats. Would you like to join us? All our treats are vegetarian.”

“Don’t mind if I do,” said the Woof.

Then the Three Little Pigs, and Tweet sat down on the ground and shared apples and nuts from their Halloween treats with Woof. Forever after that, the Woof  shared the forest with the Three Little Pigs and Tweet as their friend and neighbor.

The End!

Just as the “Can Dos” were clapping for Storyteller Bill’s version of the Three Little Pigs, and of course, for Orrie doing such a good job of reading the story, the bell rang. Time to go. The “Can Dos” wanted to know what they would do next week. Storyteller Bill smiled and said,”Hmm, how about a poem about The Three Little Pigs? And, how about we talk about how to make up a brand new story?”


The Three Little Pigs… With a Woof and a Tweet and a Trick or a Treat

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

When the “Can Do”  Kids arrived for Storytelling class, Storyteller Bill was just finishing writing on the blackboard. He turned and greeted each “Can Do: as they came into the room. As they sat down they read what he had written. It was the story of The Three Little Pigs that they had gone over the week before.

Storyteller Bill said, “Today we are going to review the story together, pick out the scary parts and talk about making some changes that make the story less scary and more fun. After we have done that, I will show you what I did with the story of The Three Little Pigs.”

For the next 45 minutes, the “Can Dos” picked out the parts that scared them in the story of  The Three Little Pigs. They talked about the wolf blowing down the house of pigs one and two. They talked about making the wolf not such a bad guy. Maybe he didn’t have to be so mean; maybe he didn’t have to try to eat The Three Little Pigs.

With only 15 minutes left in the class, Storyteller Bill stopped the “Can Dos” who were hard at work trying to rewrite the story. “Boys and girls, let me share with you how I rewrote the Three Little Pigs.”

The “Can Dos” all sat back in their seats, glad for the chance to be listening, not writing.

pigsStoryteller Bill began, “This story takes place in a forest just before Halloween.

One fine autumn day, three little pigs broke out of their pig sty. They ran from the farm. They ran into the woods. They ran beneath the open sky.

The three little pigs agreed there was no more space in that run down place; it was like living as sardines in a can. “We need room to spread. We can’t sleep three in one bed; we were squeezed together like a tin filled with Spam.”

One pig wanted to play; the other wanted to roam. The littlest one wanted a home of her own. They decided to build houses without any mice so finally they could be what they are.

The littlest pig started to build as soon as she could, for winter was not far away. The other two pigs roamed but didn’t build homes of their own. They wasted time day after day and soon it would be Halloween.

The littlest pig was fast at work when she heard…tweet…tweet…tweet. She jumped with fright, then squealed with delight when she saw it was a bird. “You can be my first friend,” she said. “I will call you Tweet.”

Tweet nodded and smiled and said, “Why I ‘d be pleased to be your friend. If there is danger about, I’ll tweet. When you are sad, I’ll sing something sweet. It’s something you do for a friend.”

woof and tweet refinedJust then the first and second little pigs passed by and seeing Tweet they began to sing, “When summer is over frost is on the clover and the pumpkins start to grow, that’s my favorite time of the year because Halloween is near. It’s time to trick or treat, you know!

We’ll put masks on our faces and visit lots of places where candy and treats are found. We’ll knock on someone’s door and see what we can score. Then we will pass the goodies around.”

Just then, who was coming down the street dressed like a grandma but Woof, and he was singing…”For food I am looking, that doesn’t need cooking. I need just a bite and a chew and a crunch. Something soft, or something fat for breakfast or dinner or lunch.”

Just then the bell rand signaling the end of the session. The Can Dos” moaned and groaned. They knew they had to leave , but the story was really getting exciting and now they would have to wait until the following week to hear how the story ended.

Storyteller Bill wished them all a  good week and encouraged them to think about possible endings for The Three Little Pigs.



Storyteller Bill & the Three Little Pigs

Thursday, September 26th, 2013

storytellerIt was the first session of  the new Storytelling program at the “Can Do” Recreation Center. The “Can Do” kids were so excited that they arrived 10 minutes early. Just as the clock  ticked to 3:30PM, a  tall man with white hair, a beard and a tall, black hat walked into the classroom. “Hi boys and girls,” he said; “I’m Storyteller Bill. I’ve been telling stories since I was your age. Why, I told stories to your parents, in this very room, when they were your age!”

Some of the “Can Dos” smiled, some looked surprised, while others looked like they just couldn’t believe what they were hearing. It was hard for them to think of their parents as ever being their age and sitting where they were sitting.  Wendy asked,” Can you teach us how to tell good stories? I want to be a writer when I grow up.”

“Why yes I  can,” answered Storyteller Bill” But before we learn to tell a brand new story, let’s practice on a story we know. The great thing about being a storyteller is that you can change how a story goes. You can take out the sad or scary parts. You can make it funny. You can use storytelling to teach a skill, or a lesson about being safe, or sharing, or all sorts of things.  You can take a story and make it into a play that you can put on in school. You can sit around a campfire and tell your story. You can use your computer to tell a story and email it to friends and family.”

By now, The “Can Dos” knew that storytelling was going to be fun.

“Let’s make the Three Little Pigs less scary and more fun,” said Storyteller Bill.”I will tell the original story, then I will share how I retell the story so it is less scary and has a happier ending. The “Can Dos” nodded . Storyteller Bill cleared his throat and began to speak.

storyteller“Once upon a time, there were three little pigs who lived with their mother in a meadow. One day their mother said, “You need to go out into the world and make your own way.” So they waved “goodbye” and went out into the world. The little pigs decided to build their houses in a meadow near the woods. The big bad wolf lived in the woods nearby. The meadow was big enough for all three houses and none of the pigs was afraid of the big bad wolf!

The first little pig was very lazy. He decided to make his house out of straw from the meadow. Sure enough, the big bad wolf trotted out to watch him build the house. When the house was finished, the big bad wolf knocked on the door and asked to come in. When the first little pig refused, the big bad wolf huffed and puffed and blew the house down.

The second little pig thought to himself, “I will be smarter. I will build my house out of twigs from the edge of the woods. That should be easy and safe.” But the big bad wolf came by and said, “You should not build a house with twigs from my woods. I will huff and puff and blow it down.” Sure enough, as soon as the house was finished, the wolf blew it down.

The first little pig and the second little pig ran to hide at the third little pig’s house. This house was made of bricks! “Oh,” they said, “you are the smartest of us all. Let us in, let us in, and we promise to buy all the food for a week.”

The wolf came by, knocked on the door, and asked to come in. “Not by the hair on our chinny, chin, chins,” said the pigs. So the wolf huffed and puffed and


The big bad wolf said to himself, “This cannot be. I will climb onto the roof, go down the chimney, and eat those pigs all up.” He went down the chimney and landed in a pot of boiling water. He ran away and never came back.

The third little pig invited the first little pig and the second little pig to stay with him in his cozy brick house. The three little pigs visited their mother every Sunday for dinner and they all lived happily ever after.

Just as Storyteller Bill finished the original version of the Three Little Pigs, the clock on the wall ticked 4:30 PM. The storytelling session was over. The “Can Dos’ didn’t want to leave, but it was time to go; besides, there was next week to look forward to when Storyteller Bill would share how he changed the Three Little Pigs.

“Goodbye Storyteller Bill;see you next week,” the “Can Dos” cried out as they left. “Goodbye to you too,” answered Storyteller Bill. “be sure to be thinking about the stories you want tell when we see each other again !”