Dancing Tales/Tattling Tales Study Guide

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Prepared by Cathy Kaemmerlen, tattlingtales.com

Program Description
Through the use of movement, mime, dramatization, music, costumes, props, and audience participation, dancing bookteller, Cathy Kaemmerlen brings to visual and dramatic life children’s books, poems and songs.  This program is designed to promote reading, dramatic play, and use of the imagination for all ages.  Look forward to stories chosen from this list and adapted to the grade level’s current themes and units:  POSSUM COME A’KNOCKIN’; THE LADY WHO SWALLOWED A FLY; SLEEPING UGLY; PAMELA PURSE and others.

Artist Biography
Cathy Kaemmerlen, professional actress, dancer, and storyteller, is known for her variety of characters, one-woman shows, and for her rapport with audiences.  A performer and “creator of shows” since she can remember, she has toured in schools coast to coast, since receiving a BA in English/elementary education from UNC-Charlotte, and a MFA in dance performance/choreography/theatre at the University of Wisconsin.  She tours through Tattlingtales Productions, the Georgia and South Carolina Touring Arts Rosters, Fulton County Teaching Museums, and has received numerous grants and honors, including Outstanding New Interpreter for her region with the National Association of Interpreters. Author of four books.

Background on Art Form
Telling stories is an oral tradition, dating back to when mankind first developed a language or form of communication.  Storytelling is a universal way of passing down information to be saved and remembered for generations to come.  It is an interactive art form in which the storytellers’ passion for the story, material, and information, is passed on to the audience, who sorts through, interprets, stores, and synthesizes what is heard.

Prepare

Teachers, please read this to your students.

Today we are going to have a program by actress storyteller Cathy Kaemmerlen in which she makes stories come to life.  All her stories come from books.  Some might be familiar to us and some will be new.  Whatever the story, she acts it out or dances it out and needs lots of volunteers.  Remember to raise your hand and wait to be called on.  She can not call on everyone, but will make sure that everyone gets to participate and has lots of fun making these stories come to life.

Warm Up Questions to set the stage for engaging students

  • How does your imagination come into play when you are hearing a story or a book is read to you?
  • How do words help to make the story come to life?
  • What are some of your favorite stories and why?
  • When you hear a story you really like, what do you want to do afterwards?

Vocabulary to look at before and after

movement:  the change of position or posture
mime:  art of portraying a character or of narration by body movement usually without the use of words
costumes:  suit or dress characteristic of a person used to aid storytelling
props:  objects used to support storytelling
imagination:  creative power to form a mental image of something that’s not present to the senses
author:  writer of literary works

Warm Up Questions for meeting the Georgia Performance Standards for “Listening/Speaking/Viewing”:

  • Describe the perfect audience.
  • What are some of our class rules for being good listeners?
  • How do we show someone we appreciate their visit to our school or classroom?
  • How does being part of an audience help make you a good citizen?
  • What are some examples of bad audience behavior or attitudes?
  • How does a negative audience member effect your enjoyment of a show or performance?
  • How would this make the performer feel?
  • How do we want the performer to feel when they leave our school or classroom?

 

Reflect
-Read and discuss the books that were presented in the performance or have the students retell the stories they heard.
-Display and discuss these books and related ones and other books by the same authors.
-Ask the students to draw pictures of what they think some of the characters look like both before and after the performance.  Decorate the performing area and halls with the pictures.
-Have the children pick out any favorite book character and come dressed as one.  Ask them to try to be that character for an entire day.
-Arrange for each character to be interviewed, as on the David Letterman show
-Brainstorm about what would happen if the lady who swallowed a fly met anansi the spider, etc.
-Make up your own versions of the lady who swallowed a fly or the return of the fly or the lady.
-Discuss what makes a book a good one to act or dance out.  How is it possible for one person to be several different characters in a story?  Read a favorite story or book aloud and try to discover different voices for each character.
-Have the students pick a character from a story and think of ten adjectives to describe the character.  Suggest that they think of one action or one phrase that would best depict that character.
-What characteristics make a story popular for a long time?

RESOURCES

Hennings, Dorothy Grant.  SMILES, NODS, AND PAUSES
King, Nancy.  GIVING FORM TO FEELING
Lobel, Arnold.  FABLES
Van Laan, Nancy.  POSSUM COME A KNOCKIN’
Adams, Pam.  THE OLD LADY WHO SWALLOWED A FLY
Kellogg, Steven.  THE OLD LADY WHO SWALLOWD A FLY
Cole, Joanna.  GOLLY GUMP
Tusa, Tricia.  MIRANDA
Yolen, Jane. SLEEPING UGLY
De Regniers, Beatrice Schenck.  WHAT DID I PUT IN MY POCKET?
Bryant, Ashley.  THE DANCING GRANNY
Silverstein, Shel. A LIGHT IN THE ATTIC
Westcott, Nadine. THE LADY WITH THE ALLIGATOR PURSE

QCCs
Grades K-5 Language Arts: 2;  Kindergarten Language Arts:  4, 6; Grade 2 Language Arts:  46; Grades 3 and 4 Language Arts: 45; Grade 5 Language Arts:  51