HOLIDAY TALES STUDY GUIDE
by Cathy Kaemmerlen
Pick the holiday: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukah, Valentine’s, St. Patrick’s, Easter, Mother’s Day. . . and look forward to hearing stories and poems from the season. For Christmas/Hanukah you might hear: “Granny Glittens and Her Amazing Mittens: a story you will not believe”, about a granny who knits amazing, edible mittens for holiday presents; “Giant Grummer’s Christmas,” about a limburger cheese eating giant from Germany who threatens to ruin Christmas; “When Father Carves the Duck,” a poem about a tense moment at the holiday dinner table; “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” done with actions rather than words; “Mr. Edwards Meets Santa Claus” from LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE about a Christmas for the Ingalls that almost never was; “Borrowed Potato Latkes”and many others chosen from a wide repertory of stories with lots of audience participation. And these are just the options for the winter holidays.
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. She is the author of four non-fiction 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.
Teachers, please read this to your students.
Today we are going to have a program by actress storyteller Cathy Kaemmerlen in which she tells stories from the season to help us get ready to celebrate. Families all have special things they do during the holidays, unique traditions, and Ms. Kaemmerlen shares some stories about how different families and people prepare for a special holiday. She might ask for help. Just raise your hand and she’ll call on some of you. You all can’t be picked, but there are stories that need everyone’s help.
Warm Up Questions to set the stage for engaging students:
How does your family prepare for this holiday?
What do you look forward to doing this holiday?
What sort of traditions do you celebrate during this time?
What makes this holiday so special to you?
How do stories and songs help us to celebrate the holidays?
What do you think makes a tradition?
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 appreciater 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?
-Read some holiday tales from around the world, and compare family traditions around the world
-Discuss traditions from your family at holiday time
-Get you family to help you make a picture book (photos from holidays past) to share with your class
-Get family members to tell holiday stories about holidays from their childhood. Record them and share with the class. Invite some parents, grandparents, members of the community to share their different memories and traditions
-Make a holiday memory quilt, with each student contributing a personal story represented on their square
THE TALL BOOK OF CHRISTMAS, selected by Dorothy Hall Smith, Western Publishing
JEST ‘FORE CHRISTMAS by Eugene Field
THE FAMILY READ ALOUD CHRISTMAS TREASURY, selected by Alice Low
THE POLAR EXPRESS by Chris Van Allsburg
MERRY CHRISTMAS, AMELIA BEDELIA by Peggy Parish
CHRISTMAS TREASURY, selected by Stephanie Nettell
THE LITTLE FIR TREE by Margaret Wise Brown
STAR MOTHER’S YOUNGEST CHILD by Louise Moeri
JOY TO THE WORLD: CHRISTMAS STORIES FROM AROUND THE WORLD by Saviour Pirotta
CHILDREN JUST LIKE ME: CELEBRATIONS! by Barnabas and Anaebel Kindersley, UNICEF publications
FESTIVALS TOGETHER: a guide to multi-cultural celebration by Sue Fitzjohn
QCC’s: Language Arts, K-5: 2, 46: Grade 5 Literature: 51; Character Education: 7, Citizenship