Remembering The Classics Study Guide

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prepared by Cathy Kaemmerlen

Program Description

REMEMBERING THE CLASSICS is all about presenting classic stories from children’s literature, folk and fairy tales.  Stories will be chosen appropriately for each grade level or for a reading festival, and brought to life through costumes, props, characterization, and audience participation.  Stories include, but are not limited to:  THE LITTLE RED HEN, THE GOLDEN GOOSE, THE BURNT FACE GIRL, SLEEPING UGLY, ISSUN BOSHI, THE BOY WHO DREW CATS, PAMELA PURSE, PING, HOMER PRICE AND THE DONUT MACHINE, THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF, GINGERBREAD BOY, MILLIONS OF CATS, FERDINAND THE BULL, THE LADY WHO SWALLOWED A FLY, THE GREEN GOURD.

Artist Bio

Cathy Kaemmerlen, author, actress, historical interpreter, playwright, and storyteller, is known for her variety of characters, one-woman shows, and for bringing history to life.  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 some 20 current shows which she wrote, through the Georgia and South Carolina Touring Arts Rosters, Fulton County Teaching Museums, G.E.T. Programs in the Schools, and through her own production company, Tattlingtales Productions. She is the author of four books and many plays, including one commissioned by the DeKalb Historical Society. Most recently she was commissioned by the Plains Chautauqua Society to write and appear in the one-woman show:  The Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail.

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 is going to bring to life some classic stories from children’s books.  She might choose a fairy tale or folk tale too.  She loves to make stories come to life through acting out the stories and often needs helpers. (For younger audiences: If she asks for help, please remember to raise your hand and wait to be called on.  Not everyone can be chosen, but everyone will participate in the telling of the stories.) She is going to present three stories she considers classics.

Warm Up Questions to set the stage for engaging students:

.What makes a story a classic?
.Can you think of some classic stories?
.What is the difference between a folk tale and a fairy tale?
.What are some ways to make a story come to life?
.What stories would you choose to put in a show?

Vocabulary to look at before and after:

Oral tradition:  stories that have been passed down to us by word of mouth
Folktale:  stories handed down by people and cultures
Fairytale:  magical tales created often from folktales
Classical literature: literature that has withstood the passage of time and is still well read

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?


.Talk about what makes a story a classic.  What are the characteristics that make a good story a good story for a long time?
.Name some classic stories.  Find some in the library and have a class “classical literature day.” Bring in your favorite pillow or situpon and share books.
.Rediscover some of the classic authors like:  Virginia Lee Burton, Margaret Wise Brown, Marjorie Williams, Munroe Leaf, Arnold Lobel, Hans Christian Andersen, the Grimm Brothers, Rudyard Kipling, Lewis Carroll, Charles Perrault, Joseph Jacobs .  Make your own list of classical children’s authors and discuss why you put them on the list.
.Pick a classic folktale like the THREE BILLY GOATS GRUFF and tell it in your own version.



QCC’s:  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