Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A Summer of Stories

This summer's theme: Simplicity. 
I've been so inspired by the book, Simplicity Parenting, that I've lent it out to several friends over the past year. It promotes the Waldorf Method, but adapted from the classroom to the home. Then last fall, I was speaking with a woman at Panera on a Saturday morning who I deeply connected with, even though I had just met her.  She had been a Waldorf kindergarten teacher for many years.  And I knew there was something in this program that I deeply desired for my family: the freedom to walk to a slower rhythm, to dance in creativity and immerse my children's childhoods in story and music, art and beauty--Spirit
 One of the ways we're doing this over the summer is by concentrating on a fairytale each week.  It's called "Hands On Literacy," and you can find more information about it from this wonderful blog, Fairy Dust Teaching.
Each week, we'll be:
-Telling the story orally
-Telling the story using 3-D figures several times, then having the kids tell it
-Reading various book versions of the story
-Drawing a Storytelling Pathway in sidewalk chalk to help the kids retell the story
-Doing Reader's Theatre and acting it out

I'm using a lot of this brilliant woman's classroom ideas, and adding some of my own.  This week (I couldn't wait till summer), our fairytale is The Elves and the Shoemaker.
We're doing some finger knitting, shoe tying (Lorelei), and sewing (something we did this week in Gryffy's Vision Therapy class for fine motor skills, encouraging his 'alligator grasp').  Here's one of our projects: Lorelei stitched a shoe, Gryffin stitched Davy Jones. Surprised?
 Lorelei practiced drawing elves--I took her step by step, just like on the blog I'd mentioned.
 I love that I gave her the same directions for both elves, and they turned out completely unique!
 Today's project was to create little wood figures of the shoemaker's wife, the shoemaker, a customer buying shoes, and the elves (before and after they receive their beautiful new clothes). Lorelei dictated how all of these were made today, as I wielded the glue gun.  Aren't they darling?  We've played with them over and over to tell the story.
 Fully engaged.  Spirit is stirring.

 I typed a paraphrased version of the story and tucked it into a bag with the figures and props to use over and over again (how fun bedtimes will be this summer!).  Here it is:

The Shoemaker & the Elves

A SHOEMAKER was very poor, so poor that all he had was enough leather to make ONE last pair of shoes.  “Tonight,” he said to his WIFE, “I will cut a pattern, and first thing in the morning I will sew the shoes.”

When the SHOEMAKER woke up, he couldn’t believe his eyes: there was a pair of the most wonderful shoes sitting on the table in his workshop, not a stitch out of place.  A CUSTOMER came in and immediately wanted to buy them for double the price!  The SHOEMAKER and his WIFE danced for joy—there would be food on their table that night!

With the money, the SHOEMAKER bought enough leather to make TWO more pairs of shoes.  Again, he cut the patterns, left them on his workshop table, and went to bed.  

 When he awoke in the morning, there were two more pairs of the most wonderful shoes, not a stitch out of place, that fetched double the price!

 With that money, the SHOEMAKER bought enough leather to make FOUR more pairs of shoes.  Once more he cut the patterns, left them on his workshop table, and in the morning found four more pairs of shoes, not a stitch out of place!

On and on it went, as news of the SHOEMAKER’S famous shoes made the SHOEMAKER and his WIFE rich enough that they would never have to worry about being poor again. 
“I don’t understand it,” said the SHOEMAKER to his WIFE.  “These shoes… where do they come from?” to which his WIFE said, “Tonight, let’s find out!”

That evening, the SHOEMAKER and his WIFE didn’t go to bed.  Instead, they cut the shoe patterns into the leather and left them on the table as usual, and then hid, curious to discover just who had been making all those wonderful shoes!  To their surprise, two little ELVES in raggedy clothes sneaked in through the window and went straight to work.  All night long the ELVES sewed and hammered, stretched and shined those shoes until not a stitch was out of place, and sneaked back out the window in the morning.

“We must do something to thank them!” said the SHOEMAKER, to which his WIFE exclaimed, “I have an idea!”  And all that day they cut and sewed, knitted and fitted clothes of the most wonderful fabrics and yarns, not a stitch out of place, and left them for the ELVES on the workshop table.
 The ELVES sneaked in through the window as usual that night, and when they discovered the clothes made so carefully by the SHOEMAKER and his WIFE, in just their wee sizes, they put them on and danced for joy.  On and on they danced out the window, through the streets, and out of the village, never to be seen again. 

Indeed, it would be the last night the SHOEMAKER and his WIFE ever saw the ELVES, but what the ELVES had done for THEM, and what THEY had done for the ELVES, would never be forgotten.  And so, feeling even more blessed for what they had given than for all the shoes they had received, the SHOEMAKER and his WIFE lived Happily Ever After.

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