Here we are, the middle of March. It’s that time of year again, when Giraffe begins the process for the Giraffe National Storytelling Contest.
For the past 4 years that I’ve been involved, it has been amazing. I’ve discovered that there are a lot of kids, not only at our location, but all over Taiwan, who really can speak English. I am proud that I have had a small part in our students being able to compete at the national level.
From what I understand, the ‘theme’ for this year is ‘proverbs’. That is, a story with a meaning. You know the type – “The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf”… that kind of thing.
I was a bit daunted when Janice asked me to look through the stories that the teachers had submitted as suggestions. She placed in front me, two huge piles of books and papers of stories that the teachers were suggesting! My only thought – O – M – G!
Much like an editor in a publishing company, or at least the images I have, I began sifting through the first pile. Quickly glancing over the story, trying to figure out what the ‘meaning’ or ‘moral’ of the story was. If I got something, it went in one pile. If it was just a story, the ‘discard’ pile.
I wasn’t too concerned about how long or short the story was. Over the next few weeks, these stories will be edited to accommodate the time constraints of the contest.
Halfway through pile number 1, Janice asked about some stories that Giraffe corporate has at the moment. I’ve been teaching some of the classes a couple of these stories, and have actually memorized some of them now.
I don’t know who wrote some of these stories, however, there is a page that was sent to the schools, giving a brief of the stories, as well as the ‘meaning’ of the story.
After a bit of discussion, and based on last years’ placing, Janice decided she wanted to go with these stories. There would be no ‘confusion’ on the judges’ parts, the students are already learning the stories, and all we had to do was basically decide which level would learn which story.
So, here they are for your reading enjoyment. As most of my students at Giraffe don’t read my blog, and it is HIGHLY unlikely that ANYONE else across Taiwan even knows of my blog, sharing these stories are more for my friends and family back in Canada. Please note, not that it really matters to you, the reader, a couple of these stories have been edited down to the required time limit.
Kindergarten Level – A Missing Shoe
Ashley walks on the street. She sees a shoe with a red shoelace.
“Someone needs this shoe,” she says to herself.
Ashley meets Mr. Snake. He says it is his shoe. Ashley thinks for a while, and she shakes her head.
“This is not your shoe. You don’t even have a foot to wear it.”
Ashley meets Mrs. Caterpillar. She says it is her shoe. Ashley thinks for a while, and she shakes her head.
“This is not your shoe. You have too many feet. You have no time to tie the shoelaces.”
Ashley meets Miss Ant. She says it is her shoe. Ashley thinks for a while, and she shakes her head.
“This is not your shoe. Your feet are too small. This shoe is too big for you.”
Ashley feels sad.
“Someone needs this shoe, but I don’t know who,” she says to herself.
“Hey, thank you very much,” someone says.
“What?” Ashley looks around.
“Thank you for the shoe,” Mr. Bird says.
Ashley thinks for a while, and she smiles.
“Someone needs this shoe, and I know who,” she says to herself.
Grades 1 and 2 – Saturday
Poor Nick is sick in bed.
He feels hot, and his face is red.
What is this? A red pen?
It’s time to get out of the den.
Nick can’t eat without his fork.
He will only eat beef and pork.
Nick won’t leave without his cap.
Could it be under this map?
Off to school the brothers go.
But why is Nick oh so slow?
Nick trips and hurts his toe.
Back home is the place to go.
Now, Nick has a lot of fear.
Both of his grandparents are here.
“Don’t worry,” they tell his mom.
“We will take good care of Tom.”
Tom and Nick are not the same.
Tom is simply not my name.
“Why don’t we clean up the mess?”
“Then we can play a game of chess.”
Is that a rap at the door?
Nick sneaks across the floor.
Won’t the salesman come and play?
“No, no, I just can’t stay.”
“I will go and plant some seeds.”
“You can help me pull the weeds.”
But grandpa, can’t I sit and rest?
“I guess that would be the best.
“Wash the dishes in the sink.”
“And fetch me a nice cold drink.”
But grandma, I can’t stand up long.
“All right, then sing me a song.”
The next day, when the skies are grey.
Nick is up on a Saturday!
Today I feel like such a fool.
When I’m all ready and set for school.
Grades 3 and 4 – Voices in the Dark
A painter named Joe had been famous for his paintings. He was good at painting natural scenes, such as mountains, lakes, and trees.
One day, a woman asks him, “Can you paint a cat for my daughter? She wants a beautiful painting of a cat hung on the wall of her room.”
“Sure,” Joe answers.
Another woman asks him, “Can you paint a rooster for my son? It’s my son’s favourite animal.”
“Of course,” Joe says.
Many people ask Joe to paint pictures of other things.
Joe starts to paint a cat. He tries very hard, but it is not as good as his nature paintings. He stops painting and goes to bed. The cat in his picture has no whiskers. It hasn’t been finished.
The next day, Joe tries to paint a rooster. However, he cannot paint a perfect rooster.
He feels tired and goes to bed early. The rooster in his picture has no cockscomb. It hasn’t been finished, either.
Joe paints a lot of pictures, but nothing is ever finished completely. He feels frustrated. He starts to paint a train, a doll, and a cake. But the results are…
a train without wheels;
a doll without beautiful clothes;
a cake without frosting.
Joe doesn’t finish a thing before going to bed.
Joe starts to hear voices in his sleep. It sounds like people talking to each other. All those things Joe painted come alive during the night. They complain about what they are missing.
The cat says, “I can’t catch mice because I can’t sense them without whiskers.”
The rooster yells, “I can’t go cock-a-doodle-doo because I don’t have a cockscomb.”
The trains asks, “How can I move without wheels?”
The dolls cries, “I am sad because I am not beautiful.”
The cake says, “People don’t want me if I’m not delicious.”
One night, the painter is awakened by their voices. He hears what they are saying. He feels sorry about his attitude to work. “I need to finish all the paintings that I haven’t finished yet,” says the painter.
He paints whiskers for the cat, a cockscomb for the rooster, wheels for the train, a beautiful dress for the doll, and frosting for the cake.
The cat is excited because he can catch mice.
The rooster is cheerful because he can wake up people early in the morning.
The train is amazed because it can move as fast as it wishes.
The doll is pleased because she is now the prettiest doll in the shop.
The cake is happy because many people want it.
The painter knows that all of them can do all their jobs with joy, and he feels happy as well. After that, he understands that he should finish each painting before starting another, or else he might not finish any.
Grades 5 and 6 – Hank
Hank was ten years old.
He went to school in the morning, studied at school, and went home in the evening. He did nothing different from other children. However, he had few friends at school. He usually went to school alone and played by himself.
Some of his classmates didn’t like to be with him. All the children sat in pairs in the classroom, but no one sat next to Hank. During the break, everyone went outdoors chatting, laughing, and playing. Hank, however, usually stayed in the classroom taking a nap at his desk.
Hank’s classmates often talked about him – his clothes, shoes, and behaviour.
“He is the odd one out at school,” one of his classmates said.
“His clothes are always dirty,” another kid added.
“Yes, and he always smells bad,” another kid said with a laugh.
Jack, the only classmate willing to talk with Hank, was always on Hank’s side. He said, “Hank is nice and smart. You guys just don’t understand him.”
Hank’s grades were pretty good. He was especially good at math. “He always helps me with my math homework,” said Jack.
Hank’s homeroom teacher noticed that Hank was not popular. She knew Jack was the only one that got along with Hank. One day, she asked Jack about Hank. However, Jack wouldn’t say anything.
Hank had a secret, and he only told Jack about it. Hank’s parents had passed away when he was five. He lived with his grandparents, who sold vegetables and fish at the market early in the morning. Hank helped his grandparents before going to school.
One day, Hank’s teacher saw him on the way to school. Hank was going to the market. She followed him. She was surprised at what she saw. Hank was selling vegetables to a woman.
One Sunday, Hank’s classmate, Janet, was with her parents. She saw Hank near the park. Hank didn’t notice her because he was helping his grandparents. Janet followed Hank to the market and saw everything.
The next day, Janet told Jack about what she saw.
“He leads a difficult life,” said Janet. “That’s why his clothes are usually dirty and bad-smelling.”
“That’s why he needs to take short naps during the breaks,” said Jack.
Hank’s classmates learned more about him and started to talk with him. Some kids invited him to play during the breaks. Hank felt so happy, he helped those who had difficulty learning math.
Hank’s classmates now sometimes help Hank and his grandparents early in the morning. Hank can now go home and change clothes before school.
Hank’s teacher is pleased that Hank has become more popular. She also notices that Hank is much happier. Now, Hank has a lot of friends who study and play with him and always stand on his side.
I have my own opinions on who will be able to perform these stories, however, I am obviously NOT the only person who makes that determination. And besides, in a couple of weeks, the students will be competing at the school level, to see who will represent us at the regionals. I’ve been surprised a couple of times in the past, so you never know…
I wish all the students who are competing, the best of luck. Have fun with the stories, and let’s bring home four 1st Place trophies this year!
That’s it, that’s all… for now!