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Activity 3: Story — The Wounded Seal (5 minutes), Session 4: In Another's Shoes

In "Moral Tales," a Tapestry of Faith program

Materials for Activity

  • A copy of the story, "The Wounded Seal"
  • A chime, a rain stick, or another calming sound instrument

Preparation for Activity

  • Read the story, "The Wounded Seal." Take note of the various places where you are guided to stop telling the story and ask the children to demonstrate a type of movement. Decide what level of movement activity you want to lead and which opportunities for participation will allow the children to be engaged with the story and not distracted from its message. You do not need to use all of the suggestions for participation. Read the story aloud a few times, practicing the suggested interactive approach. Picture the story sequence in your mind, with the movements, to help yourself commit it to memory. Taking the time to picture the story in your imagination will help you create the mood for the story and provide a sense of place for the listeners.
  • Optional: An alternate way to tell this story requires two adults. One co-leader reads or tells the story, while the other leads the children in acting out the movements and uses the sound instrument to signal for the action to start and stop.
  • Optional: If you do not think the interactive telling will work with the group, plan to tell the story in a straightforward manner. Review Alternate Activity 2, Story Hot Seat; this may be a good way for the group to process the story after they hear it.

Description of Activity

The goal of the participatory style of storytelling is to fully engage the children in the story. As the children move as the story characters would, they have a chance to "walk in the shoes of" the characters, increasing their own experience of empathy.

Wherever you use the children's participation suggestions, use the chime, rain stick, or other instrument to signal when the movement has gone on long enough and the children are to be still and listen again. While most children will probably understand this signal without explanation; you may like to explain it the first time you use it.

The degree of participation will vary from group to group. Younger children are more likely to fully participate. If some decide it is not "cool," then others are likely to hold back, too. It is worthwhile to try the activity, though, as it takes some children a while to warm up to physical participation and most children this age enjoy it greatly.

Before you begin, look around the room and make eye contact with each person. Then, tell the story.

Ring the chime (use other sound instrument) to indicate that the story is over.

Including All Participants

There are children for whom it is very difficult to sit still, even when they are paying attention to what is happening around them. This can be frustrating for teachers, as well as for the children who are expected to maintain stillness for prolonged periods of time. If you have children in the group for whom this is the case, consider adopting the use of "fidget objects" as described in Leader Resources. These fidget objects can provide a non-disruptive outlet for the need to move.

For more information contact web @ uua.org.

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Last updated on Thursday, October 27, 2011.

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