Storytime in the Schoolhouse

Story: The Cranky Chicken Story

Each week we hear a new story during Storytime and the types of stories we tell follow a rhythm. This week’s story is one of our pedagogical tales, or teaching tales; we hear these types of stories during the second week of each month. Pedagogical tales are intended to support children with difficult changes and transitions as well as to encourage specific behaviors or habits. We have told transition stories of moving, starting school, and divorce. We also share stories focused on positive behaviors and habits. We ask our members for ways they could use support through story and we plan our stories accordingly. We are building a bank of pedagogical tales to help support families in handling challenging transitions, changes, or behaviors.

The pedagogical tale we hear this week is about a young chicken who loves to show off her strength by pecking and scratching
everything around the farm, including her friends.

I’m a cranky chicken and I want you to see
My strong beak is the best part of me.


Cranky Chicken’s friends didn’t like playing with her and often went the other way when she came around. This made Cranky Chicken sad! She wanted to have friends and didn’t understand why her friends didn’t appreciate her strength as much as she did.

One day the cow was stuck in briars and thorns in the pasture and couldn’t get out–the thorns digging deeper into her skin as she tried. Cranky Chicken saw her and went to help. She pushed by the briars so the cow could get out and then used her strong, sharp
beak to remove the thorns from the cow’s back.

Cranky Chicken realized that she could use her strength in helpful ways instead of in hurtful ways.



Each Storytime begins with seasonal songs and poems. Each month we have a new circle time. We learn the poems and songs slowly, building week by week. We include a poem in ASL (American Sign Language) and a fingerplay each circle time. This week we learn the next part of our “Spring is coming!” song.

Spring is coming! Spring is coming!
Flowers are coming, too.
Pansies, lilies, daffodil-ies,
All are poking through!

On Mondays we practice a breathing exercise. This month we are learning “Rainbow Breathing.” These exercises are intended to introduce children to mindfulness and deep breathing in an age-appropriate manner.


Ms. Becca spends the second half of Storytime telling us the story of The Cranky Chicken.

Story fairies, come and bring,
Stories clear and true.

Story fairies, come and bring,
Stories to our story ring.



We are back in the schoolhouse on a chilly Tuesday spring morning.

Storytime begins with circletime! We learn the signs for one poem as a part of each month’s circle time. This month’s poem is a long one. This week we practice the first two stanzas.
One fair morning in early spring
I hear in my garden a wee little sing
I quietly lay down about the ground
And carefully looked all around.

Oh me. Oh my. What do I see?
A kingdom of fairies with wings that glisten.
I stayed so quiet, my ears did listen.
The fairies were dancing in a ring
And singing a song like bells might sing.

Today we not only sing songs and hear a story but we also go on a craft visit! During the second and fourth Tuesday of each month, we have a Craft Visit with Ms. Rae. Ms. Rae shows us a nature-based, seasonal craft that you can easily reproduce at home with your children. We provide you with a materials list and instructions in addition to the video. All of our past craft visits are available for Storytime members who want to add even more crafting to their days.

During today’s craft visit, we learn how to make a wet-felted nest. It was a joy to see all the lovely nests our members made after going on this craft visit.

After the craft visit, we return to the schoolhouse for the story of The Cranky Chicken again. We hear one story each week, repeating the story Monday through Friday. Repetition is beneficial for young children and repeating stories is one way to help lay the foundation for later reading and writing. Because we repeat our stories for a full week, we choose them with care and attention.
We encourage parents not to explicitly state “the lesson” of each pedagogical tale but to let the repetition do the magic itself. In the repetition, the child gets to know the characters and the story deeply. It is then that the deeper meaning can be absorbed and understood.


We begin Storytime this beautiful and sunny morning outside on Ms. Becca’s porch. Artemis the cat jumps in Ms. Becca’s lap today as we recite our ASL poem. Birds chirp and you can hear the farmer’s equipment in the background as we sing our songs. You never know who will come to visit during our outside Storytimes.

Tirra, lirra lirra, in the spring
Orioles and robins sweetly sing
From the leafy branches you may hear
Tirra lirra lirra, spring is here!


Today and every Wednesday we are outside for Storytime and go on a field trip. Our field trips take us to visit community members as well as places in nature. On today’s field trip, we visit one of our Storytime families, meet their chickens, and see how they care for their chickens and coop.

The last part of Storytime is back on Ms. Becca’s porch for the story of the Cranky Chicken.



Thursdays we are back in the schoolhouse for Storytime and…a puppet show! Every Thursday and Friday we have a puppet show during our storytelling time.

Storytime has a predictable and consistent rhythm (flow) each day and week. We start and end each day the same way and each day follows the same rhythm. Children thrive with a predictable and consistent rhythm. We hope Storytime can be the foundation of your mornings together.

Today and tomorrow we will see a puppet show of The Cranky Chicken story. Our team makes 90% of our puppet show materials and aim to use only natural materials. Our simple puppet shows are intentional. Don’t be surprised if your child starts putting on puppet shows for you!


This is our last day to hear The Cranky Chicken story. Each new week of Storytime brings a new story and field trip as well as new verses to our songs and poems. We have one last day to practice these verses before adding additional ones next week.

Are you learning the words to the songs and poems? With repetition and practice, even the youngest children will begin copying the words and motions. It will be far from perfect but that’s okay! Let your child join Ms. Becca when they are able. You can encourage them to model the motions. Sit and watch with your child–and sing and move with us!

Storytime also follows a monthly rhythm. The first week of Storytime we hear a Grandpa Ivy tale, the second week a pedagogical or teaching tale, and the third and fourth week a nature tale or folk tale. If you have enjoyed this week of Storytime, please check out the other seasons we have available.


Storytime in the Schoolhouse

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