Thank you to my readers, subscribers, friends and family for your interest and encouragement over the past two years. This newsletter about stories and storytelling has been a joy for me to publish, and I hope you have found something useful in each issue. The process has taken a certain amount of discipline for me to put my thoughts, experiences and ideas into writing, particularly since I seem to enjoy saying what I think a bit more than taking the time to share those thoughts in written form. It is for this very reason, I want to let you know how much I appreciate you being there and giving me a reason to stay on task.
I am considering a change in the format of my newsletter in 2011. If you are like me, you may have found that with so much information sent over the Internet, there is seldom enough time to read lengthy messages. There are occasions when I put large emails aside, thinking I will read them later. Sometimes I find the time to do this, but often I do not. I hope the New Year will inspire me to provide you with my information in a more brief and user-friendly way. Please “stay tuned.”

I want to take this opportunity to send best wishes your way as we enter this holiday season. I hope the New Year brings you and yours joy, prosperity and good health.

Story Background and Educational Connections 
“The Tailor and His Coat” gives teachers opportunities to explore MATH, GEOGRAPHY, SOCIAL STUDIES, VISUAL ART, RECYCLING, SPEAKING and WRITING connections with students. It is one of the best stories I have found for K through 8 classroom use, since it can be easily adjusted to different levels of learning.
I first saw this story in a picture book at the library in the early 80s.  Since then, I have encountered many different titles and variations of the tale. The origin of this story seems to be a Yiddish folksong first translated into English by Nancy Schimmel, who shares in her book, Just Enough to Make a Story (Sisters’ Choice Books, 1978), how she developed her story from the folk song. Several years ago, I found the tale again under the title, “The Old Coat,” in Stories to Play With by Hiroko Fujita (August House Publishers, 1999). I was enchanted with her suggested use of a prop in the telling of the tale.
After using Hiroko Fujita’s instructions on how to make the prop, I discovered that the story and prop are ideal for teachers wishing to reinforce MATH concepts (sequential learning and fractions) in the classroom. To make the prop, simply draw the coat on one side of the paper and continue to fold the paper in half for each subsequent item (jacket, vest, hat, bow tie and button). The final section is, of course, left blank for “the story.”  
Reverse side of story prop
By mentioning Russia as the setting for the story, students are primed to find out about GEOGRAPHY and SOCIAL STUDIES when that country is being studied in the classroom.
A connection to RECYCLING is easily introduced through this story about the tailor, and I have used this tale to encourage kids to make their own prop (VISUAL ART and MATH) starting with some other object (car, wedding dress, building, fur coat, etc.) to create a new story of their own. I am constantly amazed by the way students eagerly explore recycling possibilities from the material remaining after an object is no longer usable.
When I work in schools, “The Tailor and His Coat” is a great way to encourage public SPEAKING skills. It is impossible for youngsters to forget how the story progresses, since they can see the next smallest item on the back of the prop before showing it to the audience as the story progresses. This works for every age group, and is a useful tool for students who are reluctant to speak in front of a group. When using this prop, students tend to focus on the story, thereby making the experience  positive.
 Glenda watches a young storyteller at work
Finally, when youngsters are encouraged to create a story from a different point of view using the “bones” of this tale, they must call upon their imaginations and use WRITING skills to record what they have created. This exercise provides students with the added benefit of using new vocabulary words as they record and share their stories.

Whether you are a teacher, librarian or storyteller, I believe you will enjoy working with the tailor story and this prop. From experience, I know how well the tale appeals to a wide age-range of listeners. I have found that older students do not embrace the use of constant repetition with the same enthusiasm as K through 4th graders. As a result, I simply change the repetitive pattern a bit when I present this story to students older than 11 years of age.

Suggested Books
The following books will be helpful if you are interested in learning more about using this story in the classroom.
Hiroko Fujita (Adapted & Edited by Fran Stallings).Stories to Play With: Kids’ Tales Told with Puppets, Paper, Toys, and Imagination. ISBN 0-87483553-4. August House Publishers, Little Rock, AR, 1999.
 Margaret Read MacDonald. Three Minute Tales: Stories From Around the World to Tell or Read When Time is Short. ISBN 0-87483-728-6. August House Publishers, Little Rock, AR, 2004.
Nancy Schimmel.  Just Enough to Make a Story.ISBN 0-932164-03-X. Sisters’ Choice Books and Recordings, Berkeley, CA, 1978.

A Story to Tell: The Tailor and His Coat
Long ago in Russia, there was a poor tailor who spent his life making fine garments for others. He seldom had the time or energy to make new clothes for himself. One day, he noticed his old coat had to be replaced because it was all worn out. He took a bolt of good fabric and made himself a brand new coat.
 Glenda holding front of prop
He wore that coat, and wore that coat, and wore that coat until – like the coat before it – it was as all worn out. He liked the coat, so instead of throwing it away, he took it apart to make a jacket. He was able to wear that jacket even more than he had worn the coat. He wore it, and wore it and wore it until it was all worn out.
Jacket illustration
The tailor looked at the jacket and decided he could make something else with what was left. So, he took the jacket apart and made a fine vest. He wore that vest every day. He wore it, and wore it and wore it until it was all worn out.
Vest illustration
When he examined the worn out vest, he saw that he could still make something from what was left. He took the vest apart and made a cap to keep his head warm. He liked the way he looked in that cap, so he wore it often. He wore it and wore it and wore it until, like everything he had made before, it was all worn out.
 Cap illustration
When he took the cap apart, he discovered he had just enough to make a bow tie. He never had a bow tie before – he considered them to be sort of silly. But when he put on that tie, he thought he looked handsome in it, so he wore it and wore it and wore it until it was all worn out.
Bow tie illustration
He was about to throw the worn out tie away when he took a look at what was left. He saw he had enough to make a nice cloth button. He sewed that button on his trousers to hold his suspenders. The tailor wore that button, and wore it and wore it until it was all worn out.
Button illustration
As he turned the worn out button over in his hand, he was surprised to see he had enough left to make. . . .
(NOTE: Let the audience members guess, and then tell them the answer.)
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The very story I just told to you, and a story I hope you like enough to share with someone else.