“Follow Me” – Making a New Story (Part 2)

[See “Follow Me” – Making a New Story (Part 1) here. We’ve now used this story two weeks in a row. The class of younger children heard the story yesterday (January 22, 2012). I also had the fortitude to put camera and story together to finish taking the pictures necessary for this post!]

My long-suffering husband returned the cut out wooden figures the very next day. I sanded them down (it’s an excellent time to catch up on TV with absolutely no redeeming value whatsoever).

My next step is to oil them. In the beginning, we always used linseed oil, which is terribly messy and smelly. I read somewhere that it’s not good for children – or maybe it was all the warnings on the can – but since then I use this food grade beeswax polish that I found from Nova Natural. I usually put the wax on and leave it overnight. The next day I will buff them with a soft cloth. (That old towel is pretty scary looking when I see the pictures….)

I went to our neighboring big town to the Foam and Fabric store, and I bought the felt. When I got home, I procrastinated as much as possible because I cannot stand cutting out felt. It involves math and straight lines, and I’m not very good at either. This particular underlay also required sewing – a skill I have – as well as curves. I’m not great at making curves come out even, but I decided the Sea of Galilee is also not completely even, either.

And, at this point, I have enough to tell the story! I wasn’t even the storyteller on deck for this particular story, so I left it at church in our Sunday School class. It is nice, because our younger class will be able to use it on January 22, 2012, so we’re getting our money’s worth out of it this semester.

I have two final steps. I always include a small laminated inventory card in each basket. Many times I’ve sat down and begun telling the story when I realize that I didn’t get water in a pitcher for the Baptism story, or that I left the Mount Sinai on the shelf. The inventory cards help me remember the pieces that are stored separately. They are also invaluable when we straighten up the classrooms over the summer. When you count up all the manipulatives that could possibly be in a classroom, this is an important step! I have a form on my computer and type up the contents and print it on card stock. I have a little HeatSeal laminator that takes just a moment to use.

The final step is to find four baskets for the figures. I used to pooh-pooh this step, but I now feel it’s invaluable to separate out the figures so that the storyteller does not have to decide which figure is which (or worse, upend each figure to read a name written on the bottom!). If they are not separated out, we find ourselves staring at a figure trying to decide which character we’re holding. A little organization – or preparing the environment for the storyteller – goes a long way! I used little baskets I found in my supplies, so of course none of them match.

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