School Programs

JONATHAN KRUK ENTERTAINS, EDUCATES, AND ENCHANTS

Dear Educators:

Once upon a time we taught children through oral tradition.  Now studies prove children who actively listen to stories expand their imaginations, becoming better thinkers, readers, and writers.  Storytelling, especially by a master of the art, provides an ideal way to educate children.  

Programs tailor-made for Catholic Schools.  

Children are engaged with their hands, faces, and voices as they learn and listen. 

Make learning fun with folk and fairy tales, New York lore, and more. 

Shakespeare, Renaissance, History and Mythology.  

ADNY & Catholic Schools

Programs tailor-made for Catholic Schools.  From Pre-K to high school, these programs fulfill educational requirements while making learning fun.  

Enhance your educational programming with a fun way to teach lesson requirements.  

Here’s how to book a program.  Choose a topic for an assembly with two grades. Schedule three or four one-hour  performances / workshops.  This includes time for storytelling, discussion, launching a follow-up activity, and my “recovery time” in-between presentations. 

Each performance/workshop enchants students with two to four interactive stories.  We pause to predict outcomes and to share favorite moments with turns and talks.  During in-person shows, some children may come on stage to help act out parts of stories. Your students will get started on a writing-based follow-up activity, you may complete with your class. 

Students learn a “Take Home Tale” to share with their families. 

Programs

“Three” makes story magic for young children.  They’ll get to help tell each of these classics with their hands, faces, and voices.

Engaged three ways, they learn to listen.  They’ll better comprehend by retelling or re-enacting their favorite parts.  

The children get help drawing three big moments of the Bears, Billie Goats, or Pigs!

Children turn their hands into animal characters to follow along with “The Sunny-Time Bunny,” an adventure based on a Margaret Wise Brown book. ”

Next, they help a little girl guess what animal could be the “purrfect’ pet. Sound effects and gestures help them identify animals and follow the tale.

We discover too how to stop losing things with “Little Bear’s Dancing Pants.”  

They’ll draw a picture of their favorite part of each story to make a “Take Home Tale” to share with their families. 

Ever since children have asked why, there have been stories made up to answer, especially in Spanish-speaking countries. 

Your students will listen to two or three “Porques?” or “Why?” Tales.  Why is the Sky so Far?  Why Do Dogs Bark and Cats Meow?

Why Does Spider Have Crooked Legs? Why is Rabbit on the Moon? Why Does Rhino Have Rough Skin? What will your Why tale be?

Let folklore teach students about varied cultures. A country’s lore reveals its geography, animals, plants, people, and values. 

They’ll be rapt by tales from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.  Ask for a tale from a country, or culture in your curriculum. 

What would you be a Tory or Rebel? Do you want “mob rule?”  Would you call “no taxation without representation? 

Students listen to points of view on the American Revolution. They vicariously experience what happened when the

Declaration of Independence was read in Manhattan.  Rebels “tore down King George” on the Bowling Green!  

These historic fiction tales move students to write a letter stating their take on reveling against the king! 

The fight for American Independence took more than rich white men to win.  Women took on dangers during the struggle. 

They’ll meet the New York teen who outrode Paul Revere.  We do a story skit showing how “Molly Pitchers” could fire a cannon. 

The final tale reveals the mystery of who was Deborah Sampson. 

Students retell in a letter to one of these brave revolutionary women.

Students get the stories of what George Washington did to become the “father of our country.” 

He lost his temper in Harlem, was surprised attacked on Christmas, inoculated his soldiers in a pandemic,

and made a spectacle of himself to prevent a military coup.  Remarkable tales!  

Students will write a letter sharing what they felt was Washington’s finest moment. 

Many movies your students will know came from fairy tales.  They will listen to the original story, then compare it to the movie. 

Tales may include; Maleficent (Sleepy Beauty )Snow White, The Little Mermaid, The Snow Queen (Frozen) Beauty and the Beast,

Repunzel, (Tangled)  The Puss in Boots, Beauty, and the Beast They will learn to write a review of the fairy tale and film. 

Egypt, Greek, or Norse?  Your storyteller becomes a robed visiting bard to enchant students with gripping myths. 

They’ll discover Ra the Sun god, thundering Zeus, Odin the one-eyed wise, and the pantheons Christianity superseded. 

Ask for myths you’d like students to hear.  Students will get help writing their own myths. 

Garbed in a cotehardie “Jonathan the Troubadour” on stage with backdrops and costume caps, your storyteller gets students to step into medieval times. 

They learn about the feudal system in an interactive story.  They practice feasting manners, knight a knight, enter a guild, catch a unicorn and sing in medieval English.  It is a 75-minute adventure Ito the Middle Ages. 

Jonathan the Troubadour introduces students to the Renaissance through interactive stories and skits.  They’ll see what triggered the great revival, and get introduced to Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Galileo.  They will step into skits on inventions like the telescope, the printing press, and the flying buttress. Ask for a topic.  I’ll have a tale. 

Jesus told 38 parables.  Engage your students with parables retold by your storyteller.  Sower of Seeds, Jesus at the Temple, The Good Samaritan, Peter Fishes for Souls, The Prodigal Son, Lazarus, Mary Magdalene, Blind Bartimaeus, and the Birds of the Field.

Preschool & Kindergarten

Engage your budding storytellers with a fun and enchanting program.  Children “help” tell the classics with their hands, faces, and voices, keeping their attention with an experience they will not soon forget.  

Finger Fables

Programs

“Three” makes story magic for young children.  They’ll get to help tell each of these classics with their hands, faces, and voices.

Engaged three ways, they learn to listen.  They’ll better comprehend by retelling or re-enacting their favorite parts.  
The children get help drawing three big moments of the Bears, Billie Goats, or Pigs! 

Children turn their hands into animal characters to follow along with “The Sunny-Time Bunny,” an adventure based on a Margaret Wise Brown book. ”

Next, they help a little girl guess what animal could be the “purrfect’ pet. Sound effects and gestures help them identify animals and follow the tale.

We discover too how to stop losing things with “Little Bear’s Dancing Pants.”  

They’ll draw a picture of their favorite part of each story to make a “Take Home Tale” to share with their families. 

A highly engaging “hands-on” performance & workshop program for children Pre-K to grade 2. 

What happens a master storyteller performs Finger Fables?  Squiggly squirmers are taken into the tale by hand.  They get to turn their fingers into racing rabbits, lions and turtles and bears. (Oh My!) 

“Finger Fables” engage children to listen, follow along, and have fabulous fun. They learn kinetically to actively listen, retell, and reenact.  Studies prove storytelling improves retention, reading and writing.    Selections span Aesop to Anansi, the original spiderman! Ask for a selection from Margaret Wise Brown, or Leo Leoni. Look to make friends with “Barkface and Rootnose!”  

Elementary School

Creative, stimulating, and mesmerizing programs for school age children from Kindergarten to 4th grades.

Story Theater / Catching Stories

Enhance your educational programming with a fun way to teach lesson requirements.  

Here’s how to book a program.  Choose a topic for an assembly with two grades. Schedule three or four one-hour  performances / workshops.  This includes time for storytelling, discussion, launching a follow-up activity, and my “recovery time” in-between presentations. 

Each performance/workshop enchants students with two to four interactive stories.  We pause to predict outcomes and to share favorite moments with turns and talks.  During in-person shows, some children may come on stage to help act out parts of stories. Your students will get started on a writing-based follow-up activity, you may complete with your class. 

Students learn a “Take Home Tale” to share with their families. 

Programs

“Three” makes story magic for young children.  They’ll get to help tell each of these classics with their hands, faces, and voices.

Engaged three ways, they learn to listen.  They’ll better comprehend by retelling or re-enacting their favorite parts.  

The children get help drawing three big moments of the Bears, Billie Goats, or Pigs! 

Children turn their hands into animal characters to follow along with “The Sunny-Time Bunny,” an adventure based on a Margaret Wise Brown book. ”

Next, they help a little girl guess what animal could be the “purrfect’ pet. Sound effects and gestures help them identify animals and follow the tale.

We discover too how to stop losing things with “Little Bear’s Dancing Pants.”  

They’ll draw a picture of their favorite part of each story to make a “Take Home Tale” to share with their families. 

Imagine, a colorful kindly piped piper arrives in school. Taking the stage with a “talking stick,” a curious array costumes, he seeks stories in the air.  Instantly children join in catching tales, “tossing” them into their storyteller’s heart.  “Tales are best told by heart.” He explains. 

 Ideal for elementary school children, Story Theater takes them deeper into folk and fairy tales.  Stepping into the story on stage, participating as an audience they experience more and better understand.  Jonathan tells and directs, gently guiding the children through each tale.  Occasionally, he transforms the audience transforms into the sun, trees,  thunder, or a roaring dragon.  Count on spontaneous surprises and magic moments with the children stepping into folk and fairy tales.   Every show comes with a common core based activity guide.  You can invite Jonathan to give story-making workshops with your class, using his “Ingredients for a Good Story.”

Using simple masks, caps, and colorful capes,  take parts in the tales. Six to eight  join Jonathan on stage to help tell the shows five or six folk and fairy tales.   There’s cat mask to help tell The Puss in Boots. It may take wings to perform the Magical Wonderful Bul-Bul Bird. Sometimes children don a dragon head, become troll, or even a two-headed ogre.  

Story Theater is best tailored for a grade level assembly.  

Ever since children have asked why, there have been stories made up to answer, especially in Spanish-speaking countries. 

Your students will listen to two or three “Porques?” or “Why?” Tales.  Why is the Sky so Far?  Why Do Dogs Bark and Cats Meow?

Why Does Spider Have Crooked Legs? Why is Rabbit on the Moon? Why Does Rhino Have Rough Skin? What will your Why tale be?

Let folklore teach students about varied cultures. A country’s lore reveals its geography, animals, plants, people, and values. 

They’ll be rapt by tales from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.  Ask for a tale from a country, or culture in your curriculum. 

Students experience diverse countries and cultures on a “story journey” around the world.  Listening to a folk or fairy tale from six continents, they’ll discover what makes each place unique, and will understand their values. Fifth graders get “Tales of the Americas” Ask about a live musical accompanist. Workshops show students how to write their own tale using characteristics a country they pick. CCS – Reading/Informational – #3-5, 7, 9, 11 Writing 4A Speaking & Listening 1f, – Main Ideas, Structure, Integration, Cultural perspectives, Different backgrounds, Responding with original story)

What would you be a Tory or Rebel? Do you want “mob rule?”  Would you call “no taxation without representation? 

Students listen to points of view on the American Revolution. They vicariously experience what happened when the

Declaration of Independence was read in Manhattan.  Rebels “tore down King George” on the Bowling Green!  

These historic fiction tales move students to write a letter stating their take on reveling against the king!

The fight for American Independence took more than rich white men to win.  Women took on dangers during the struggle. 

They’ll meet the New York teen who outrode Paul Revere.  We do a story skit showing how “Molly Pitchers” could fire a cannon. 

The final tale reveals the mystery of who was Deborah Sampson. 

Students retell in a letter to one of these brave revolutionary women.

Students get the stories of what George Washington did to become the “father of our country.” 

He lost his temper in Harlem, was surprised attacked on Christmas, inoculated his soldiers in a pandemic,

and made a spectacle of himself to prevent a military coup.  Remarkable tales!  

Students will write a letter sharing what they felt was Washington’s finest moment. 

Jonathan the Troubadour introduces students to the Renaissance through interactive stories and skits.  They’ll see what triggered the great revival, and get introduced to Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Galileo.  They will step into skits on inventions like the telescope, the printing press, and the flying buttress. Ask for a topic.  I’ll have a tale. 

Dear Crompond Fourth Graders –

Please watch this video about the stories of “Sibyl’s Revered Ride” and “The French at Crompond.” It will help and is fun.

Imagine you Have to Make a Dangerous Ride Like Sibyl Ludington Did in April of 1777. Write a one-page Letter Telling All About it to a Friend. Make a video of your self reading your letter and share it with your teacher and class. 

Remember, it was cold with a dismal rain falling.  When you came to houses of the men your father needed for his Militia, they were surprised and afraid. You were afraid of being attacked.  There were Red Coats, guards at Roger Morris’s house, and Cow-Boys drinking rum!  

How did you feel when it was over?  

How did you feel when you met George Washington? 

Please add to your story three “Revolutionary Words and Idioms” list on the right.  The words are on the left.  What they mean comes after =. 

“Tales of the Americas” a storytelling program and occasionally workshops featuring stories from Mexico, Canada, the U.S.A., plus the Andes. Please use this guide to enhance your students experience and meet core standards.  
Preparations- Discuss what a storyteller does, and how storytelling is at the heart of art forms like literature, theater, film and more. 

New York’s history experienced through dramatic stories of Native, Colonial, Revolutionary, Industrial and Environmental times. Offers creation myths, Dutch and British settlers, George Washington, Sybil Ludington, Women’s rights, Pete Seeger, haunted history. Add NY songs with the Hudson River Ramblers.

Workshops show students how to use primary sources to write a persuasive letter to a historical figure.  CCS – S.&L.1e, 4 / L.S. 3, 4a, 6/ R.S.L. H/SS 6-12 – 1-3, 9 – retelling, analysis, understanding perspectives, primary sources, point of view

Middle and High School

Engage your students in middle and high school with a program tailored to your curriculum.  

Medieval Manors & Manners

Enhance your educational programming with a fun way to teach lesson requirements.  

Here’s how to book a program.  Choose a topic for an assembly with two grades. Schedule three or four one-hour  performances / workshops.  This includes time for storytelling, discussion, launching a follow-up activity, and my “recovery time” in-between presentations. 

Each performance/workshop enchants students with two to four interactive stories.  We pause to predict outcomes and to share favorite moments with turns and talks.  During in-person shows, some children may come on stage to help act out parts of stories. Your students will get started on a writing-based follow-up activity, you may complete with your class. 

Students learn a “Take Home Tale” to share with their families. 

Programs

Let folklore teach students about varied cultures. A country’s lore reveals its geography, animals, plants, people, and values. 

They’ll be rapt by tales from Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.  Ask for a tale from a country, or culture in your curriculum. 

Jonathan Kruk turns New York’s history into stories for students. A master storyteller, selected “Best in the Hudson Valley,” author of two History Press books he performs fifty solo shows annually for Historic Hudson Valley’s “Irving’s Legend.”   Drawing from primary sources, Jonathan’s programs enchants all with drama, skits, and voices from long ago.  Appearing in period garb, colonial to 19th century,  he tailors his work to your curriculum interests and locale.  Scroll down to see how “New York Lore” meets and exceeds state common core requirements.

What would you be a Tory or Rebel? Do you want “mob rule?”  Would you call “no taxation without representation? 

Students listen to points of view on the American Revolution. They vicariously experience what happened when the

Declaration of Independence was read in Manhattan.  Rebels “tore down King George” on the Bowling Green!  

These historic fiction tales move students to write a letter stating their take on reveling against the king! 

The fight for American Independence took more than rich white men to win.  Women took on dangers during the struggle. 

They’ll meet the New York teen who outrode Paul Revere.  We do a story skit showing how “Molly Pitchers” could fire a cannon. 

The final tale reveals the mystery of who was Deborah Sampson. 

Students retell in a letter to one of these brave revolutionary women.

Students get the stories of what George Washington did to become the “father of our country.” 

He lost his temper in Harlem, was surprised attacked on Christmas, inoculated his soldiers in a pandemic,

and made a spectacle of himself to prevent a military coup.  Remarkable tales!  

Students will write a letter sharing what they felt was Washington’s finest moment. 

Many movies your students will know came from fairy tales.  They will listen to the original story, then compare it to the movie. 

Tales may include; Maleficent (Sleeping Beauty) Snow White, The Little Mermaid, The Snow Queen (Frozen) Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, (Tangled) Puss in Boots, Beauty and the Beast. 
They will learn to write a review of the fairy tale and film. 

It’s every student, fourth grade and up, learning to have fun performing a real, kid-friendly scene from Shakespeare during a three-day residency. 

A full voice, body, & hands-on introduction to Shakespeare, coached and encouraged by three Actor/Educators. 

In small groupings, students are coached and encouraged learning to read, interpret, perform and understand “the Bard,” in an introductory assembly. A culminating assembly highlights the experience, with one or two groups from each class sharing their scenes. 

Shakespeare is Elementary turns your classroom into a stage. Every student performs in an authentic scene from Shakespeare

Egypt, Greek, or Norse?  Your storyteller becomes a robed visiting bard to enchant students with gripping myths. 

They’ll discover Ra the Sun god, thundering Zeus, Odin the one-eyed wise, and the pantheons Christianity superseded. 

Ask for myths you’d like students to hear.  Students will get help writing their own myths. 

Garbed in a cotehardie “Jonathan the Troubadour” on stage with backdrops and costume caps, your storyteller gets students to step into medieval times. 

They learn about the feudal system in an interactive story.  They practice feasting manners, knight a knight, enter a guild, catch a unicorn and sing in medieval English.  It is a 75-minute adventure Ito the Middle Ages. 

  • A double period highly interactive performance program immerses students the Middle Ages with energetic storytelling, skits, vocabulary, manners, and a song. 

  • Students will help solve mystery tales. They’ll  understand how the feudal system worked, learn about guilds, Knights, outlaws, feasts, nobles, serfs, franklins, marriage, pilgrims, alchemists, & how to catch a unicorn. 

  • Donning quick costumes, some students help act out troubadour guided skits, to show classmates life in the Middle Ages.  

  • Everyone practices feast table manners.  “Bloweth not upon thy soupe!

  • Everyone learns some 13th-century words. “Forsooth” “Fobbing puttock” !!!

  • All sing the chorus of that medieval hit,  “Sumer is Icumen in”   

  • A four-page student activity packet is provided.  Plus, a ten-page guide for teachers!

  • Everyone learns and has fun. 

Jonathan the Troubadour introduces students to the Renaissance through interactive stories and skits.  They’ll see what triggered the great revival, and get introduced to Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Galileo.  They will step into skits on inventions like the telescope, the printing press, and the flying buttress. Ask for a topic.  I’ll have a tale. 

Did the earth begin with a dream, a yawn or a battle?  Who did people first fear and worship? What is the hero’s journey?  Your students will get answers to these grand questions listening to myths performed by Jonathan Kruk, your master storyteller. 

     Garbed in a tunic, with his sage’s stick,  “Jonathan the Bard” gives students a spirited performance of a series of creation myths from the ancient civilizations; Greece, Egypt, Mesopotamia, India, China and Olmec/Mayan. 

The Hudson River Ramblers turn the heritage of the Hudson River into fun, family performances at libraries, schools, historic sites, museums, festivals and community events around the greater Hudson Valley region and beyond. Drawing from over four hundred years of history, we perform songs and stories from authentic, primary sources, and inspire our audiences to learn through participation. The Hudson River Ramblers engage audiences with the legacy of “America’s First River”. We offer over twenty-five+ years of experience, performing at such venues as the  NYS Museum, New-York Historical Society, Troy’s Victorian Stroll, the Clearwater Festival, Retired Teachers of NYS, Quadricentennial of the Hudson celebrations, the 225th Anniversary of the American Revolution events, and more. We also have two award-wining CD’s. Our first, “Revolution on the River” was named “Best CD” by Hudson Valley Magazine, and our most recent, “Once Upon the Hudson” received a “Recommended Award” from Parents’ Choice.  We received a Catskill Watershed Corp. Grant to create a program joining city and country kids for a study of the NYC water supply.