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Reply to "STORYTELLING, Movement, and Music Workshop Lessons, Ideas, Resources for Jonah"

Posted by CreativeCarol....

It occurred to me that there is a lot of motion in this story. Perhaps storytelling or creative movement workshops could make use of this
There is...

  1. Jonah running away from God.
  2. Waves in the storm.
  3. Sailors throwing cargo.
  4. Sailors casting lots.
  5. Sailors rowing hard.
  6. Sailors throwing Jonah overboard.
  7. Then there is no motion - the storm stops (and sailors worship God).
  8. Jonah moves into a great fish.
  9. Jonah prays.
  10. Jonah is vomited out of the great fish.
  11. Jonah heads to Nineveh.
  12. Jonah walked through Nineveh proclaiming, repent.
  13. Ninevites believe; put on sackcloth and fast.
  14. God has compassion on the Ninevites.
  15. Jonah stomps away angry.
  16. A vine grows up.
  17. The vine falls down.
  18. Jonah laments.
  19. God teaches.


Member PlymouthUCC took Carol's list and wrote this storytelling/movement script:

I had the kids help tell the story through the actions they made up:

Say: There’s a whole lot of action in this story.  So, as I tell it, I’m going to ask each person in turn to come up with an action for the part of the story we’re hearing.  When I point at you, make up an action that goes with the story, and then all the rest of us will have to do it with you.  Then, at the end, we’ll see if we can remember them all together.  

(as you read, hold up the cue cards for each action and have each child in turn make up an action)


Here's the story of Jonah from the book of Jonah in the Old Testament.

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah saying, “Go at once to Nineveh and cry out against it, for it is a wicked place.”  But Jonah set out the opposite way, running away from the presence of God. 

(first action— hold up first cue card and point at first child: running away from God).

He boarded a boat going to Tarshish, hoping to escape God’s call.  But then there came a great wind on the sea, and a mighty storm threatened to break the boat apart

(second action—point at second child: waves in a big storm)

The sailors were afraid, and they each prayed to their own gods.  They threw all the boxes and cargo they had over the side of the boat, hoping it would lighten their load and their ship would stay afloat

(third action: sailors throwing cargo).

When that didn’t work, and the storm hadn’t calmed, they said, “Why is this terrible storm happening?”  Jonah knew that the storm was God’s way of telling him he was going the wrong direction, so he confessed to the sailors, “It’s my fault.  If you throw me overboard, the sea will calm down.”  But the sailors didn’t want him to drown, so they tried rowing harder to get back to land

(fourth action: rowing hard to land).

It didn’t work.  The storm got worse, and at last, the sailors threw Jonah overboard into the sea, saying, “Please Lord, forgive us for throwing this man into the sea!”

(fifth action: throwing Jonah over).

Right away, the storm stopped.  The sailors were so amazed that they worshiped God.

(sixth action: sailors worshiping God in amazement).

As for Jonah, he didn’t stay in the water long.  God sent a great fish to swallow Jonah so that he wouldn’t drown

(seventh action: fish swallowing Jonah).

Jonah prayed to God from the belly of the great fish

(eighth action: Jonah praying).

After three days and nights, the great fish coughed Jonah up onto dry land

(ninth action: great fish vomiting Jonah onto land).

This time, when God told Jonah to go to Nineveh, Jonah went.  When he got to the city—which was so big it took 3 days to walk all the way across it—he began to shout, “Nineveh will be destroyed!  Repent!  God has said so!” 

(tenth action: Jonah preaching in Nineveh)

The people of Nineveh believed God; everyone—the king included—put on scratchy clothes

(eleventh action: putting on sackcloth).

They fasted—did not eat their rich meals—to show how sorry they were.  The king declared that everyone should stop their violent ways, and everyone asked God to have mercy on them.  And God was pleased that the Ninevites wanted to change.  God did not destroy the city.  Jonah, on the other hand, was angry

(twelfth action: Jonah stomps away angry).

Jonah couldn’t believe that God would save the city of his enemies.  He went out of the city and sat down outside of it to watch it.  Maybe he hoped that God would destroy it anyway.  Maybe he wanted time to be angry.  Or maybe he just wanted to get out of town.  Who knows?  But either way, while he was sitting there, God made a plant grow up nearby and give Jonah shade

(thirteenth action: plant growing up).

Jonah was glad of the shade, but then at dawn the next day, God sent a worm to eat the plant.  The plant withered and died

(fourteenth action: plant dying).

Without the plant to shade him, Jonah was so hot with the sun and the wind on him that he wanted to give up.  He even said to God, “It is better for me to die than live.”

(fifteenth action: Jonah giving up).

God replied, “Is it right for you to be so angry and unhappy about the plant dying?”  Jonah said, “Yes.”  God said to him, “You are concerned about this plant that you did not plant or water.  In fact, you did nothing to help it grow.  Should I not be concerned about the city of Nineveh, with all of its children and animals?”

(sixteenth action: God scolding Jonah)

More Fun

If time permits after you tell the story, you can play around with the actions the kids made up.  Can they remember the whole story through the actions?  Point at each child in turn to do the actions one at a time, or have the whole class try to remember together which actions happened when.  Can they do them faster?  How fast?  You could also hold up the cue cards with each of the actions on them and see if the kids can tell the story themselves just by seeing the actions.

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