Crankies Made by Children

This crankie was created by students at the Bay School, a Waldorf school in Maine, with the help of music teacher, Meg Chittenden. Meg sings all the parts in this recording.

Crankie Kits Available from Louis Leger

This is Louis putting the crankie box together in 3 minutes or less!

Hello!  I wanted to let you know that my good friend and retired elementary school teacher (now full time grampa) Louis Leger is making crankie kits to sell.  If interested, there is more information on The Crankie Factory website here.  And the link to Louis's Etsy shop is here.

This all started last year when I received an email from a parent who wanted to buy a crankie box for her little girl but they didn't have the woodworking skills and tools to make it. So, I asked Louis if he was interested in helping.  I am happy to say that the boxes are selling. Louis is getting orders from all over the US and one customer in France.  Yeah!!

Gum Tree Canoe - Sam Bartlett
Cranky Show directed by Sam Bartlett at Pinewoods Family Camp in Plymouth, MA in July 2014. Music by Abby Ladin, Keith Murphy, & Sam Bartlett. Sam has been making music and crankys with kids for many years. Visit his website
Casey Jones Crankie - 2016 Oly Ol' Time Festival
Here is the Casey Jones crankie (workshop video below) performed by Emily Teachout on guitar, and lead vocal, her husband Erik Neathelin on banjo and their daughter Maggie on guitar. A family band!
Crankie Workshop at the Oly Ol' Time Festival - 2016
Emily Teachout, Shanty Slater, & Nikki McClure lead a crankie making workshop Feb. 2016 at the Oly Ol' Time Fest. The song they chose was Casey Jones. This is a fantastic festival.

Cranking Out Some History

"Cranking Out Some History"   Sam Bartlett, Artist in Residency, worked with elementary and middle school student to creat a cranky about a local, historic building, The Holland Theater in Bellefontaire, Ohio. Read about it here.  

Check out Sam's website

Watch the crankie HERE!

15 Miles on the Erie Canal
Inspired by the crankies of Anna and Elizabeth, who performed at the festival in 2013, the Oly Old Time Festival decided to make their own at the 2014 Festival (in Olympia, Washington). The workshop was led by Nikki McClure, Shanty Slater, and Emily Teachout.
Gustavus Home: A Cranky Show About Gustavus, Alaska
In 2009, Sam Bartlett (musician, artist and author from Bloomington, Indiana) traveled to Gustavus, Alaska as part of the Artists in the Schools Program (funded by Alaska State Council on the Arts & the National Endowment for the Arts). He worked with all the students at the Gustavus School to facilitate the creation of this cranky describing life in this tiny community (population 437). To find out more about Sam's doings, visit his delightful website

Using Panorama Theater to Teach Middle School Social Studies

If you are a social studies teacher, you might be interested in this article.  It was written by George Chilcoat Ed.D. and published in the Middle School Journal in 1995. It gives a brief history of moving panoramas and then lesson plans to teach middle school children about the Civil War by making a moving panorama.  Really such a brilliant idea.

I ordered the article for $5.00 through my public library.  If you are a teacher, you may be able to access it through your school.  Here is the link

In the 1860s, the Milton Bradley Company made miniature moving panoramas as an educational toy, to teach Civil War history.  Here is a you tube link to The Myriopticon. 


Dona Dona
This crankie was made by the students at the Frog Hollow School in Seattle, Washington in 2014. Becca Hall teaches writing skills to home schooled children and teens. She graduated from Stanford Univ. with honors and received her Masters in Environmental Writing from the Univ. of Montana. She has been making crankies with children for several years now, as a language building and writing activity. Check out her website.
Trad Camp Alphabet Song
The campers and staff of the 2013 Traditional Arts Camp sponsored by the Brattleboro, VT Music Center created this alphabet song. The music is by Andy Davis ©2013. The words were composed and edited by the camp participants. Alphabet songs date back to the 19th c. and earlier. Each letter of the song is linked to a meaningful part of a place, an occupation or an experience. For more information about Andy's crankys, visit his website
Cranky Workshop Led by Anna Roberts-Gevalt
Short film by Eli Kleinsmith documenting the Cranky Workshop at the Cowan Mountain Music School in June, 2013. This week long camp happens every summer outside of Whitesburg, Ky. in Cowan. Participants can take a number of instrument classes as well as individual workshops. This workshop was designed by Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle (via cell phone).
Crankie by 1st Grade Students About Tide Pools
This crankie was illustrated by the 1st graders at Ridgecrest Elementary in Shoreline, Washington. It tells about their field trip to the tide pools. Dejah Leger helped the children make the crankie. Her first grade daughter is filming it and the commentary from the audience is hilarious.

How to Make a Scroll Story

This article has instructions on how to make a crankie (AKA story scroll) and  suggestions of children's books that can be adapted for crankies.

Crankie Sightings in Schools


For many years, Giddens School in Seattle has been making crankies with 4 and 5 year olds as part of the preschool literacy curriculum.


All the children in the class are given a few sheets of computer printer paper (from the old days when computer paper was connected in one long roll). Each child draws a series of pictures and narrates a story to a teacher. The teacher writes the words on each panel. Then the drawings are taped together and loaded into the crankie box.


On Friday afternoons popcorn is popped!  Families join the class for Friday at the Movies, one of the highlights of the week.



The Itsy Bitsy Spider
Elizabeth LaPrelle and her mother Sandy LaPrelle worked with kindergarten children to make this little crankie.
I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground
Pete Sutherland and Rose Diamond worked with kids all week at Trad Camp in VT. Each child took one verse of the old time tune "I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground" to draw on the crankie. This performance was at the end of the week when the children got to see the whole crankie for the first time. Pete Sutherland and Rose Diamond have been pillars of the trad music community for many years and have been making crankies for some years now.

Butterfly Crankie

This crankie shows the metamorphisis of a butterfly. The article shows how it was made using a shoe box, paper towl tubes, craft paper, cranyons and a bit of creativity. A vertical crankie, you don't see many of those.  Really nice!!

Children and children-at-heart, thank you for sharing your crankies with us!