Category Archives: Education

Moving with the Story


Greek_-_Herakles_and_the_Erymanthian_Boar_-_Walters_48253_-_Detail_AThis morning, I’m meeting with my twenty storytelling apprentices to explore non-verbal communication. We’ll be focusing on gestures, posture and facial expressions today as we tell the labours of Hercules.

I look forward to seeing what these amazing 12 and 13 years olds will say and do.  They’re so filled with insights and enthusiasm for learning the art of storytelling!

Happy Storytelling!

Cheryl Thornton

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Something to Infer About


This week I’m giving a workshop for Kindergarten, Grades 1, 2 and 3 teachers on Developing Inference Skills.

256px-Jack_escaping_from_the_GiantTo my way of thinking, inference is not taught, but inspired through storytelling.  (It is true that I think, just about everything worthwhile begins with a good story well told.)

The trick is not to teach inference, but to guide them to it.  When kids listen to stories deeply, they naturally make connections.

To borrow a sentiment from the Bonnie Raitt song, Lets Give Them Something to Talk About, I think the first step is to give them something to infer about!

I have yet to meet a child who can resist the lure of Once Upon A Time…  who’s heart rate, like Jack’s, doesn’t increase with the appearance of the giant at the top of the beanstalk and who doesn’t smile when they all lived happily ever after.

So much can happen in the imagination when listening to a story and it is there, in that magical world of the make-believe that inferences are made.

Happy Storytelling!

Cheryl Thornton

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Low Five Highlight


ImageFebruary is always a busy month of telling great stories from Africa in celebration of Black History month.  There are so many fabulous African stories to tell and I always look forward to sharing my favourites with students all over southern Ontario.

This week, I visited seven different schools and as always, came home with many lovely stories to share with my husband after a day of storytelling.  Here are some of the highlights of my week.

After presenting an assembly in Pickering, a group of children were crowded around me asking questions and telling me which story they liked best, when I felt my hand being taken by someone small.  I looked over and saw a junior kindergarten boy positioning my hand to receive his “low five” slap of appreciation.  He didn’t say a word, but just smiled at me and continued walking in line with his kindergarten class back to their room.

In another school, I met two grade seven boys as they set up chairs for the teachers prior to the assembly.  I told them that if they wanted to be in one of the stories, that I’d choose them up if they volunteered.  One of them took me up on my offer and played the role of the lazy farmer in the story called Talk.  He had the whole school roaring with laughter and afterwards, one of the teachers told me that he was a shy student and was so pleased that he had had the chance to shine!

Yesterday, I told a little girl who wanted to play the elephant, that she had to sit properly when volunteering to participate.  She sat down so eagerly that it was clear she really wanted a turn.  I invited her up and she preformed her role beautifully.  Afterwards, her teacher told me she was autistic and normally didn’t participate in assemblies.

Next week, there will be more stories to tell and more children to touch my heart.  I’ll keep you informed.

Happy Storytelling!

Cheryl Thornton

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Great Support from MaRS


We are enthusiastic clients of the cutting-edge MaRS Discovery Group in Toronto and they just published an article about us online.  http://marscommons.marsdd.com/business-models-matter/storyvalues/

Happy Storytelling!

Cheryl Thornton

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Passports to Multicultural Literacy


Last Friday at Trelawny PS in Mississauga, I launched our new storytelling campaign, Passports to Multicultural Literacy.   We are now connecting my live storytelling and drama school performances with our online storytelling program, Storyvalues Interactive.  This ‘blended learning’ approach will not only help students and teachers in the classroom, but can connect parents to school events as well.

After my storytelling assemblies at Trelawny on Friday, I told the students that I’d be giving them special Storyvalues Passports to take home and use with their parents.  The passport gives families the Storyvalues Interactive-Home web address so children and parents can listen to and read multicultural folktales together, then explore the cultures, art and music related to each story.  The Storyvalues Passports encourage children to Travel the World  through stories!

Janet Chilibeck, an amazing Peel District grade 3 teacher just sent an email telling me that,  “… her class was so thrilled with their Storyvalues Passports, that they tucked them carefully into their agendas in order to get them home safely!”  How exciting!

Happy Storytelling!

Cheryl Thornton

http://www.storyvalues.com

http://www.cherylthornton.com

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Kindergarteners Always Hug


When I tell the Aesop fable, The Lion and the Mouse during Kindergarten to Grade 8 assemblies, I always choose kindergarteners to portray the lion and the mouse.  Four and five year olds are amazing, not just because they are so cute and are natural actors, but because at the end of the story, when the mouse chews open the net to free the lion, I say, “In gratitude, the lion hugged the mouse,” and the kindergarteners always hug.

 

Happy Storytelling,

Cheryl Thornton

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Cover Your Eyes When Imagining a Ghost!


Today, my audiences of 4 and 5 year olds were filled with Ninjas, Spidermen, Sleeping Beauties  and Cinderellas.   Halloween was made for this preciously imaginative age group!

As I told two ghost-themed stories, The Teeny Tiny Woman and The Boy Who Spent the Night in a Haunted House, I noticed a couple of children covering their eyes during the suspenseful parts!  There was of course, nothing scary to see in the physical world, except for me sitting awkwardly on a tiny child size chair.  The children were attempting to cover their mind’s eyes for protection.  I have seen this a few times before, and it is usually a cue for me to lighten up on the suspense.

After listening to our two ghost stories, we filled the room with peels of laughter with some good old fashioned bathroom humour while listening to Hercules’ fifth labour about cleaning the poop out of the Augean stables!

All in all, it was a good day of telling ghost and poop stories to very appreciative listeners!

Happy Storytelling!

Cheryl Thornton

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