This week I’m giving a workshop for Kindergarten, Grades 1, 2 and 3 teachers on Developing Inference Skills.
To 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.
Filed under Art in Education, Character Education, Children, Creativity, Education, Elementary schools, Fariytales, Folktales, Myths, Stories, Storytelling
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!
Filed under Art in Education, Character Education, Children, Creativity, Drama, Education, Elementary schools, Fariytales, Folktales, Literacy, Multiculturalism, Myths, Performing, Proverbs, Stories, Storytelling
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.
Filed under Art in Education, Character Education, Children, Creativity, Drama, Education, Elementary schools, Fariytales, Folktales, Literacy, Performing, Stories, Storytelling
Finishing up the Halloween candy doesn’t necessarily mean that Halloween is totally gone for another year.
You can keep the sweet thrill alive by telling more scary stories.
Here are three that I highly recommend for 4 – 7 year olds, which are scary, but not too scary.
Lon Po Po is a Chinese tale, similar to Little Red-Riding Hood. Ed Young has a wonderful retelling of the story.
The Funny Little Woman is a Japanese folktale about the adventures of a rice dumpling maker who is pursued by wicked oni (scary monsters). Arlene Mosel’s retelling is my favourite.
Sukey and the Mermaid is an exciting African-American mermaid story, retold by Robert D. San Souci and beautifully illustrated by Brian Pinkney. It is not really scary, but it is definitely suspenseful and worth the read.
Filed under Art in Education, Character Education, Children, Creativity, Fariytales, Folktales, Ghost Stories, Literacy, Multiculturalism, Myths, Stories, Storytelling
The Hobyahs is a spooky old English tale. It’s a little scary, but 4 year olds love it. It involves a little girl, a bunch of dogs and some hungry creatures called hobyahs.
Robert D. San Souci has a great retelling by the same title.
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!
Filed under Art in Education, Character Education, Children, Creativity, Drama, Education, Elementary schools, Fariytales, Folktales, Ghost Stories, Literacy, Myths, Performing, Stories, Storytelling
For the past 4 weeks, I’ve been telling stories on Wednesdays to two groups of 3 to 5 year olds. It’s been richly rewarding watching them learn how to listen!
The first week we met was somewhat chaotic with frequent outbursts of complaints of being ‘squished’ or ‘pushed’ or not being able to see because ‘so-and-so is sitting in front of me!’ But I have a secret solution that solves all this and his name is Hercules!
Each week, I tell one of the labours of Hercules. This running serial installation of the Greek myth keeps both groups looking forward to what labour King Eurystheus will give our hero next. Before each telling, I ask the children to list the previous labours. It is more than charming hearing a 4 year old say; “Hercules’ second labor was to slay the nine headed Lernean Hydra!” They easily remember because the stories are so engaging, believable and unforgettable.
Filed under Art in Education, Character Education, Children, Creativity, Drama, Education, Elementary schools, Fariytales, Folktales, Literacy, Multiculturalism, Myths, Stories, Storytelling