Category Archives: Multiculturalism

The Calming Effect of Stories


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.

Happy storytelling!

Cheryl Thornton

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Filed under Art in Education, Character Education, Children, Creativity, Drama, Education, Elementary schools, Fariytales, Folktales, Literacy, Multiculturalism, Myths, Stories, Storytelling

Michelle Obama


I really love working with kids.  They are so funny and smart and do say the most amazing things!

Today, I performed for a lovely brand new school in Maple,  ON.  In honour of Sunday’s celebration of Earth day, I told stories about the earth, wind, water and fire from cultures around the world.

One of the stories I told was a creation myth form Ghana called,  All the Different Colours.  At the end of the story I said, “…The girl spirit became the first mother and the boy spirit became the first father and the children became all the people in the world.”  A six year old in the front row raised his hand and said, “I have a comment to make. I know who you were talking about!  The first ‘mother’ was Michelle Obama and so I guess that would make the ‘first father’ Barack Obama!  Right?”

How cute is that!?  Kids do say the darndest things!

Happy Storytelling!

Cheryl Thornton

http://www.storyvalues.com

 

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Filed under Art in Education, Children, Creativity, Drama, Education, Elementary schools, Fariytales, Folktales, Literacy, Multiculturalism, Myths, Performing

Stories at a Business Seminar


I attended a great business seminar this week given by Shahmeen Sadiq, a leadership and team development professional.  She talked about the importance of setting positive thought habits instead of repeating unsuccessful reaction patterns.  Many of us come up against a problem, fall into anxiety and react with a temporary solution. Shahmeen suggested beginning with a vision, which inspires a passionate action.  Her points were made perfectly clear through the stories she told.  I was struck by how powerful stories are in a business setting.  Everyone listened intently as she told her stories and afterwards, the group felt a deeper connection with Shameen and her ideas.  Check out her site at: http://www.anjalileadership.com

Stories are a such a powerful means of communication.

Happy Storytelling!

Cheryl Thornton

http://www.cherylthornton.com

http://www.storyvalues.com

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Triage with Androcles and the Lion


Yesterday, I told Androcles and the Lion, the story about the run away slave who removes a thorn from a lion’s paw, later to be saved by the lion,  to a group of three and four  year olds.  This timeless tale about kindness, compassion and reciprocity, is know in cultures around the world.  After mentioning that stories often teach important lessons, I asked the children what they thought this story could teach.   A four year old girl raised her hand and said, “I think we can learn how important it is to remove thorn from your hand and to always put a bandage on it.”

Her classmates all agreed.

I was reminded of how important first aid is to this age group.  Three and four year olds love showing off their bandaged skinned knees, bruised shins and nicked fingers.

Good stories often contain more than one important lesson.  From now on, I’ll remember the triage lesson in Androcles and the Lion.

Happy Storytelling!

Cheryl Thornton

http://www.storyvalues.com

http://www.cherylthornton.com

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Again


Today after telling the Norwegian story,  The Boy and the North Wind to the kindergarten classes at Mother Teresa school, a little four year old shouted, “Tell that story again!”  It is a great story and I love telling it each time I have the chance.

We all love experiencing our favourites again and again.  I have shelves of books that I’ve read more than once.  My husband can attest to the fact that I love seeing the same movies again and again.  The same holds true for the music I like.

I believe stories get better the second and third time around.

Each time I tell stories to a group of children, I ask them to take their favourite story home and tell it to someone, that way it will last forever.

I hope that the little boy who liked The Boy and the North Wind tells it to someone at home.

Happy Storytelling!

Cheryl Thornton

http://www.storyvalues.com

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More Great Art


Children express themselves artistically with ease.

They draw pictures to communicate as routinely as I write emails.

Expressing themselves through artwork appears to be totally natural to the under 8 set.

Here is a lovely thank you card sent from a grade one student after I told stories in her school.

 

Inspired by this six year old, I think I’ll to send a thank you drawing in response.

 

Happy Storytelling!

Cheryl Thornton

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Story Inspired Art


After hearing me tell the West African story, Anansi Brings Stories to the World at his school, six year old Sal drew this picture of the sun and the earth below.

In the story, we learn that Nyema the sky god, lives in the ‘bright shiny heavens’ where Anansi visits to arrange a business deal to supply the inhabitants of the earth with stories.

As I tell stories to children, I can practically see their imaginations conjuring images as the stories unfold.  What a delight to be able to see some of the pictures the stories inspire!

Thank you for sharing your great drawing Sal!

Happy Storytelling!

Cheryl Thornton

 

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Filed under Art in Education, Children, Creativity, Education, Elementary schools, Fariytales, Folktales, Literacy, Multiculturalism, Myths, Performing, Stories, Storytelling