Kids Art Rules


SW-GrabYesterday, I performed at North Agincourt Jr. P.S in Toronto.  After the assembly, the grades 3 and 4 classes presented a slide show of two of our Storyvalues stories.  They had illustrated the stories using Pixie, a digital illustration tool, then linked their art to my audio files.  Their work was break taking!  The two stories featured in the slide show were also part of my live assembly, so the kids were able to observe and discuss similarities and differences.

Teacher librarian, Patrick McCartney was the mastermind behind this successful project.

Congratulations to Mr. McCartney and the grade 3 and 4 classes of North Agincourt Jr. P.S!

Happy Storytelling!

Cheryl Thornton

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Mythology and Footwear


256px-PumaNov06Today, I told a First Nation myth about how turtle outsmarts eagle and frees the animals.  In the story all the animals become enslaved by golden eagle after loosing to him in a race.  Golden eagle’s first challenger is the puma.

A kindergartener seated in the front row, called out, “What is a puma?”  Quick as a flash, another kindergartener answered, “It’s a shoe.”

I run into the same issue when telling the Greek myth involving the Winged Goddess of Victory, Nike.

Happy Storytelling!

Cheryl Thornton

 

 

 

 

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Always a Storyteller


1001-nights-burton-v3-p010Yesterday, my group of grade 6 and 7 storyteller apprentices were joined by the grade 8 classes to listen to Greek myths, stories from the Arabian Nights and First Nation tales.  11 to 14 year olds are such a baffling age group!  They can swing wildly from being bored out of their gourds to electrifyingly engaged and enthusiastic!

During the first story I told from the 1001 Arabian Nights, I asked a seemingly comatose group of grade 8 students for volunteers to portray the genii and the fisherman.  To my great surprise, most of their hands shot up in the air!

I chose two amazing 14 year olds boys to help bring the story to life, both of whom had been storyteller apprentices the previous year.   When I first met these two guys 14 months ago, they’d been sceptical of the whole storytelling business and hesitant to perform in front of others. Their transformation over the six months working together was truly spectacular.  Yesterday, I was privileged to see that it hadn’t been temporary.  They performed with gusto and pride, helping to set the tone for the rest of the session.

Like in the 1001 Arabian Nights frame story of Shahrazad and the sultan, I honestly believe that stories have the power to transform and heal.

Once a storyteller apprentice, always a storyteller!

Happy Storytelling!

Cheryl Thornton

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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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It’s So Great Getting That Attention


The Dog and the Pig This morning, an eight year old spoke with me after a storytelling session.  She said, “The best part was getting to act out the stories with you.  It’s so great getting that attention!  I’m practicing for Broadway!”

Adorable!

Happy Storytelling!

Cheryl Thornton

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The Hunter and the Polar Bear


Ursus_maritimus_par_Louis_Agassis_FuertesToday I’m going to tell an Inuit story, The Hunter and the Polar Bear for the first time, other than to my husband.  I love trying out ‘new’ stories (new to me, but usually hundreds of years old).  I’m always amazed at how many stunning stories there are to tell.  I can’t wait to hear what my little listeners have to say about this gem!  I’ll keep you posted!

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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