Last week, school started in our part of the world and I was asked by a principal to help kick off the new school year with a storytelling assembly.
At the beginning of the presentation, I invited the gym full of students to join me on the Storyteller’s Journey, to discover their own voice and learn to tell their own story. Throughout the hour, many eager children helped me dramatize ancient world myths and even on the first day of school 200 children sat attentively engaged in the mysterious narratives of long ago and far away.
After the assembly, I suggested that they practice their new skills by re-telling one of the stories at home. I asked which story they might like to tell and several children raised their hands and answered my question.
Ten minutes or so later, as I walked from the gym to the exit passing various lines of students snaking their way down the hallway in search of their classrooms, a willowy 6 year old boy spotted me, stepped out of line and said, as if continuing an interrupted conversation, “It is hard for me to decide which story to tell because I liked them all! I might not actually get the chance to tell one because I’ve got to get the hay in before winter, but I’ll try.” The principal had mentioned that the school was located in a strong farming community. With that, the young farmer and newly christened storyteller, waved good-bye and set off in search of his long gone classmates.
Filed under Art in Education, Character Education, Children, Creativity, Drama, Education, Elementary schools, Fariytales, Folktales, Literacy, Multiculturalism, Myths, Performing, Stories, Storytelling
Today 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!
Filed under Art in Education, Character Education, Children, Creativity, Elementary schools, Fariytales, Folktales, Literacy, Multiculturalism, Performing, Stories, Storytelling
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