Monday, June 8, 2015

The joys of storytelling!

Storytelling is experiencing a revival these days, from exposure on podcasts such as The Moth to the thousands of attendees at the National Storytelling Festival to local guilds and events, such as our own PowellsWood Storytelling Festival every July.
I bring one or two storytellers to campus every year to expose students to this wonderful art, and also engage students as active tellers through games and activities.
The National Storytelling Network's position paper on the importance of storytelling in education, says that "Storytelling helps students be active not only in presenting but also in focused listening and reacting, enhancing the vital skills of communication. Storytelling is an ancient art that strengthens and enhances skills that children need to acquire to function in today’s world." Of course, it is also a great deal of fun!
Fourth graders spent a couple of weeks playing storytelling games in pairs and circles. Finally they each learned and performed - in one class session - a Russian folktale from one of Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss' books. First they practiced telling the story to the wall, then to a partner (see above). Next, some volunteers shared their versions with the whole class. Check out these wonderful examples:

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