When I visit a school, I generally come for no less than a full school day.
In a multi-day residency I get teachers and children of any age telling tales
and listening with delight to each other's stories.
I can either offer an
introduction to the art of storytelling or provide teachers with information
about how to do that themselves--so that when I visit I act as a storytelling
coach, helping staff and students sharpen their storytelling skills.
I can demonstrate how to perform a variety of tales and poems for a large
group or groups but prefer to meet with students in groups of 50 or less. That way, students can "turn to your partner" and experience the art of storytelling.
If it is possible for teachers to be freed to observe me teaching, I enjoy
doing demonstration classes in which I model for teachers possible ways to
approach storytelling with students. I show how to help students take the
stage and "draft" a telling in front of their classmates.
I teach students
how to listen attentively and to offer appreciations - specific positive
responses - as well as to ask helpful questions.
Sometimes before or after the school day I talk with teachers about my work
with students or answer questions about what they have observed during
I encourage teachers to use a process approach to teach storytelling, much as
they might to teach writing.
When I was a full-time teacher my students made
individual learning logs to:
- record their questions,
- share their reactions to class storytelling activities, and
- name their learnings throughout the storytelling unit.