Archive for the ‘Storytelling’ Category

The focus of our Storytelling session was how color can evoke feelings and drawing and telling a story that has a beginning, middle, and end from “color” drawings. Each girl received a homemade book for their “color stories.”

The girls were introduced to a book called My Many Colored Days by Dr. Suess. It’s a great book on how colors can match certain feelings. Blue might evoke a feeling of sadness or it might bring out a feeling of  being bright and free like a bird in the blue sky.

After our lively discussion, the girls were asked to choose 3 colors for their “color stories.”

They got to work on their stories. Some used one color per page and others mixed colors, but all stories evoked some kind of feelings through the use of colors.

As they finished, they practiced telling their stories to me or a friend. I loved how the following story demonstrates simple drawings and a color for each feeling/emotion, yet the way the girl told the story was with such detail and expression!! It was wonderful!

The story begins with her feeling upset that she didn’t have any pets.

Next, she’s excited and happy that she got a pet.

Last, she’s feeling sad and alone because she wasn’t able to keep the pet because of her mother’s allergies to the pet. She used the color purple to reflect those emotions.

One of the girls practicing her story to a friend.

During our Culminating Celebration, we will take the time for each girl to tell her story; that is why I kept the stories until then. They will get to take them home on that day! Great job everyone!! See you next week on May 6th for our Featured Artist… Georgia O’Keefe!!


Read Full Post »

Opening Ritual:

After eating our snack of blueberry muffins and sharing what each girl’s favorite winter book was, the girls enjoyed laughing through another listening game…


Last week one of the girl’s asked how I had remembered the whole story, The Mitten by Jan
Brett. So, this week I gave the girls some tips on how to learn the story they are going to tell.

1) Know your story

2) Make a simple storyboard (pictures of events in the story in sequential order)

3) Don’t memorize the story; tell the story in your own words

4)Visualize the story happening in your mind; make a movie in your mind

5)Practice! Practice in front of the mirror, tell to a friend, family, stuffed animal, etc.)

We put these steps into practice. The girls had heard the story of The Mitten by Jan Brett several times. The more you know the story the easier it is to not memorize it and tell the story in your own words and to be able to visualize it in your mind’s eye. The girl’s were going to practice telling The Mitten to each other, so I wanted them to have pictures of the animals and to put them in order. So, I provided them with more animal cut-outs so they could make their own “storyboards.”

Let the storytelling begin! Some of the girls had an opportunity to practice telling The Mitten just to a partner and some had the opportunity to share with the whole group. We also talked a bit about TELLING THE STORY:

1) VOICE: We modeled what a good storyteller sounds like and doesn’t sound like; not monotone, you might change your voice to sound like a character or if there is an exciting part or quiet your voice to add suspense.

2)FACIAL EXPRESSIONS: This adds to the story and keeps you interesting and helps the audience to stay captive.

3)GESTURES AND MOVEMENTS: Keep it simple and be natural; also adds to the story

4)BEGINNINGS & ENDINGS: You may want to introduce the name of the story, the author, any other interesting information about the story. As the story ends, it might be obvious when the story is over, so a pause might be appropriate or you may want to tell the audience “The end.” Accepting applause by a bow is appropriate.

Source: TALES as TOOLS, The Power of Story in the Classroom; The National Storytelling Association.

Hana practicing The Mitten with a partner.

Isa: Adapted The Mitten to tell her own version…she had repetition in her story, she got the audience participating, had great facial expressions, voice, and used gestures to enhance her story. We loved listening to your storytelling, Isa!

Danielle: Adapted The Mitten to tell her own version. I loved how the animals got stuck in a girl’s boot and then each animal got kicked out! Very funny! Danielle also used gestures(a kicking gesture),had great voice, and had eye contact with the audience. Wonderful creativity and storytelling Danielle!

Cecilia: She adapted The Mitten also to tell her own version. This picture tells so much of Cecilia’s storytelling…so full of gestures and fabulous facial expressions as well as Voice!! Cecilia, you are such an active and fun storyteller! You really engaged the audience. Keep it up!

We ran out of time and not all the girls got to share in front of the whole group. Practice telling stories at home, it’s fun!

Read Full Post »

*Note* — My camera was misplaced and so I didn’t have it with me during this workshop to take pictures of the girls. Sorry about that!

Opening Ritual – After our snack the girls had an opportunity to participate in an exercise to improve listening effectiveness. Listening during storytelling is an important skill. They lined up and I whispered a short description to the first girl in line and she whispered what she heard to the next girl in line, she whispered what she heard to the next girl in line, so on and so on. The last girl shared out loud what she heard. Boy, was this funny! We all had some good laughs.

How did it get from…”The mice burrowed underground to get away from the snake.” to…”The whale jumped!” ??? We can all improve on our listening skills, right?! 🙂

We gathered together for our storytelling session on the stage; I set up my props(picture above) and retold the beloved winter tale of The Mitten, adapted and illustrated by Jan Brett. The girls passed around the felt mitten I sewed as I was telling the story. I had so much fun telling it and loved watching the girls’ attentive faces. Some of them had not heard this story before.

Next, the girls had fun coloring the animals from the story and making their own mitten. As they were working, I read to them the original version of the story. After, one of the girls asked, “How did you remember the whole story?” What a great question! We will definitely talk about that this week during our last storytelling session. So, to be continued…

Read Full Post »

I can’t believe we had our last session for the Fall! This workshop session was full of giving, reflecting, storytelling, and celebrating! Last week the girls completed a group project. I originally thought the piece of art was going to be donated to a local business, but after some reflection, I decided to let the girls decide to give it away to someone at St. James. They immediately thought of their principal, Mrs. Hovell. It recently had been her birthday. So, when the girls gathered, I had a card waiting that we all signed. And then the girls presented the art to Mrs. Hovell. The girls were so excited and Mrs. Hovell was surprised and loved her one-of-a-kind art work. She had the girls sign the back, so she will always remember who the art was from. The girls thought giving away art that they were apart of was fun, exciting, happy, and even a little scary.

I read the book I’m In Charge of Celebrations by Byrd Baylor to the girls. I love this book! A girl who lives in the desert believes she is in charge of her own celebrations…After seeing a triple rainbow, August 9th is Rainbow Celebration Day, September 28th is Coyote Day, and in the middle of every August is The Time of Falling Stars. I asked the girls what November 19th could be…the girls chose November 19th as Art Giving Day! I love it!

The girls finished up some storytelling. They had created a storyboard of a made-up story or an existing one. They drew pictures of the story in sequential order. A princess sees the sun and flowers and picked a flower, a girl named Ashley went to the pet store, the story of Rapunzel and a story of a boat, a flower growing bigger and bigger. Wonderful storytelling girls!

Our final celebration was that the girls received their creative arts gift bags! I sewed a bag for each girl using the easy drawstring bag pattern on the website http://www.purlbee.com. I included a small moleskin journal for poetry writing, a mini canvas for painting, watercolor postcards, rock crayons, and a scarf for storytelling fun! I had so much fun making the bags for the girls. They were so excited and I’ll always remember the looks on their faces when they received the bags. Girls, I believe you are all so creative and I can’t wait to see you in January! Love, Ms. Shelli

Read Full Post »

This week we had more storytelling fun. After I shared a few more of my personal stories, I showed the girls some old calendar pictures that I had and we chose one and I guided them through a storytelling session. We had a beginning, middle, and end and changed and added details along the way.
storytelling 2-1

Each girl was able to add something to the story, which made the story more creative and imaginative. Next, the girls worked with a partner and chose a different calendar picture and they worked together to come up with a story and then shared with the whole group. I brought scarves as a prop for the girls to use, if they chose, for their stories. Each group chose to use the scarves and they really enjoyed using them. Simple dress-up props such as scarves or capes or hats, etc. are open-ended enough to allow imagination to soar!








Storyboards were introduced to the girls as a way that storytellers can remember their stories… various squares or a grid with a simple picture, a few words. Some girls worked alone and some worked together. We ran out of time, so we didn’t get to hear the stories. But, we will during one of our last sessions together. Girls, keep telling stories!







Read Full Post »

Stories…I love to hear a good story! Whether it is a story from a book, a story that happened to make one feel an emotion, or a story of kindness…Stories can be a powerful tool that connect people, bring about change, and evoke empathy and awareness. I have memories of listening to stories from my Grandpa, of how he left home as a young boy to find work because his family was so poor; almost everytime I see my brother, a story comes out that is sure to bring on lots of laughter. I started out our storytelling session telling 2 true stories…the first one was the first time I went sailboating and the boat capsized and in the process of turning the boat, I was injured. I felt a bit afraid, yet it was very exciting. The second story was when my brother and sister-in-law flew in from out of town and surprised me for my birthday! The girls were so attentive as I shared my stories. Now, for the girls turn! I read to them a fun and silly book, “Glad Monster, Sad Monster, a book about feelings by Ed Emberley & Anne Miranda. Then the girls were asked to pick an emotion from a bag, think of a story when they felt that emotion, and make a mask to match their emotion.








After the masks were completed, we went out to the stage and the girls shared their stories. Some chose to use the masks for their storytelling and some did not. Stories were told…a lonely princess, a happy princess, a cat who bites, a visit to a Haunted House…we clapped and had fun listening to true stories and made-up ones.




Our next storytelling activity involved storytelling cards. The girls chose cards that they thought could go together and each individual or group shared their stories. Fun!





REMINDER: We will have more Storytelling fun this Wednesday, Oct. 28 and then we will also meet on Thursday, Oct. 29, our regular day to learn about Henri Matisse.

Read Full Post »