Back when I was an aspiring actor in New York City, fresh out of conservatory and performing in showcase productions in out-of-the-way, off-off-off-off-Broadway theaters, we had a rule — understood if not clearly spoken: call off the performance if the actors outnumber the audience. (Unless of course there happened to be a casting agent in the house.) I remember a particular production of Richard III (yes, think Richard Dreyfuss in The Goodbye Girl?) when the cast of fifteen put the policy to the test on numerous occasions.
Whether or not we cancelled shows (I don’t think the producer was in on the compact), the principle is clear. Don’t squander your talents on less-than-ample audiences. Or, more pointedly: what if you put on a show and nobody comes? Read more »
Editors note:The following post was written and submitted too me for the blog after regular listener Mihaela Blaga, a librarian from Romania, wrote me a very nice email describing her work and her success using storytelling as the focus of a retreat in her native county. B. W.
Hi Eric and readers of the Art of Storytelling Blog,
For me this first storytelling camp was a wonderful experience and also a dream that became reality…..
I decided to have a really entertaining program for this camp, so that it would be special for the children, a really story camp. We had trips, stories, fire camp, parties and of course we played a lot with the sleighs in the snow.
During the three days of camp, we had four storytelling workshops.
I started the “program of stories” with a beautiful one about forgiveness and about what it means to have a good heart full of love and friendship instead of hate or anger, and so, I gave a Read more »
or Teaching Without Pressuring the Teacher to Teach or the Child to Learn
Stories and songs are natural teachers and create natural paths to literacy.
Stir a child’s imagination with stories, songs, and poems, and you feed the roots of learning. Once memorized, a single sentence from a piece of prose, a song, or a poem, creates a model for many hundreds of sentences to come.
The linguistic significance of these models looks deceptively simple, but every sentence or stanza, no matter how short, is packed with grammatical and syntactic models. Let’s take a closer look at one simple stanza from my song, Bug in My Hand:
There’s a bug in my hand,
and it climbed on my nose,
and it played a bass drum,
bum, bum, bum, bum.
Here are a few of the grammatical (syntactic) structures in this one short stanza. Read more »
Recently I was asked again what books I recommend for a school age. They asked me for a detailed list of books hmmm What follows is the 11 anthologies that I would suggest for classroom use – These books are not just for teacher or students. I will return to a picture book selection next week. – These are all amazing collections of stories form around the world that every teacher should have at there fingertips. Read more »
I began telling stories as a member of an acting ensemble in 1976, presenting storytelling as a major part of our repertoire. We worked primarily in park and recreation centers and schools. As members moved away or went into other fields, we evolved into – and I co-founded – the Black Storytellers Alliance (BSA) in direct response to the demand for storytelling to deliver the inspirational and cultural lessons embodied in our stories.
Early on I encouraged members of the audience to share the storytelling space by becoming a part of the story and one of the characters in the story. On many occasions, I was unable to use all the audience members who wanted to participate! It was wonderful to have so many trying to Read more »
Press Play to hear Dr. Sherry Norfolk speak on why would should use storytelling in school settings on the Art of Storytelling with Brother Wolf.
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Why storytelling should be in Schools.
Sherry Norfolk Writes…
Last year, I taught a 3rd grade storytelling and creative writing residency in St Louis. The kids I worked with were typical – meaning that every child was different from every other child. They each had unique interests, skills and abilities. They each had different life experiences and different needs. Typical class, right? So; what? Why am I telling you about these typical kids?
Because they WERE typical! Because in that class, there were some kids who HATED to write and some kids who NEVER paid attention in class and some kids who HATED to get up in front of people for any Read more »
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