The other day I was visiting a writer friend of mine and she said she wanted to write a children's story. A story in which the reader can extrapolate the meaning and come out better for it. My very eloquent friend started to tell me her story ideas based on interviews she had conducted in poor communities around Brazil. The stories she told me were heart wrenching. The way she transcribed them was engaging. I started thinking about what was appropriate subject matter. What realities do characters face in stories...

We are constantly becoming more and more visual. Our social media communication includes sharing images. We share pictures, we comment on pictures, we like pictures. It's all very simple and immediate. Using picture books with small children is a way in which they can use simple language communication skills. They can simply like, share and or comment on the picture and infer meaning. That being said, we don't need to limit topics to simple children's books. We can use pictures from newspapers and magazines as well. Children can infer meaning,...

Many times when hearing story, students will not understand every word being spoken. Many times students can deduce the meaning from the context of the story. They might ask about a word, or a phrase in order to understand the situation presented in the storyline. Sometimes it's necessary to adapt language in order to be understood by the audience. Another option is to explain the situation or happenstance in other words. Story telling is about real life using real language. I find it hard to tell a story using...

Something needs to happen to someone to make a story. How we tell that event is what makes or breaks the story. I love stories that begin " I remember ". That catch phrase for me, transports me to wherever the story teller is willing to take me. " I remember" validates a happenstance. " I remember" tells me it's true, or it was true, or it could somehow still be true. " I remember" could answer why questions, how questions, who questions, when questions...

At the end of last year, the cup song was a total hit. Kids, boys and girls, were all doing the cup song and variations of such. There are videos on YouTube of individuals and groups doing the Cup Song. You can do it with one cup, many cups, one child or a group. There is rhythm, repetition and fun. Cup song was a phenomenon for the third grades up, however the younger kids have the classic clapping games. Patty cake and Little Bunny Foo Foo are classic examples. Finger...

When telling a story, common practice usually entails reading from the book and showing your audience the picture. This makes sense in that the picture informs the listener what, and who the story is about. Another visual supplement may be flash cards and/or story cards. Today, more than ever, we record what we've experienced by applying an image by easy accessibility to picture taking and picture sharing via social media. Its very easy to take many pictures. Its super easy to post pictures. The shared picture becomes an image...

Props can be anything used to aid in the telling of a story. The audience needs to be made to believe that the object is representative to some aspect of the story. Tell the story, because the audience wants to believe. In the classroom, props can be used throughout the story or just as a trigger at a turning point in the audience imagination. Props can be chosen to be the focus of vocabulary words, or for teaching actions or expressions. Props could be maps, balls, cookies, a stone,...

While waiting for a jazz class that wasn’t going to happen, my ten year old daughter and her friend start knocking on the door. “They bang and cry, let me in! I am the big bad wolf!” It must be over half her lifetime since she has heard the story The Three Little Pigs and yet, knocking forcefully on the door recreates the big bad wolf image for her. I started to pay more attention. She is reading Harry Potter now and concerned about the world turning in on itself, translating Hogwarts...

There is a lot of theory that can go into storytelling. Lots of ideas and lots of games and exercises for the classroom. I hope to touch upon those topics and others in this blog. I hope to be challenged, to share ideas, and to learn from the experience of others. Stories are the way in which we communicate with one another. They are the way in which we answer questions, the build-up until you get to the punch line of jokes, gossip, news, interviews, and shared conversations. Stories surround...