How Does Storytelling Fit into High School Curriculum?
Most often, I perform for ENGLISH, HISTORY and DRAMA classes. My repertoire can be tailored to relate to a specific historical period or literary genre, from myth-filled ballads of antiquity to the protest songs of the twentieth century. Theme plays a central role as I help bridge the gap between the “then and now.” As always, story has a way of making complexities simple.
I tell stories as they were once told in villages and by story collectors throughout the early centuries, long before television, computers and technology came into our world.
These stories traveled with the storyteller and were delivered, often with musical accompaniment, to kings and queens, dignitaries, and to people in markets and courtyards; in the dark around fires or candles, and were heard in several countries around the world.
Bringing a storyteller to your classroom helps infuse your curriculum with the inspiration and creative mindset of the arts, while addressing complex themes, dramatic historical events, and exciting narratives.
In all of my workshops for students, I encourage diversity and inspiration for retaining ethnicity and culture through their writing, storytelling and singing. I believe it is essential that individuals embrace their ethnicity by sharing their specific cultural language, musical expression, heritage, and instrumentation with their peers and community, for a better understanding among us. This can be done very effectively through the arts. Storytelling and songwriting can apply to media studies, history, and social justice issues, as well as many topics of study that relate to curriculum.
STORYTELLING & WRITING: Writing & comparing stories to “tell” with written stories. Examining sequence of events and patterning in story. How to write using your own “voice” based on a “really” good model story and how to get ideas!
SONGWRITING: Writing for your target audience – Songwriting vs. Poetry – How to Write a “really” good song based on a really good model song.
Arts Infused Workshops
Vincent Massey Public School. Teacher: Stephanie Pokulok.
Grade 8 class facilitating students with oral presentation skills and learning respectfully how to tell First Nations legends, and learning to use a microphone. Students presented orally to grades 2 & 3 and recorded a compilation CD entitled Circle of Stories, Native Legends Across Canada at a professional studio.
“Thank you sooo much for all your help. I remember in the beginning I would hardly say my story, but now I can say it no problem!” — Michelle (grade 8 student)
“It (the recording studio) was the most fun trip I will ever take and probably one of the only times, this opportunity will ever come!” — Emily (grade 8 student)
Sinclair Secondary HS. Teacher: George O’Toole
Grade 12 University Writer’s Craft: – students developed comfort and confidence in delivering personal poetry orally through fun, interactive storytelling exercises and activities, guest speakers, use of microphone, coaching, and non-threatening open in-class critique discussions and produced the CD Passionate Voices, a collection of their personal poetry.
“What we both recognized was how the classroom dynamics from the beginning of the year had changed for the better. The students were all mingling and talking and laughing, and writing from the heart.” — George O’Toole