Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Frog Pond. Marilyn A. Hudson

A frog sat by a pond and sang out mighty low
Burump- Burump - Burump
all day long the frogs sang so -
Burump - Burump - Burump

A fish swam all around a big, blue pond
Gulp -gulp- gulp
all the day long the fish swan so

A bee flew all around the pond and this is what he said.
Buzz- buzz -buzz
all the day long the bee flew around so
Buzz- buzz- buzz

A bird flew over the pond and this is what she said…..
Chirp -chirp -chirp
all day long the bird flew around singing
Chirp- chirp -chrip

All around - al around - all around the pond they sang

What Storytellers Wish They Could Tell Schools

BOOKENDS: What Storytellers Wish They Could Tell You

1. Know why it is that you want to expose your students to the art of storytelling. As you clearly define what role you hope oral tradition will play in your class or school life you will also be helping the performer to know how to craft the visit for mutual satisfaction. “We thought a storyteller would be fun!” is a good reason but far better are: “ We were studying various art forms and wanted the oral arts represented” , “We’ve been studying folklore and myth and thought the students hearing stories communicated in a traditional and ancient manner would add to the lessons,” or “ We thought that since children learn in so many diverse ways that a storyteller –bringing an auditory component – would bring an excellent dimension to the event.”
2. Clear with your building administrator to make sure that there are no problems with your plans and you have their support for bringing an enriching program to your class/library/school.
3. Place on school calendar. Get the information out early enough so that everyone gets to learn of the event, that information goes out on any mailings, or send-home packets.
4. Know how much you can spend to bring a professional teller into your setting. Some storytellers have firm price packages. Others may be more flexible, especially if they are not full time tellers. What might you use to barter a price with a storyteller? Can you guarantee a spot on the local cable TV show, a big write-up in the newspaper, or a secondary storytelling job in the same area?
5. Make sure that everything is placed in writing using a standard contract format that defines who, what, when, where, and how much. Any special additions/restrictions/etc. will need to be added to this and both parties sign and receive copies of the signed contract.
6. Plan for problems. Illnesses, missed flights, sudden death or loss of funding can all happen without warning. Remain flexible and even the worst case scenario will be much easier to handle.
7. Check with the administration about any special forms/clearances required by your system or administrative offices before a performer can a) visit your school and b) receive their check. Make sure your performer gets a copy of this in a timely manner so that payment is not unnecessarily delayed.
8. Advertise the visit among students, teachers, staff, and parents.
9. Prepare the groundwork for a wonderful experience by a) explaining your goal for the event, b) explaining storytelling, c) sharing audience etiquette with students and other staff.
10. Call or write close to the date to confirm all arrangements.
11. Provide clear directions to location.
12. Have someone on hand to a) greet (“Yes, you have the right place” b) direct (“The library is here, the restrooms here, etc.) and c) assist your guest storyteller (“would you like some water, a chair?”).
13. Make any necessary announcements prior to introduction. These may include last minute notices to staff and teachers, requests that pagers be turned off, and reminders about proper behavior.
14. Introduce your guest to the audience. If you are uncomfortable with introductions, ask the artist ahead of time to provide you with a script to use as you introduce them.
15. Thank your guest performer at the conclusion of the event. Even if the event was not all you hoped for it is a good role model for students and staff.
16. Follow up with a written thank you to the guest artist. Include copies of any PR material that may have appeared in newsletters, local papers, etc.

Just as the visiting artist should be expected to impress you with his or her level of professionalism….the teacher, administrator, librarian, or school district should also set out to impress the visiting artist that they are a place worth the artist’s time and effort.
Our school library is not able to fund the type of books necessary to encourage reading among my students.
Make Your Class A Star
· Partner with public library
· Foster parent-child use of the public library
· Motivate readers through a reward.

Community children are not reading
The Reading Club (I.E, “The Chapters CafĂ©”, “Curious George Bunch”, “Eager Readers”, etc.)

Our school library is outdated and unable to meet the demands of our older students.
“Roaming Research” in which school/class and local library collaborate on the research instruction process with a local reference librarian or children’s or young adult librarian.

I’d like to encourage the art among my students, but we don’t have any real enthusiasm for it at my school.
Contact the local library about displaying Student art projects to provide a means of promoting student artists.
Team with the local library for an afterschool or Saturday artists-in-residence type program combining funds and library space.
Unite to promote drama, storytelling, writing, and music.

My school lacks a real connection to its community. I’d like to have them come to appreciate the heritage that exists.
Local History Alive!; An Oral History Project, planned in cooperation with the local library.
This provides older students with an opportunity to learn valuable communication skills (interviewing), writing skills, gain new awareness of local and oral history.
The public library could donate space for interviews, promote it, help with recording, and perhaps add it to their permanent local history collection.
Also, consider a panel discussion at the public library to address local politics and government.

Too many young children are entering Kindergarten without necessary skills and preparation to succeed in school.
Success by 6

The Metropolitan Library System’s adoption of the philosophy of a family friendly and parent empowering public library is one example of a means by which the library partners with area community agencies to provide valid information referrals for parents, offers developmentally appropriate programs for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary age children.
Working in conjunction with other community agencies – such as the “Success By Six” program of United Way, the Child Advocacy Institute, Reach Out and Read, and many others – the library system has made helping children succeed a priority. Recognizing that all current research indicates that the years leading up to formal schooling are crucial for success while in school, the library is targeting county children ages birth to three years of age. The goal: educate parents about the vital role they play as a child’s first teacher, encourage and model reading with children, help place books into the hands of both parents and children.


Let Me Tell You A Story. M. Hudson


“Once upon a time…”
Remember the wonder those words could create when you were a child? With just a few simple words, transport you into a new, marvelous place filled with mystery, laughter, and knowledge. That same feeling can be found if you are a storyteller.
The humor of the human experience has always held a significant place of honor but many are discovering the varied world of the story. This ancient art form, once relegated to children’s programs in schools or libraries, is being rediscovered by adults as a marvelous way to communicate, to share their experiences in the workplace, and to assist in the process of physical and emotional healing.
· Kylia uses stories to excite her sixth grade science class. Using a “rest of the story” approach she lures students into discovering the adventure behind major discoveries.

· Pat has been opening her board meetings with stories that put the human face on the company. Problems are shared, behaviors corrected, not through accusations, but through stories that invite participation in problem solving.
· Darla addresses her church , not through sermons or lessons, but through stories that support and illustrate the values she wants to convey.
· Jane tells her patients stories as she cares for them in their homes or in the hospital. Believing that laughter is the best medicine in helping people deal with pain or struggle, she has a many funny, human stories that leave them with a smile and maybe a little courage to face their own problems.
· Maggie volunteers at a local library where she reads and tells stories to children as a surrogate grandmother. She knows that unless she does this, many children will never learn the stories, silly songs, or familiar folk tales that were such a joy in her own childhood.
So how does a person become a storyteller? If you have an interest in becoming a storyteller, it is easier than you might think. Many people enjoy sharing stories in a wide variety of settings. The often meet to swap stories, learn new skills, and spread the fun they have in telling a good tale.
In Oklahoma there is a state wide organization called The Territory Tellers (www.territorytellers.org or ttellers@yahoo.com) with a purpose of supporting storytelling in all of its many forms. Membership is open to anyone with an interest, as a teller or even a listener. Small groups meet at various locales around the state. Nationally there is
The National Storytelling Network (www.storynet.org). July 13-17, 2005, they will hold their national storytelling conference in Oklahoma City and the theme is “Movin’ On…Stories of Heart, Stories of Hope”.
Resources for storytelling are as near as your local public library or one from one the groups listed. Books of folktales, personal experiences, speeches, history, biography, newspaper articles, trivia, longer jokes (or several shorter ones strung together) can all be great sources for stories.
Learning can be easy and there is no memorization required.
1. Find a story you enjoy.
2. Read it over enough times so that you are very familiar with it.
3. Think about it. What does it mean? What does it remind you of?
4. Write a short version out. Read it aloud.
5. Visualize the parts of the story: the beginning, the middle, and the end.
6. Practice telling the story: out loud, in a mirror, to family and friends.
Before long you too can be a storyteller whose most common phrase might be….”let me tell you a story.”

Marilyn A. Hudson is a librarian, storyteller, and writer (www.marilynhudson.blogspot.com). She can be heard on the sampler storytelling CD “Falling Leaves and Stories Everywhere” produced by the Territory Tellers and has written an original Oklahoma tall tale found in the first Red Dirt Anthology (Shawnee, 2004) available in many libraries.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Wooden Bowl

There are many versions of this folktale - from many cultures - sometimes it is a bowl, sometimes a chair, sometimes a blanket,etc. This one came along via email so I am labeling the version as anonymous. If this is incorrect, please let me know.

The Wooden Bowl
A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year - old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.'We must do something about father,' said the son. 'I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.' So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner.
There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. The four-year-old watched it all in silence.
One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, 'What are you making?' Just as sweetly, the boy responded, 'Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up.'The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.
The words so struck the parents that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table.
For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.