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As a teaching artist and professional storyteller, I have taught over 700 children the art of Oral Tradition for the past eighteen years and witnessed firsthand how valuable it is for my students. It has augmented their learning in a variety of ways:
- improved writing skills
- enhanced vocabulary
- increased cultural knowledge
- sparked their imaginations
- strengthened self-confidence
- developed positive interaction with their peers
Many of my students continue to use story and storytelling in many areas of their classroom work, in elementary, high school, college and into the business arena. It is a lifelong skill that will always serve them well.
Whether a child is learning remotely this year or has returned to the classroom, I hope you will consider merging storytelling into your activities, both to enlighten and entertain. To assist you I have compiled a variety of resources; while it is not an exhaustive list it is a useful starting point. You will find information and lesson plans on the following subjects, including articles, interviews, books and more. Here is an overview of the topics covered in this piece:
- Aesop Fables
- American Folklore
- Animal Fables
- English Language Arts
- Fractured Fairytales
- Lapsit Resources
- Lesson Plans
- Social Studies
- Storytelling in the Core Curriculum
- Trickster Tales
- World Cultures
- Writing Prompts
ABC Teach - Several ideas and links for story writing prompts on a variety of subjects and age levels.
Aesop and Ananse: Animal Fables and Trickster Tales – These lesson plans students will help students “become familiar with fables and trickster tales from different cultural traditions…”
Dragons and Fairy Tales in Science Class – “Using stories as a hook to grab students’ attention leads them to deep engagement with scientific concepts.”
Education World.com - Lesson plans on Ten Characters from American Folklore, Pecos Bill, Daniel Boone, Johnny Appleseed, and more.
Exploring World Cultures Through Folk Tales - Students will gain an appreciation of other cultures as they read and research folktales from around the world and present their story and research to the class.
Fables and Trickster Tales Around the World - Lesson plans, information and stories, everything you need to introduce your students to those globe-trotting tricksters, Anansi, Brer Rabbit, Fox, and Rabbit.
Fractured Fairytales – “This interactive tool gives students a choice of three fairy tales to read. They are then guided to choose a variety of changes, which they use to compose a fractured fairy tale to print off and illustrate. Useful for teaching point of view, setting, plot, as well as fairy tale conventions …this tool encourages students to use their imaginations and the writing process at the same time.”
Learning Math by Seeing It as a Story – An English teacher trigonometry asked students to explain an equation to a child and to turn discrete problems into a story.”
MathsThroughstories.org – This site offers book, lesson plans, how-to books, research articles and more to combine math and story!
Once Upon a Time - Lessons for teaching about fables, fairytales, folktales, legends, myths, and tall tales.
Story Elements Alive! English Language Arts – “After working collaboratively, students engage in independent activities such as completing a character map; a setting illustration; a problem/solution chart; a beginning, middle, and ending activity; and a story map.”
Storytelling and the Common Core Standards - If you are seeking information on how storytelling connects with the Common Core, YES (Youth, Education and Storytellers) offers a comprehensive, downloadable document full of information to make your case.
Storytelling and Drama – Carol Read shares how to “incorporate story-based lessons and drama activities into the English-language classroom.”
Storytelling in the Social Studies Classroom – “Students tell their own stories and explore the stories of other Americans. Hearing and telling these stories helps students realize that social studies is not simply the study of history, but an exploration of real people and their lives.”
ARTICLES AND INTERVIEWS
Developing Student Storytelling Skills to Set Up Future Career Success – “Anthropologists have long understood that storytelling helps us engage with others, share emotions and find common ground through personal experiences. It’s a part of our makeup as humans.”
National Council Teachers of English: Teaching Storytelling Position Statement - “Story is the best vehicle for passing on factual information. Historical figures and events linger in children’s minds when communicated by way of a narrative. The facts about how plants and animals develop, how numbers work, or how government policy influences history—any topic, for that matter—can be incorporated into story form…”
Storytelling in the First Three Years – An important article from The National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families. In part it states, “The richer the repertoire of storytelling styles a child is exposed to, the more possibilities for that child to develop his or her own powerful narrative voice…” There are additional resources on literacy, play, brain development and more.
Storytelling, Story Acting and Literacy in the Boston Public Schools – Fascinating interview about the program, Boston Listens, “based on Vivian Paley’s innovative storytelling and story-acting approach.”
Twelve Way to Integrate Storytelling in the Classroom – "Storytelling is a powerful method of communication… Following a character on a journey of exploration, empathizing with the character’s problem, yearning for a solution, and reveling in the outcome helps to shape our mental state.”
BOOKS TO COMPLEMENT THE CLASSROOM CURRICULUM
Easy to Read Folktale Plays to Teach Conflict Resolution
Science Through Storytelling: Strategies for the K-5 Classroom
The Storytelling Classroom- Applications Across the Curriculum
Raising Voices: Creating Youth Storytelling
Groups and Troupes
Story by Story: Creating a School Storytelling Troupe & Making the Common Core Exciting
Super Simple Storytelling: A Can-Do Guide for Every Classroom, Every Day
Teaching with Story: Classroom Connections to Storytelling
Write Right: Creative Storytelling Techniques
Looking for stories to share with your children? These three websites will lead the way.
Folklore and Mythology Electronic Texts – By far one of the most comprehensive sites on folklore and mythology from around the world. The tales are numerous and grouped alphabetically by genre.
Storybee – A terrific website with a wide-variety of storytellers sharing tales from around the world to entertain and enlighten your students.
Storybug Blog – This is my own blog where you will find thousands of stories on almost any culture, theme, subject, and holiday.
Drama Source – This UK site was created for drama teachers but there are games, strategies and lesson plans for parents and teachers alike.
Education World.com - Fourteen icebreakers to make the first day of school run smooth as silk. They would be fun to use throughout the year as well.
Learning Together: Educational Resources – Art, Music, Math and More – This is a blog filled with resources I put together when we first moved into remote learning. Lots of terrific information here.
Please note, websites change at a rapid pace and web links may change or break without notice. I cannot be responsible for redirected or broken links. At the time of this posting all links were in working order. Thank you for understanding.