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As a busy and dedicated professional storyteller and touring artist, I have established a large repertoire of personal and traditional tales to entertain audiences of all ages. Since 1996, my work has included performances for schools, libraries, concerts, conferences, festivals and community events in several states around the country. During the past 4 years, I have developed and regularly provide storytelling programs to audiences in senior living communities, including people dealing with memory care issues. If you would like more information about my work, or if you are interested in booking a storytelling show, please send a message via the contact link below.  

 

IN THIS ISSUE:

What Happened to the Last Newsletter?
Squirrely Shirley and Fry-Fry
Squirrely Shirley and Fry-Fry!
Our efforts to launch the “Squirrely Shirley Meets Fry-Fry!” show to take on tour in 2012 have prevented me from issuing a newsletter for several months. I apologize for this time of silence, but I feel certain that some of you may have experienced times like this and will be able to forgive this break in my otherwise steady stream of communication. Please know that every effort will be made to get back on track in 2012 with the stories, storytelling hints, educational connections, and resources you have come to enjoy for the last two years.

 
                
School Artist-in-Residence Programs
In January and February many schools start thinking about the idea of an artist-in-residence to share their art form with students during the next school year. This is because state art commissions and councils start accepting grant applications at this time.
If you are part of a committee to select an artist-in-residence, you can expect all artists listed on state rosters to understand and be ready to connect their work with related educational learning standards and core concepts. While the goals of every school are different, and the length of time for a residency can range from one to four weeks, measurable educational outcomes can be achieved. By asking an artist to provide a lesson plan, the committee will have a better idea about how the residency will complement the curriculum.
Here are a few points I covered in a recent request for a 3rd grade storytelling lesson plan where the school expressed interest in having this core group of students tell stories before an audience at the end of a four-week residency.
Residency Goals: 
1) To reinforce Six Traits of Writing, English Language Arts Standards and Core Concepts.
2) To prepare students to tell stories to others.
Ties to 3rd Grade Curriculum:
* Literature (folktales from around the world)
* Social Studies (how people use stories to teach and how stories help people understand the world around them)
* Math (sequencing, fractions)
* Science (rocks, plants, animals, ecosystems)
* Geography (origins of stories and how they have traveled around the world)
* History (how stories provide a glimpse of how things were)
Core Group Objectives:  
By the end of this residency, each student will
1)  Know how listening and imagination contribute to story development.
2) Understand how to evaluate storytelling, story ideas, content and presentation.
3) Experience the use of story organization, voice, word choice and expression.
4) Understand how to create an original story.
5) Select a story to tell.
6) Know different ways to learn and recall a story.
7) Understand and participate in the process of appreciations and suggestions.
8) Know and understand the need for stage discipline when doing a show with others.

9) Participate in a culminating celebration of stories.


 Students Enjoy a Story During a Residency
Teacher Resources

The following white paper provides an overview of some of the basic standards I address during a storytelling residency for language arts and theater arts. Click here to view.

I think you will enjoy reading this recent article about the arts and teaching.

Since most of my residency work takes place in Arizona and Nevada, I am providing links to the Standards Pages for these two states.

Arizona Department of Education K-12 Academic Standards

http://www.azed.gov/standards-practices/

Nevada Department of Education Standards
I hope you enjoy “Señor Coyote,” the Mexican folktale
included in this newsletter. It is an excellent story to tell to students in grades 3 and up. It is a particularly useful if you are introducing Spanish language acquisition, because you can sprinkle in appropriate Spanish words during the telling. Here are a few to get you started:
Gracias – thank you
Los ojos – eyes
Las orejas – ears
Los pies – feet
La cola – tail
     Sr. Coyote
           Señor Coyote takes a stroll

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A Story to Tell

Señor Coyote (an adaptation of a story from Mexico)
Señor Coyote is sometimes very smart, and sometimes very silly. One day, Señor Coyote was running through the desert. It was a beautiful day, and Señor Coyote had not a care in the world. Just then, over the side of a small hill came two dogs. Señor Coyote now knew he had to stop running for pleasure, since dogs and coyotes are natural enemies.
Just then, Señor Coyote remembered that he was a fast runner, and that he had outrun two dogs before. They were no match for him! So, while he ran to stay in front of them, he also teased the dogs by weaving back and forth.  Everything was going well until two more dogs, bigger than the other two, joined in the chase.
“Oh, dear,” thought Señor Coyote. “Now I must run for my life, for I do not know if I can outrun four dogs.” So, Señor Coyote stopped teasing the dogs and ran as fast as he could. When he started to get tired, and the dogs were gaining on him, Señor Coyote looked for some place to hide.
At last, he saw a small cave at the top of a mountain. He ran toward it as fast as he could, and the dogs got closer to him the farther up the mountain he ran. Just in the nick of time, Señor Coyote jumped into the cool darkness of the cave that was too small for those big dogs. The dogs stood at the entrance of the cave and told Señor Coyote to come out and “play.” Señor Coyote was too smart to be fooled by his enemies, so he decided to stay in the cave until they got tired of waiting.
As Señor Coyote walked back into the cave, he was filled with pride, for he realized he had outrun four big dogs. He wanted to brag to someone about this fine deed, so he looked around to see if there were bugs or spiders he could brag to. When he saw that the cave had no bugs or spiders, he did the next best thing: he spoke to his feet.
“Feet, are we not wonderful? Today we outran four big dogs!”
His feet replied, “Sí, Señor Coyote. Your feet are truly wonderful, for without your feet, you would not have been able to run so fast for so long.”
“Gracias. Thank you my feet,” said Señor Coyote.
Next, he spoke to his ears: “Ears, today we outran four big dogs. What did you do to bring us to the safety of this cave?
His ears responded, “Señor Coyote, it was your ears that told you how close those dogs were so you could tell your feet how fast to run.”
“This is true. Thank you my ears.”
Then, Señor Coyote spoke to his eyes: “Eyes, how did you keep us safe from those dogs?”
“Ah,” said his eyes, “Your eyes are the most important for your safety, for without your eyes, you never would have seen the cave and find a place to hide.”
“Yes. You have my gratitude. Thanks to you, my eyes.”
Next, Señor Coyote spoke to his tail. “Tail, what did you do.” The tail did not respond.
Señor Coyote demanded that the tail tell him what he did, and at last the tail spoke: “Señor Coyote, I did nothing – unless it was to wave like a flag to tell the dogs where you were!”
“What?” said Señor Coyote. “You are a traitor. I want you out of this cave. Out, out, out!” And with that, Señor Coyote backed his tail out the cave.

I am sorry to tell you this, but that was the first time the dogs caught Señor Coyote – but it was not the last!
How to Tell This Story
This story is a lot of fun to tell and is best told using physical gestures and different voices during the dialog portions of the tale. Take your time when you do this in order to give the audience time to respond to the nonsense.
Use a funny voice and look at your feet when the feet respond. Be sure to wiggle a foot when you speak the words the feet have to say.
Select a higher or lower voice when you come to the section when the ears speak, touching your ears at the same time.
Point to your eyes and use yet another voice for the eyes. You might give the words spoken by the eyes a slower and more purposeful pace, and blink your eyes when they talk to Señor Coyote.
Don’t worry too much about Señor Coyote’s voice. It can simply be a slight modification of your own, particularly when he orders his tail out of the cave.
The more physical you can make this story when you tell it, the more your audience will enjoy it.
Please do not memorize the story, just recall the sequence and tell it for the fun of it. Don’t worry if you forget a part in the tale, just stop and tell your listeners what you forgot and get on with where you left off. This will make the story much more fun for you to tell.