Around the World with Cinderella

Buggy Kentucky
science + stories








Mary Hamilton can visit your school or community for a week or longer as an artist-in-residence. What happens during an arts residency? That depends on what you want.

In some residencies, Mary has told stories and/or conducted workshops with a variety of groups within a single school or with groups at various locations throughout a community. To learn more about activities for this type of residency, see performances and workshops.

In other residencies, Mary has facilitated multi-day projects with single class-sized groups. The projects described below are suitable for single class-sized groups who meet with Mary for five or more sessions.

Storytelling and Developing Literacy (Preschool, Kindergarten)
Project activities:

  1. Telling children many folktales to develop listening skills and exercise their imaginations
  2. Leading the children in informal dramatizations of the folktales told
  3. Soliciting and writing down tales dictated by individual students
  4. Leading informal dramatizations of the student-authored tales

Project goals:

  • To increase student listening skills
  • To increase student ability to visualize or imagine based on oral language
  • To help students construct connections between the marks I make on paper and the actions of the actors on stage when stories students dictate are informally dramatized

This project uses storytelling for literacy development - a significant preschool and kindergarten activity.

Explore A Story (Primary, Intermediate)
Project goal:

To increase understanding of the world of a story by helping students use their imaginations and their intellect to explore a story

Project activities:

  1. Telling the story (or reading a teacher-selected tale aloud)
  2. Retelling the story through round robin retelling
  3. Informally dramatizing the tale
  4. Interviewing characters
  5. Drawing, writing, and researching (depending on age and skills of the group) to learn even more about the story

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Storytelling & Storyboarding to Develop Personal Narratives (Primary, Intermediate)
Project goal:

Student development of written drafts of personal narratives.

Project activities:

  1. Informal student storytelling to choose a topic
  2. Creation of visual storyboards
  3. More informal storytelling and storyboard revision
  4. Using revised storyboards to create written rough drafts of personal narratives

(See Using the Artistic Response Process for a project that addresses revision.)

Creating New Stories from Old (Primary - Grade 12, grade levels vary depending on the tales used - see examples at the end of the project description)
Project goals:

  • To help students understand that the same story pattern provides the foundation for many folktale variants
  • To use a story pattern to create a new story

Project activities:

  1. Tell/read to students multiple tales with the same pattern
  2. Help students identify the pattern
  3. Guide students in the creation of new stories that use the same pattern. Depending upon the age and skills of the students, this activity may involve storyboarding and retelling; storyboarding and writing; or outlining and writing. Retelling to partners or small groups will also be used to aid students in developing their story ideas.

Here are some sample patterns for different ages:

Young Primary Students

  • Runaway food stories (ex. "The Bun" and "The Gingerbread Man")

Primary Students

  • "The Tailor" a folktale where a tailor begins with a coat, recycles it into a jacket, recycles again and again until he is left with nothing but a story to tell. Two picture books, Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman (Scholastic, 1992) and Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback (Viking 1999) retell this same folktale. Students have created a farmer who begins with a barn hit by a tornado, recycles the wood into a corn crib only to be hit by more storms, followed by more rebuilding until all that is left is a mailbox post, then a story.

Older Primary and Intermediate Students

  • Traveling companions stories. Examples include "Jack and the Robbers," "Drakestail," "The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship." In the first part of these stories, a character travels gathering companions. In the second part trouble begins and the companions use their skills to help save the day.
  • Tales of kind and unkind girls (although women, boys, and men can be main characters too) - Examples include "Toads and Diamonds," and "The Talking Eggs." In these stories two main characters, faced with equal opportunities reap very different results because of their different approaches to the world.
  • Cinderella tales. Hundreds of variants of "Cinderella" exist. Some are traditional folktales. Today's writers have deliberately placed others in new settings. Once students are exposed to the variety beyond the animated and musical versions most have seen before, they create wonderful new possibilities.

Grade 4 and up

  • Hero's Journey tales - In these tales, the hero/heroine leaves the comforts of the familiar and goes out into the world. Along the journey, the hero is tested (sometimes once; sometimes repeatedly) and to pass the test must give up something of importance or perform a good deed. If/when the hero passes the test, the hero receives what will be needed (ex. magic, advice) to be successful in overcoming adversity and establishing a better life. Using this pattern produces more diverse stories than those created with use of any other pattern. In fact, folk and fairy tales have been following this pattern for centuries. Many modern writers rely on it as well.

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Using the Artistic Response Process (Middle & High School; with some modifications, this process will also work with Intermediate & Primary students)
Project goals:

  • To teach students and their teachers the Artistic Response Process (ARP), a formal artist-centered process for responding to creative work, developed from the work of Liz Lerman and Doug Lipman
  • To use ARP for the revision of student writing

Skills developed through the project:

  • How to give honest, specific, and useful compliments in response to the work of others
  • How writers can form questions about their work that go well beyond "Is it any good?" to engage those responding to the work in an exploration of the writer's goals
  • How to respond by asking appropriate questions and making suggestions that honor the goals of the writer
  • How to take care of the writer so the writer feels ready to revise their work after experiencing an ARP session, not battered, berated, and wondering if the work will ever have any merit
  • How to take notes so the writer will have a record of the ARP session

Project activities:

  1. Modeling the use of the ARP with the whole class teaching students each step of the five-step process
  2. Modeling and providing practice for students in doing jobs (writer, process monitor, recorder, responders) needed for using the ARP in small groups
  3. Once students develop proficiency using the ARP as a class, sending them into small groups to continue developing their skills using this process

This project fits best into the writing process after students have written a rough draft and before they have done so much revising they are losing enthusiasm for examining their work. Kentucky's teachers are expected to 1) help their students in the creation of a variety of written work; 2) engage their students in peer revising and peer editing as part of the writing process, and 3) help students develop the ability to work effectively in small groups. This project provides a starting point for work to meet all those expectations.

Learning Folktales, Shaping Folktale Retellings (a proposed project for high school students)

This is a half-day (four hour) intensive workshop when I lead it with adult storytellers. I believe it would lend itself well to high school writing classes as a way of quickly playing with the impact changing single elements can have on stories.

Project Activities:

  1. I would use the short folktale, "Jack and the Wishgiver," teaching the story to students the same way I teach it to adults - using a variety of multiple-intelligence approaches. Methods include outlining setting, plot, characters, and creating conversations, musical retellings, tableaus, sound poems, and story maps. Everyone would become familiar with the tale quickly.
  2. Next, I would add the concept that tellers make discoveries during the learning of a story that become decisions that shape a teller's retelling of the tale. The students would select (by random draw of a card) a "decision." Then, each student would shape a retelling/rewriting of the story that reflects the decision on the card.
  3. By comparing the same very short story told in a variety of ways, students would be able to quickly see how choices/decisions change the tale. Here are just a few of the "decisions" I have developed for this workshop (each one a different card in a twenty-six card set).
  • Theme: Ask and you shall receive (for Jack doing this requires courage).
  • Theme: Be careful what you wish for because you just might get it exactly.
  • Jack's goal: To use my one wish to help those near and dear to me.
  • Jack's goal: To outsmart the wishgiver. Jack believes himself to be smarter than anyone so he does not expect this goal to be difficult.
  • From the point of view of the child: Other parents may tell their children they are brought by the stork, found in a cabbage patch, or even explain the birds and the bees, but my folks tell me . . .
  • What if the wishgiver is new to the job? This encounter with Jack is the wishgiver's first opportunity to grant a wish.
  • You have decided clothing can reveal character, and you want to use clothing as a symbol in your version of the story.
  • The narrator is omniscient (all knowing) so the inner thoughts of all characters can be revealed.
  • The narrator cannot see into anyone's thoughts, so the story must be told through characters' observable actions, expressions, and conversations. No inner thoughts allowed.

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The Art of Telling Stories (Grades 3 - 12)
Project goals:

  • To help students learn the characteristics of the art of storytelling
  • To help students increase their ability to use storytelling tools (body, voice, gestures, facial expression, imagination)
  • To help students shape the telling of a story for an audience

Project activities:

  1. Modeling the art of storytelling
  2. Helping students select stories for telling
  3. Teaching students how to learn a story without memorizing the words
  4. Guiding student retellings of stories, by helping them learn how to use various storytelling tools (body, voice, gestures, facial expression, imagination)
  5. Teaching students how to listen and respond to one another to bring out each other's best work
  6. Assisting students with the organization of an opportunity for them to tell their stories to other classes in their school.

This project involves students in in-depth exploration and practice of the storytelling art. Teacher involvement must be high. In most cases, Mary would not be present for every activity, but would begin activities that the classroom teacher would work with students to complete. For example, Mary could model storytelling and give selection tips, then, in Mary's absence, the students can read to locate stories they wish to learn to retell. Then Mary would return to teach students how they can learn the stories without memorizing the words. Throughout the project, Mary and the classroom teacher would need to work together closely.

To learn more about any of these projects or to suggest variations you feel would be more appropriate for your students, please contact Mary.

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Mary Hamilton, Professional Storyteller
65 Springhill Road, Frankfort, KY 40601-9211
Phone: 1-502-223-4523