I am equally at home with audiences from pre-school age to adults. Time is usually provided for the autographing of books.
(for older youth & adults)
CREATIVE WRITING WORKSHOP (older students)
The workshop begins with a discussion that addresses the practical need for detail in the creation of convincing writing. In this activity I will use personal examples, diagrams, and student response to illustrate the movement from generality to detail.
Prior to beginning the central writing activity of the workshop, I will briefly describe free-writing (also called pre-writing). Here I will not only describe the basic procedures, but provide a background of this activity’s utility.
The centerpiece of the workshop will be a written exploration of scars (metaphor may be changed depending upon the nature of the participants) that will allow students to utilize not only their previous discussion of detail and free writing, but also to draw upon their memories and senses in the creation of a short story or reminiscence.
Before the conclusion of the workshop, I will also illustrate how the revision process can be brought to bear upon the subsequent shaping of this day’s writing.
WRITING AND STORYTELLING WORKSHOP (younger students)
This workshop will include participatory storytelling activities, as well as an examination of the author’s written texts as the basis for understanding both writing and revision. As children learn to “tell” the oral stories they will hear, they will have reinforced for them the rhythms and images that enable any story to be “retold.”
As regards writing I will take one story (ALL THE WAY TO MORNING) and have the children create “their own” page to add to this cumulative tale. This also helps to personalize this distinctively multi-cultural story. With another story (ONLY ONE) the children will brainstorm alternative lines and in the process be introduced to what it might mean to “revise” a story of their own.
ACTIVITIES FOR GRADES K & 1
Storytelling may include the following: Little Orphan Annie, The Gunnywolf, The Frog Trap, Grandpa’s Courtin Grandma, The Princess and the Pea, How Rabbit Brought Fire, Epanimondas, and Sody Saleratus. Written texts to be shared in their entirety may include the author’s books, ONLY ONE, ALL THE WAY TO MORNING, ROADS, as well as excerpts from his others. The author will offer age-appropriate reflections upon the importance of reading, writing, and school.
DESCRIPTION OF STORYTELLING WORKSHOP
Titled Finding and Telling, I emphasize in this hands-on workshop not only how to tell* stories, but how to make selections best suited to particular age groups. My introductory remarks will briefly outline the history of storytelling in an effort to place our activities in context. In addition to discussing the selection process, I will highlight such topics as setting, voice, pace, and adaptation of specific stories. I will supply a simply outline for telling to participants, as well as teach these same individuals a story or two they can take home.
*This need not imply memorized storytelling but could include simple oral reading aloud of picture and story books.
I can present a reading of either my poems or my children’s stories. I have also presented readings in which I have read from both. I am accustomed to accepting questions from the audience at the conclusion to the reading.
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