(Written by Dusty Skye)
Whether you are a Teacher, Trader, or Candlestick Maker you are aware of the magic and mystery in the playing of a tale. You smell it, see it, hear it and feel it when you give yourself over to a taleteller -- be that taleteller a presenter, performer, song, movie, tv show, relative, stranger or billboard ad.
You may feel the stirrings, the yearning, to be the weaver of such a spell.
Release your Power. Cultivate the Power of those around you.
You have the wherewithal to facilitate and encourage your "charges" -- the children in your lives. Encourage their creativity, imagination, self esteem, and self confidence. Cultivate a sense of wonder, problem-solving abilities and develop their skills in decision-making. You can provide activities that children (no matter the age) feel their control in; recognize their independence as well as interdependence; and create feelings of enjoyment in success.
Yes. You ... the parent, caretaker, play-room attendant, sibling or summer camp facilitator. You ... the therapist, workshop facilitator, event producer, hotelier, amusement or theme park director, festival producer, or interested bystander.
You do not have to be a professional storyteller, book reader, or performer.
How? By recognizing that communication is storytelling.
1. Remember there is a story in everything.
2. Read aloud to your "charges".
3. Encourage your charges to tell you how bits of their day went (and for that 15 minutes a day, do your level best to keep your judgment and exasperation out of the picture).
4. Produce, co-ordinate, or support events that promote taletelling in all or any of its aspects.
One simple method (and one of my favorites) is what I call The Tale Maker. Your charges create a tale with minimal guidance from you and lots of encouragement from you. No, you donít have to be a writer, a performer or a storyteller, however, many of us use the technique in our performances.
Create a deck of cards with pictures on them. You can have them premade. If appropriate for the age group you can have the participants create their own "deck" as the crafting combines three of the modes of learning (audio, kinesthetic and visual) that stays with them much longer than by just observing.
I will start the instructions for generating a deck for those that feel íless than confidentí in their crafting abilities.
a) Obtain cardstock
Old index cards, cut up cereal or cardboard boxes, fancy-dancy cardstock for memory books, backs of paperpads, or whatever other material is handy or fits your budget.
b) Collect pictures out of magazines, old TV Guides, books, newspapers, posters, coloring books, or whatever else you can get your hands on.
c) Glue, tape, Velcro or otherwise secure the pictures to the cardstock.
d) Share (with glee and unbridled enthusiasm) that your charges (kids or audience) are going to tell the tale.
e) Start with the ending. (To get somewhere or create or manifest itís extremely helpful to have a well-defined goal.)
You can memorize a few of these or have them handwritten out on scraps of paper for your charges to draw-out-of-a- hat. Or you can have them printed from your computer and adhered to more cardstock. Since this article has grown longer than I envisioned it, if youíd like some ending suggestions simply e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your request for endings.
f) Then use this basic formula:
There was a _____________. (pull out one of the pictures - hereinafter in known as Picture 1)).
Who (pull out another picture - hereon out known as Picture 2) (Use a relationship similar to: was, had to, found that, realized, saw)
What was stopping "Picture 1" from "Picture 2" was________________. (pull out a 3rd picture)
To solve the challenge of "Picture 3" "Picture 1" had to __________________ (pull out the 4th picture). (Use a relationship similar to: find, seek, share, play with, recover, unearth).
So then, "Picture 1" decided to __________________. (Ask your charges for suggestions, if they have none, pull another picture. Then give your charges the chance to offer how that picture fits into what "Picture 1" decided to do.)
Finally, _________________ was how they solved the dilemma. (Again ask your charges for suggestions, and if they have none, pull another picture. Again give your charges the chance to offer how that picture fits into what the solution is.
The solution is the ending that was created at the beginning of the story.
Embellish through-out this process. Give your charges the okay to embellish with you. Enhance, facilitate and encourage brainstorming from your charges. The more comfortable you feel with the "form" - change it, improv with it, and let it grow, providing relationships when your charges seem ílostí.
The more often you and your charges play The Tale Maker game, the greater your (and their) skills in both communication and taletelling become.
You can use this with children or adults; as a teaching tool; as a performing tool; as a general communication tool. Come to think of it - itís just about the perfect all purpose tool and can be adapted to nearly any situation or event.