Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Storytelling in Education

I was struck by a reading in my digital storytelling class this week that described how a teacher used stories to teach English as a second language. It was really interesting to know how adults continue to learn through stories and how teachers can enhance their stories through the use of simple techniques such as rhyming and repetition.

As a librarian I read to children almost every day and continue to struggle with making sure that I am incorporating early literacy skills into every storytime. I want to make sure that the children who attend my storytimes are learning through play. In the past it has been hard to determine what types of stories to include but through the readings and lectures in my digital storytime class I have learned that picking a good story is important but the delivery of the story it is also important, maybe more than the story itself. My Professor mentioned in her lecture that asking involving children in the storytime also improves the children's ability to absorb the ideas that are being presented. I think that starting this early in a child's development leads not only to children developing literacy skills but also being able to use stories in other aspects as life. Gaming for example, children can create games out of stories that they make up themselves and this gives them a social outlet. Whether they are socially popular or awkward using stories to relate to peers is a great way for children to learn about other people and cultures. Creating and sharing stories helps kids find a happy and positive place in their world.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

How I Met My Husband

Here is the story of how my husband and I met, it is the first digital story that I have created!
This is an updated version of the West African Cinderella folktale, Chinye. I added sound effects, and the end isn't cut off. Enjoy!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

The Wolf & the Crane

This is my retelling of Aesop's The Wolf & the Crane. 

And this is the story of how it was created. 

It was a warm summer Tuesday night when I sat down at my computer to start my third assignment, the most important and exciting yet. Since watching the tutorial videos at work earlier in the day I had a sinking feeling in my stomach that this was going to be a long and arduous night. I grabbed my huge iced coffee and started to load the tutorial videos.

After viewing the videos a second time I went to the inter webs to find a short story. I went straight to Aesop’s Fables and found one that was short and grabbed my interested: The Wolf and the Crane. I found a story with a bit of drama, action and, albeit dark, humor. I followed the directions and downloaded, started and tested audacity. I started to feel better about the assignment when the tech worked and it only took me 4 times to record an acceptable version of the story.

However, my concession had come too soon, because it took me the better part of the next couple of hours to find acceptable, free and public domain or free use sounds that I liked and fit my story. After finally finding some audio I discovered that adding and manipulating the tracks was easy and fun! I was starting to feel good about the assignment again.

I learned a lot from this assignment as well as having a really good time doing it. There was definitely a time that I felt overwhelmed and frustrated with the assignment, but it didn’t have to do with the tools or my story so I was able to overcome these feelings. This assignment also made me feel better about my final project because I have successfully learned another major competent that I will need to complete it. This was a great practice run; this assignment taught me how to use this tool, how to search for good sounds and little nuances like where I need to leave pauses or breaks in case I want to put sound effects in and that if I decide not to I can tighten it up later. 

Sunday, May 31, 2015

My road to storyteller

Since early childhood I have been surrounded by stories. At every family holiday, get together and dinner many conversations revolved around stories. My mother’s family owns a century and half farm in Eastern Iowa; my grandfather was born and died in the same house and that house was my second home. Whether the stories were about neighboring farms, family that wasn’t present or ancestors these stories were always rich and full of emotion. I have known my grandfather’s father and grandfather on a first name basis since I was 5 through the telling of their stories. I also grew up with my parents running a homeless shelter through the Catholic Worker Organization. When I was little the stories of the men, women and families they provided hospitality to, as well as the neighborhood I grew up in, had a deep effect on me and my life. I was taught at a young age that everyone has their journey in life and one of the most important things we can do for another human being was to listen and then help them along in that journey. I would sit in the common room with my parents or another adult who worked there and listen to the interviews that would determine whether the person could stay and how long. I became attached to many of our residents and I love to listen to the stories about me growing up there.

Here is the Peter Maurin House, one of the houses we lived and provided hospitality in.

And here are some of our guests.

As I grew up I developed a large personality and love for telling stories to my friends and family. I entered college unfocused and undirected and I left (7 years later) with no idea what I was going to do with my degree and a lifetime worth of loans.

I got a job as a leasing agent for a large apartment complex and I liked it well enough. I got to be around different types of people every day and liked hearing about why they were moving and helping them on that journey. I made great money because I was really good at listening to and connecting with people. However, I didn’t like my job. I had to be pushy and the people I worked for were racist and rude. A friend noticed a part time in the paper at a local library and suggested that I apply. It was not only a cut in hours, but also a significant cut in pay so even though I knew I would love the job I was very reluctant at first. I applied and got the job and it was a few years before I received full time and a few more years before I started making a salary I was happy with. From the moment I started at the library I knew I had found my forever career; working at the library was something that I enjoyed, that I was good at and that fulfilled me.

When I started working in a library I would always say that I liked to do a little bit of everything, which made circulation and patron services a perfect place and I thought that I would eventually like to be a director. I was surprised that as I continued to work in a library I actually developed a preference to something more specialize. I was drawn to working with children so I offered to fill in for our children’s librarian and do a storytimes. The first storytime I did I read a book called Always A Lot of Heinies at the Zoo 

but I was very nervous and read the title as Always A Lot of Hyenas at the Zoo....

...pretty different. Because of my lack of practice and confidence I thought there was no turning back once I had made this mistake and continued to read the whole book replacing heinies with hyenas. I got a couple of dirty looks from parents but the kids didn't mind at all and this was great lesson to me, kids loved to be read to, usually regardless of the circumstances. Each storytime I do, especially when I am trying something new, I remind myself to have fun and not to worry if I make a mistake, most of the parents won't care and the kids probably won't even notice.

I consider myself a natural social storyteller, but I it took a lot of practice to become a successful professional storyteller. I love telling stories because I can always improve and I love doing storytimes because I can make a storytime my own, my own theme, choose my own books. I love the freedom to express myself. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

For my first assignment I have chosen to record a podcast of the West African folktale, Chinye. This tale is similar to Cinderella. I find it interesting how many different cultures have versions of the Cinderella story and my husband is from West Africa and I have read this story with my girls many times. I hope you enjoy my telling of Chinye.