Laughter, animal noises and funny voices rang through the halls of TCS today, as students were delighted by a visit from storyteller Megan Wells. Students in the lower grades enjoyed the tall tale of Paul Bunyan, while older grades were treated to a thought-provoking version of the Trojan War. This is our third visit from Ms. Wells and the fifth year TCS has participated in an Illinois Storytelling program that sends professional tellers into area schools. Illinois Storytelling is hosting the Family Festival of Stories this Friday, at Dominican University, and all TCS families receive a free pass.
TCS Librarian, Polly Smith, organized Ms. Well’s visit and has been working with students in grades 2--4 in preparation, sharing and discussing American tall tales. “This is such a rich topic, once I started exploring these tales and learning about their origins, I was hooked. Then the challenge was to find some tales that feature women and people of color--working to get a broader representation than what many of us may remember from our childhood” Ms. Smith plans to follow up Ms. Well’s visit with more classroom work, reading and having students write their own tall tales.
The storytelling presentation in the middle level classrooms also connected to what the students are currently studying. The Trojan War was the perfect choice, as those classrooms are working on the topics of war and mythology. Seventh grade teacher, Melissa Barone, found Ms. Well’s visit particularly helpful to her students. “The kids prepared questions for Ms. Wells, to support our myth-writing project. My students and I were thrilled to have an expert share to story-writing and -telling process with us. I can’t wait to see how they utilize her advice in their original myths”.
There is more storytelling to be enjoyed, this Friday evening, 6--8 pm. Illinois Storytellers presents the Family Festival of Stories, featuring spooky and fun stories from award-winning storyteller and author Donna Washington. The fun starts at 6:00 with face painting, a costume parade at 6:30, and stories at 7:00. The event is at Dominican University’s Fine Arts Building (7900 W. Division St., River Forest). Each TCS student is receiving a free pass to this event, courtesy of Illinois Storytelling.