Storytelling is back. On Wednesday, April 14, more than 20 storytellers from the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades at North Street School in Geneva put their skills to work for all attendees of the second annual Geneva Children’s Storytelling Festival.
Hosted this year by the students Professor of Education Charles Temple’s “Children’s Literature” course, the Storytelling Festival got its start last spring when students from Temple’s “Storytelling” worked with North Street students to prepare them for the inaugural festival.
And like last year, extending the connection between the Colleges and the community through the Geneva Partnership, Temple’s students visited North Street for six weeks, serving as “training coaches,” working on storytelling and presentation skills and exploring the tradition of storytelling and oral literature.
“You learn how to do something well by teaching it,” Temple says. “And with this aspect of the course, everybody’s learning. It’s great for our students and the North Street students.”
Like last year’s festival, which drew more than 100 audience members, this year’s event collaborative project was facilitated by Temple and Jill Antonucci, the North Street School librarian.
With the help of Antonucci and the pedagogical lessons learned in class with Temple, students helpi area youth learn to tell stories, draw the audience in, choose stories and create storyboards, which become the framework for the gestures and expressions of the students in their performances.
“Speaking from prior experience, I think the most rewarding experience will be seeing these kids get up in front of a crowd and wow them with their public speaking-a skill that most people on this planet list as one of their biggest fears,” says Kevin Matteson ’10, MAT’11, who completed “Storytelling” and is now taking “Children’s Literature.” “They get great experience practicing their public speaking in a really fun and interesting way, which is the underappreciated art form of storytelling.”
“It’s a wonderful event,” says Temple. “It’s always great to see how kids get extra boost of energy when a crowd shows up.”
The festival was held in Albright Auditorium.
Additionally, Matteson and Rebecca Felt ’13, who is also in “Children’s Literature,” were invited to perform the keynote stories at the regional storytelling event at Midlakes High School. This event was held on April 12 and drew storytellers from counties in central New York. Felt performed a story she learned in class; Matteson recited an original.
A member of the HWS faculty since 1982, Temple holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina and his master’s and doctorate from the University of Virginia. In 2005, he received a Fulbright Scholar Award that helped fund his sabbatical in Romania, where he helped two universities in Cluj-the nation’s third-largest city-improve teaching and change curriculum.
In addition to his teaching duties at Hobart and William Smith, Temple co-founded the Reading and Writing for Critical Thinking Project in 1997. Promoting concepts and methods for active learning, RWCT has helped more than two million students in 32 countries become more active and engaged classroom learners. As director of RWCT, Temple travels around the globe helping teachers learn the skills necessary to teach their students to be critical thinkers.
Antonucci earned a B.S. in education from Bucknell University and a master’s of education from Penn State University. She completed her coursework for school library certification in 1991 at Syracuse University and began as the librarian at North Street School in 1991. She has served as the school’s librarian to present.