Almost a month ago, I had the pleasure of welcoming author/storyteller Joseph Bruchac to the Nathan Hale School. Mr. Bruchac, who came to us through the fantastic Foundation for Children's Books, came to perform and tell us stories. Though we'd been worried about the weather, the day dawned bright and clear, allowing the entire school to participate in the assembly, which was wonderful.
He began by welcoming us to the circle by singing a traditional Abenaki song, which allowed him to demonstrate his drum playing and flute playing abilities as well. Then, he began to tell his stories. If you've never been in the presence of a professional storyteller, someone who is truly a master at their craft, you don't know what you've been missing. It was an incredible experience to hear and watch as he told his stories, utilizing every part of his body - movement, voice, pitch - to draw us in and spellbind us. I found myself completely captivated by his retelling of Racoon's last race, even though I had read it aloud four times to different classes. It was honestly like hearing it for the first time, and in the way it was meant to be told. The students were so absorbed in the story that they had to be prompted to respond to him as asked. As an extra treat, we got a second story, one new to all of us, about Gluskabe and the stone giants. A perceptive fifth grader later told me that a version of this story had appeared on last year's standardized test, and since his book of plays, Pushing Up the Sky, appears in the third grade curriculum, it made for a nice, if unintentional, curricular connection.
As part of his visit, the FCB donated several of his books to our library, increasing our collection of folktales, which is always welcome. I am deeply grateful to the FCB and to Jen Cusack, who helped coordinate this visit, because we didn't pay a cent for Mr. Bruchac's visit since he had come to visit the Park School (a private institution) earlier in the day, and to participate in the FCB's semi-annual conference the following morning. The FCB is a remarkable organization, one that is committed to bringing authors and illustrators (who cost money) to underserved, underprivileged urban schools. Mr. Bruchac's visit is, I hope, the first in a long, ongoing collaboration between the FCB and the Nathan Hale. Teachers and students alike thoroughly enjoyed the performance, and I am proud to have had the chance to provide my students with this kind of opportunity.
Thank you, FCB and Joe!
My name is Ms. Bery. I am a PK-8 library media specialist in the Boston area. In addition to being a certified school librarian, I am also certified in instructional technology, and have a strong interest in exploring and integrating technology in new and exciting ways in the classroom.
I am also a 2016 PBS LearningMedia Local Digital Innovator, and a 2015 recipient of the Massachusetts School Library Association's President's Award.
Check out the Sandbox for apps and websites I've found useful in supporting student learning and creativity. I also (very occasionally) review children's and young adult literature on my book reviews page.
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