Each workshop includes:
- School-wide or grade level Interactive Folktale Theatre assemblies of multicultural folktales, in which the students help act out the stories
- Classroom visits in which the students engage in hands-on activities
- Story-writing based activities tailored to grade levels with Ms. Pedemonti leading the students in exercises
Each activity is based on a storytelling model in which the students listen to a selection of stories told in the same format in which they will write. A template is used to facilitate the writing experience. Students learn: How to Write Strong Introductions, “Explode a Moment,” in which students describe minute by minute what would happen if they met one of the characters face to face, Strong Word Choice, How to Expand and Edit.
Using Legends in Creative Writing in the Classroom; Face to Face!
Students listen to tales collected from the major cultures represented at their school. After the presentation students choose a character or folk figure important to their culture of origin and write a short story about what happens when they meet the character. Examples of featured characters: Tata Duende in Belize; a protector of the forest, Chubacabra; a mythical wolf-dog from Puerto Rico, Smok Walweski; a dragon from Poland, La Llorona; the crying woman from Central and South America, etc.
Students listen to a story with an unsatisfactory ending, for example: The Lion and Wise Old Rabbit from India. In this story lion bullies all the animals and the small rabbit creates a plan to trick him to get him to stop his negative behavior. In the original ending, lion is led down in a well where he is left to die. The moral is: Turn about is fair play. We discuss the ending and the message it sends to listeners about the cycle of violence and bullying. Next students are invited to work in small groups to re-write or re-tell the ending of the story. We end with a presentation of their ideas to the larger group and a discussion of their new ideas. This is a very effective method of dealing with bullying in schools.
Charles Albert, Principal at Solid Rock Academy in Dangriga, Belize had this to say:
In this story the lion was prominent and dominant because of his muscles and awesome physical strength. So he bullied on the weaker, smaller members of the animal kingdom. This got him into eventual trouble with the other animals.
Th rabbit is small and physically weak, but has intellect and was able to convince the Lion to get into the well by telling him another Lion was there that was bigger than he was.
Moral and Spiritual lessons abound for human society. All men are created equal and should value one another no matter the differences in physical features and talent. Muscle means power; and absolute power corrupts absolutely. We are to use power to the benefit of all members of society.
Though this story was focused on the classroom issue of bullying, it has wide practical application to the human society at large.