Thursday, July 9, 2009

On the Storytelling Trail: Moundsville and Benwood-McMechen

Today I presented two entirely different programs. The first was a creative writing workshop, as part of the Get Creative! Summer Reading theme that is being used at many West Virginia libraries.

For this program I created small journals with writing prompts. We used some of the prompts today, and the rest are for students to take home and write whenever they feel the urge. We wrote list poems, acrostics, flash fiction and a nonfiction piece about how we got our names.

I also had some "five senses" items on the tables--the participants could touch, smell, taste, or see the objects; the hearing part was our discussion of each item. The items included a glass ball that belonged to my parents, a small Navajo pin that was my grandmother's, a jar of cinnamon, one of dried dill and one of pickling spice, a velvet burnout scarf, an appliqued dishtowel from the 50's, a small wooden vase given to me by my sister Theresa, and several kinds of candy.

There were some talented writers in the group, and I hope they continue to use the journals and find opportunities to write.

We left Moundsville and headed up the Ohio River to the communities of Benwood and McMechen. These little towns adjoin each other so closely it's difficult to know where one ends and the other begins. The children at the program could tell me quickly, however!

This program included storytelling with puppets, including my two Create-A-Puppets that make the most bizarre monsters. Two boys made monsters prior to the program and we used them in a cracked version of City Mouse/Country Mouse. (City Monster/Country Monster!). We told two other stories with puppets, and almost every child in attendance was able to be part of at least one of the stories.

After the stories, it was puppetmaking time! We made a grand and glorious mess with felt, yarn, pompoms, sequins, feathers, jewels, peel-and-stick foam sheets, and other craft supplies.

Look at them working!

And here are a few results of their efforts: these, I was told, are a chicken and a squirrel. Who am I to argue?

The group of middle-school-age kids got crazy with the yarn and made "hairy" puppets, with lots of feathers. Creative? Absolutely.

So now I'm home again and getting ready for the next performance Friday night. I'm excited about this one too, a program of Celtic-Appalachian stories and songs with two musician friends for a Celtic Festival at Prickett's Fort State Park. Stories and music--can there be a better combination? (Well, kids and puppets come a close second in my book.)


Anonymous said...

I will tell you those are some of the best finger puppets around . Someone with skill must of cut out the pattern . Uncle Jay

Granny Sue said...

How could you have guessed! Jennifer and Jordan did a great job--the kids had so many colors to choose from--but would you believe one little boy wanted one out of a color we didn't have? I had the right felt so we made one on the spot. It figures, doesn't it? 300+ to choose from but not one to fit what he wanted.

Now, Theresa will get credit when I do the wooden spoon puppets in a couple weeks--she helped cut the fabric for those!

Anonymous said...

I love the way the one young man in front is holding his puppet! It looks like a hair ornament, I bet he will love that picture when he sees it. Love you, tm

Granny Sue said...

I didn't notice that, Theresa! But you're right. This group left me several "samples" to show other kids and give them ideas. Don't you love it? Usually we just make one each, but with so many base puppets, I don't care if they make five. Bless Jennifer!

Country Whispers said...

I missed getting to meet you!
I'll have to try to catch up with you if you come back this way again. Looks like you had a big turnout of creative kids.

Granny Sue said...

That's okay, Jessica. We'll get together one day. There was a very good turnout at McMechen, better than any time I've been there. It's a nice library too. The creative writing workshop was smaller, but still a lot of fun. Good kids, all of them.

Eirin said...

Hello! I want to pass an award from one storyteller to another. Read my blog to see what it is about. Love, Eirin

Mary said...

Lucky, lucky young learners -- they had so much fun that they probably didn't even realize how much they were learning from you. Thanks for sharing!

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