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The Interactive Storytelling program is laid out over a 9 week residency in an elementary school. Starting with the kindergarten classes, programming enters the classroom for 1 to 1 ½ hours per week for 3 consecutive weeks. Each class receives 3 workshops covering creative movement exploration, character creation, and story creation. At the completion of the kindergarten classes’ stories, the 3 week section for the 1st grade classes begins. Likewise the 2nd grade section follows. Each classroom, therefore, receives 3 – 4 ½ hours of workshop experience (depending on the time constraints of individual schools’ curriculum.)

Day 1

All workshop sessions begin with a discussion of creativity and respect and the importance of listening and supporting each other’s creativity. The first workshop session each classroom explores Creative Movement and Improvisation. Students work in physically-active leading and response games that center on the act of creation. Games range from creating imaginative verbal and texture expression to forming bodies into shapes that are unfamiliar and expressive. Following these sometimes frantic, creative outbursts students move on to listening and sharing games that focus on showing their creative work to a supportive group of their classmates. The final games of the first workshop day are designed around character creation: using movement, body shapes, creative words and sounds to build a living character. At this point the workshop transitions into small groups of students working collaboratively to begin a text-based character outline. Groups of students and one adult scribe work through a series of character outline points including: Name, type of character, family, job, fears, wants, favorites (colors, foods, people), etc….

Day 2

The second workshop day, one week later, focuses completely on Character Creation. The session begins with a replaying some of the previously learned character creation games. Once again students are reminded of respect and creativity. Returning to their groups, students will revisit and finish their character outlines. Students then asked to use the skills they learned in last week’s body shaping games to showcase their group’s shapes from their character outline (i.e. shapes of favorite foods, fears, people, etc…). This exercise is deliberately expressionistic to reinforce the support of any idea no matter how absurd. The shaping games are moved by the facilitator towards a more improvisational vein and students are giving more and more abstract concepts to shape, learning that when it comes to creativity, there are no wrong answers and shapes. As the shaping games culminate in a student-driven shaping story performed for their adult scribes and leaders, the activity returns to their more concrete character outlines. Using their newly found body shaping talents student groups now show their classmates their finished character outlines. The final activity of Day Two begins the creation of each group’s character puppet or sketch based on their outline.

Day 3

The final day of the workshop is centers around Story Creation. The groups are first charged to finish their work on the character puppets or sketches. The final 30 minutes are spent as the Facilitator/Storyteller tells the tale of the characters the students created. While this an adult storyteller (a necessity at the early ages), he/she is subservient to the answers the students give regarding the decisions made by the characters they created. In other words, as the storyteller is telling the tale, he/she consistently stops to ask the creative groups what their character would do in the current situation. In this way the students tell the story through the storyteller. When the story is finished the students are given, along with the praise of a story well created, the charge to be continue to be a respectful and creative storyteller in everything they do. They are reminded that there is no difference between the creativity of the storytellers who made their favorite movie, play or book and their own creativity. They are all storytellers.

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