In this day and age, which do you think more thoroughly captivated and enthralled an audience of 29 young grade 4s? A cartoon about a raven and creation, or an Aboriginal presenter with a drum and stick? The speaker and the animal-skin drum won--hands down! Of course, a good story and storytelling skills were also essential to make the stories come to life. It's rather fascinating how ancient "tech" and techniques can be superior to new tech in some cases.
The drumming initially created the mood, the rhythm, the pacing, the tension and suspense, which carried on throughout the stories. Then the voice added another layer of interest, with its variations in intonation, pacing and volume. Sound effects included whistling, humming, buzzing and even singing, which added even more texture and realism. She proceed to use an interactive, participatory method of including students' names and responses in the story. She had the right facial and body expressions and movements (gazing off into the sky or the distance), as well as humour, to add even more to the storytelling experience. Of course, the stories themselves were simple but interesting with relatable and classic themes. They also included repetition to assist in oral recall, reminiscent of Dr. Seuss and Robert Munsch stories.
I would rather listen to a master storyteller any day than watch another decently made cartoon. And I think 29 other kids would agree with me.
Daniel H. Lee
This blog will be dedicated to sharing in three areas: happenings in my classroom and school; analysis and distillation of other educators' wealth of knowledge in various texts; insights from other disciplines and areas of expertise that relate and connect with educational practices.