Springfield, Mass (WGGB) – Westhampton Elementary received a grant through The Massachusetts Cultural Council for a Japanese story teller, Motoko, to come to the school.
The visit is designed to connect kids to the traditions of other cultures and times. The Japanese story teller will work with the students over the course of the next two weeks.
The residency will begin with an all-school storytelling assembly by Motoko. She will introduce herself and share stories from her native Japan. Then Motoko will work with individual classes to establish storytelling strategies for their own presentations.
Students in grades K-2 will learn about story sequence and characters. Each class will create an original group story using existing folktales as a model. In art class they will draw scenes for a Kamishibai (Japanese picture story cards) using their own group story.
Each student in grades 3-4 will research and choose a folktale from different cultures. With Motoko’s guidance they will analyze and craft the tales, and learn and perform them. They will also learn how to bring their stories to life for the audience. In art class each student will illustrate a scene from their chosen folktale. Grade four will tie this activity to their unit on immigration.
Students in grades 5-6 will study the basic structure and components of folktales and write their own stories. Fifth graders will each write a Haiku and build a story around it. Sixth graders will each create a myth/folktale based on their curriculum unit on ancient cultures. They will develop narrative writing skills and make connections to other subject content areas. In art class they will each design a book jacket for their own story, and analyze how visual elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text.
After the residency students will utilize the buddy system at Westhampton Elementary School to share their stories they wrote during that time. Staff at the school will continue Motoko’s process of storytelling and the values and beliefs that are conveyed through them.