“True Happiness is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose” – said HELEN KELLER
As a storyteller by profession and passion, I have always tried to give my best to spread the joy and re-kindle the love for this art. And no doubt, this journey has given me some of the most happy and memorable moments of my professional life. Today, 8th November at The Green School Bangalore was no exception!
As I was waiting for the School Co-ordinator outside the reception area, I heard some voices
“Hi Meenu Ma’am”
I looked back to see students walking back to classroom after their morning assembly. It was they who had recognized and called me.
“Hello… Good Morning”, I replied with a smile.
“Ma’am, are we going to have storytelling session today?”, pat came the question.
“Which grade?”, I asked
“Grade 3 Ma’am”
“Er… I don’t think so…”, I said, feeling a little bad.
“Ohhh… But why Ma’am?”
They whined but I was helpless as my sessions for the day were scheduled only till Grade 2.
As always, I did feel bad for them, but I must confess that there was undoubtedly a feeling of bliss too that students were truly loving the sessions. There was this yearning for more such sessions and with all humility, I think I can pat myself for doing my wee bit. 😊
My day started with KG students. While it is important to introduce storytelling to the little ones, it is also a great challenge given their attention span. And I must agree that I have had my bit of challenges too especially with this age group. So, I keep experimenting with different styles and genres like action storytelling, with props and puppets, drawing and telling etc. Today, I tried to use visual storytelling using a book.
Wow! It worked wonders! Children not only sat through the 45 mins but also participated actively in the interactions and joined along in singing the songs. I was happy.
Then walked in the first batch of Grade 1 students.
“Meenu Ma’am… Meenu Ma’am…”, a few of them shouted as they walked in to the room.
“Nice! You remember me…! Do you remember the story that we listened to last time?”, I asked as they slowly settled down.
Well… the students did not just tell the last session’s story but also listed all the stories that I had told them since their first session! And my surprise did not end just there. One of the students said,
“Ma’am, I also remember the song you taught us. Infact, I went home and practiced it many times.”
And together, almost all of them sang the song!
Goodness Gracious! I was in CLOUD NINE! If this is not HAPPINESS, then what is???!
My JOY knew no bounds!!!
I knew they were enjoying not only the stories but also the songs that I share with them. And that meant I had to tell them a story with more songs … Well, that’s what I did! 😊
A European folktale which had a cumulative narrative. I weaved in a song too as a refrain, so the children could join in every time I sang the song in the story. Finally, we finished with a post story activity of Character drawing and colouring, equally enjoyed by all. Infact they were so excited when I said that they can take back their drawings home to show their parents!!!
The batch 2 of Grade 1 was no less. An equally enthusiastic group whose excitement doubled when they were told that there was a post story activity as well.
“Ma’am, the Mangasura story was super fun!”, came a voice as the students settled down.
“Ma’am, the elephant story…”
“Ma’am… Ma’am… the animals building a house… “
One by one they began shouting all the stories that I had shared with them.
“Thank you… It’s wonderful to know that you remember all the stories and I can see you are excited about todays. So, any guesses what is our story going to be about?”, I asked quite thrilled too.
“About Donkey Ma’am?”, answered one taking me by surprise
While others kept shouting their guesses, I looked at this boy who had said ‘Donkey’.
“Hmmm…. Looks like you have already seen my prop eh…?”, I asked him teasingly and he smiled back.
And thus began the Donkey story, a funny tale that I had embellished with musical elements and sound effects. The students laughed and giggled all through the story. Finally, we finished with another Character drawing- colouring activity.
Post lunch began with batch 1 of Grade 2 students. One of the boys entered the class and said,
“Ma’am, your storytelling sessions are the best!”
I smiled and said a soft “Thank you” though my legs were yearning to jump in joy!
I had planned to share a different style of storytelling with them – Kamishibai Storytelling – the traditional style from Japan. The students had already noticed the Butai (Storytelling Box) and curious.
“Ma’am, what is that box?”
“Are you going to tell us a story using that?”
“What… Box in our story? Oh, like a puppet?”
I just smiled and waited for them to settle down.
Then, began with introduction about Kamishibai and its brief history followed by the story – the story cards that were manually prepared by me. I was so happy to receive appreciation from the students about my art work too 😊
And yes, we concluded with a post story activity too.
Then came in the last batch of students for the day – batch 2 of Grade 2.
“Ma’am, we too want to do something after the story”, said one.
“Yes of course… I have something planned for you too!”, I replied.
It was another Kamishibai style story for this batch too and with a cumulative narrative too. Cumulative tales are so much fun especially with this age group. There is no extra push needed as the children just join in automatically when the repetitive lines come. Their listening skills are so greatly enhanced with a story that they are so perfect with the sequence while repeating too!
Finally, we concluded with a collage activity. Children enjoyed working in groups and created some interesting collage work.
Mark Twain once said, “Sing like no one is listening, love like you have never been hurt, dance like no one is watching and live like you are in heaven on earth”.
And I can say for sure how so true these words are. I have always loved Storytelling. I spend hours planning and preparing. Finally, the energy of the audience takes it to a different level, sometimes in a different direction that I had not planned. Yet, What I do comes from my heart and I try to give my very best, enjoying in the process and of course spreading the fun. And children are such pure souls that when they appreciate, it is truly from their heart!
And the feeling is truly blissful like heaven on Earth! 😊
Undoubtedly, yet another fulfilling day at The Green School Bangalore.
Totally grateful to School co-ordinator Ms. Mona Ma’am and Founder-Director Ms. Usha Iyer Ma’am for their encouragement, support and trust! _/\_