April 2009

April showers bring May flowers but in Massachusetts the crocuses are cautiously peeking out from their winter slumber, still shivering from the hearty winds of March, which haven’t left us yet. I will continue to throw another log on the fire until we make some headway further into April with those tricksters on our tails, and in our tales, as we celebrate Fool’s Day! I have also listed sites for Cinco de Mayo and Arbor Day to give you a head start on the celebration in May.

March was a wonderful month. I presented a workshop and attended the LANES Sharing the Fire Conference in Rhode Island. It is always grand to see old friends and make new ones, learn fresh skills, and be reminded of those long forgotten.

On Saturday night, as we waited for the OLIO to begin, the fabulous and dynamic Leeny Del Seamond’s took the stage to present the Brother Blue-Ruth Hill Award. The award is presented to someone in recognition of “his or her extraordinary commitment and efforts to promote a broader understanding of the art of storytelling and the support of storytellers in the development of their art.” It is a prestigious award and the list of past recipients is impressive. Imagine my utter astonishment when Leeny called my name as the 2009 recipient! I was, and am, stunned, humbled and honored.

The splendid conference ended on Sunday, with what was a highlight for me. Three of my storytelling students shared their stories during the closing ceremonies on Sunday; they were amazingly poised and confident for nine and ten year old children; I was so very proud of them. The audience was wonderfully supportive and rewarded them with a standing ovation. It was certainly an experience they will never forget.

I wish you a month filled with all the delights, warmth, and wonder of spring!
Warm wishes,


Apples4theteacher.com - Fourteen stories to celebrate the wonderful season of spring. http://tinyurl.com/cv7hcv

Jamaican Anansi Stories - Tricksters are universal figures in folkore and Anansi is one of our most beloved. This site offers a wide variety of Anansi tales as well as trickster folklore from various cultures. The text also includes transcriptions of folk music, and a large collection of riddles, all cross-referenced with folklore studies from other cultures. There are also musical notations in some of the texts for the musical among us! http://tinyurl.com/6huzob

Magic Tales of Mexico - Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with nine stories from the colorful culture of Mexico! http://tinyurl.com/dbjhp9

Phikul Thong - A Philippine folktale for spring. It is a Cinderella variant, which is also another version of the French folktale, Toads and Diamonds. http://tinyurl.com/ck8y2j

Nasreddin Hodja - Information and stories about the beloved character of Turkish tales, including reading comprehension exercises. This website is also a portal to many other Hodja sites. http://tinyurl.com/62gzxx

Tales of Laughter - What better way to jump into the month of fools than reading Tales of Laughter from 1908? A collection of familiar and not so familiar tales from Russia, Ireland, Spain, France and many more countries from around the globe. They are sure to have you smiling with delight! http://tinyurl.com/dh86jf

The Tree Angel a Vietnam Legend - A lovely story for Arbor Day about how the banana tree was created. http://www.vietnamwebsite.net/myth/myth17.htm

"To see that your life is a story while you're in the middle
of living it may be a help to living it well. "
                                        - Ursula K. LeGuin


April is National Humor Month. Here is a link to help you tickle your student’s funny bones!

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Kid’s Pages - Jokes, humorous observations, and trivia. http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/jokes.htm

Fables and Trickster Tales From Around the World - From Edusitement, lesson plans, information and stories, everything you need to introduce your students to those globe-trotting tricksters, Anansi, Brer Rabbit, Fox, and Rabbit. http://tinyurl.com/23trr

Arbor Day.org - The official site with everything to help you support and share this important day. http://www.arborday.org/

Planet Pals.com - This is a colorful, fun and information filled website on all things Earth: Lesson plans and activities for both teachers and parents, the history behind Earth Day, coloring pages, puzzles, clip art and so much more. http://www.planetpals.com/index.html

Enchanted Learning - May 5 is Children’s Day or Kodomo no hi (Koh-doh-moh-noh-hee) in Japan and this site offers cultural information to share with your students, complete with interactive Japanese folktales the children can read, quizzes and games. http://tinyurl.com/cgzlyz

Kites in the Classroom - The Drachen Foundation is committed to providing educational resources and programs for busy teachers. Kites can be a remarkably efficient teaching tool, allowing teachers to integrate many subjects-science and technology, reading, writing, social studies, visual arts, math-within a single lesson or sequence of lessons. http://www.drachen.org/kites_classroom.html

Flowers in the Classroom - Grades 5 to 8 Language Arts: Legendary Flowers lesson plan including myths, folktales and legends of flowers. http://www.teachertube.com/support_files/1390.pdf

May 5 is also Cinco de Mayo, the national festival of Mexico; here are three sites to help you get ready to join in the celebration!

Mexico for Kids - There’s something here for everyone; fun and useful information on the various indigenous cultures, music, traditions, myths and stories. http://www.elbalero.gob.mx/index_kids.html

DLTK.COM - Mexico Word Search -http://tinyurl.com/dxqzu7 and a fun song to teach to the children. http://www.dltk-kids.com/world/mexico/song.htm


April 24 – 26
Northlands Storytelling Network Conference - Come to the Midwest for a weekend filled with workshops, swaps, concerts and fringe performances all in a beautiful, rural setting. http://www.northlands.net/conference.html

April 25, 2009
27th Annual Southern California Storyswapping Festival, Culver City, CA. For information email communitystorytellers@gmail.com or call 626.398.1151

April 30, 2009
Storytelling Workshop, St. Louis Storytelling Festival
Thursday, 4:00 p.m. Missouri History Museum, Lindell & DeBaliviere at Forest Park
Lynn Rubright: Enhancing Literacy Skills Across the Curriculum: Using family stories and stories from children’s literature, storytelling. http://www.stlstorytellingfestival.org/

May 2, 2009
OOPS (Ohio Order for the Preservation of Storytelling) Conference in Mt Vernon, Ohio with Judy Sima, Bill Lepp http://www.oopstorytelling.org/events.htm

May 2, 2009
Granite State Story Swap, Tin Mountain Conservation Center, Albany, NH Swaps, concerts, and a keynote and performance by Jackson Gillman! For more info, contact Andy Davis (603) 447-2113, andy@worldfellowship.org

May 30-31, 2009
The 29th Annual Washington Folk Festival at Glen Echo Park Free music, dancing, storytelling, and crafts--all from artists and craftspeople in the Greater Washington D.C. area. http://tinyurl.com/dgz2zj

June 13, 2009
Care of the Soul: Retreat for Storytellers, West Bend, Wisconsin. Discuss storytelling as sacred call or vocation; identity behaviors that diminish the quality of soul in our work, explore practices that bring care, compassion and "loving kindness" to our storyteller's soul. For information contact program facilitator Midge Miles at midge.miles@att.net 262-306-7988.

June 18-26, 2009
Storytelling Course at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Call (314) 516-5948 for more information or go to http://tinyurl.com/djhwkh

June 28 – July 2, 2009
Summer Storytelling Institute Retreat with Rona Leventhal in the Rolling Hills of Western Massachusetts. Go to www.ronatales.comnor call 413-586-0624 for info and Early Bird Specials! Limited to 14 people; 34 PDP's for Massachusetts Teachers. http://tinyurl.com/aabpy3


Activity Village - Make your own carp kite or origami to celebrate Kodomo no hi (Children’s Day). There are many other crafts, activities and printables to make this Japanese national holiday shine! http://tinyurl.com/cxwwv3

Kaboose.com - Say “Ole!” with these crafts and activities to help you say celebrate Cinco de Mayo. http://holidays.kaboose.com/cinco-de-mayo/

DLTK - Mexican Bird Craft http://www.dltk-kids.com/world/mexico/mbirdrattle.htm

Bestkidsbooksite.com - Strut your stuff on April Fool’s Day with this Jolly Jester’s Hat at http://tinyurl.com/cvdew8 and tons of Easter coloring pages to keep you coloring in or out of the lines! http://tinyurl.com/cwqyfo


3 Things to Never Do With Your Social Networking Profile by Michele Pariza Wacek - "I'm sure you've heard of it. You might even be doing it. But the real question is, are you doing it right?" http://tinyurl.com/7gnqll

Six Advantages to Virtual Trade Shows by Susan A. Friedmann, CSP - "A virtual trade show is a cross between a webcast meeting and a video game. And it's the next big trend in trade shows. Although a mere 1% of all trade shows are now held online, industry experts expect that by 2015, more than 25% of trade shows will be conducted in virtual environments. That's a market you can't afford to ignore." http://tinyurl.com/c9m2mb


"Sometimes the most important thing in a whole day
is the rest we take between two deep breaths."
                          - Etty Hillesum

How Laughter Works - This article considers laughter: "what it is, what happens in our brains when we laugh, what makes us laugh and how it can make us healthier and happier. You'll also learn that there's a tremendous amount that no one understands yet." http://people.howstuffworks.com/laughter.htm