2005-06 Recipients
Brimstone Award for Applied Storytelling

$5000 to CHILDREN AT THE WELL: AN INTERFAITH, INTERGENERATIONAL STORYTELLING VENTURE

Schenectady, New York

Project Director: Gert Johnson
www.childrenatthewell.org

 

“Children at the Well” has as its goal the creation of a positive and lasting model for storytelling across generations and religious faiths.

 

Twenty-eight teachers and 13 students in grades 6-9 who expressed a high degree of interest in interfaith storytelling took part in the program the first year; they came from a Catholic school, a Muslim school, a Hindu temple, and synagogues. Professional storytellers worked with the students on storytelling technique and developing each young person’s story from their own tradition. The program also offered three interfaith storytelling workshops for teachers. A festive performance/multicultural potluck supper involving teachers, parents, students, and other members of the public demonstrated how “shared stories are breaking down the barriers and building community among us.”

 

Project director Gert Johnson observed, “One of the most important outcomes of our project was that participants did come together to become friends and colleagues by the end of our time together. They went back to their schools, churches, synagogues, and mosques with a little more knowledge about each other and the feeling of empowerment that doing something well together can bring about.”

 

$3000 to USING STORYTELLING AS AN EDUCATIONAL TOOL

Indianapolis, Indiana

Project Director: Ellen Munds

 

This project developed storytelling tools for teachers to use in aligning classroom instruction and assessment to Indiana's Academic Standards for the primary grades in language arts. A natural outgrowth of Storytelling Arts of Indiana, the project consisted of fifty activities (ten for each grade, K–5), which were then copied onto CDs for future teacher workshops.  A pilot workshop held at the Indiana History Center drew over thirty educators and provided useful feedback. As project director and executive director of Storytelling Arts of Indiana, Ellen Munds , commented, “I can now explain and demonstrate how to use storytelling in the classroom to teach the English/Language Arts State Standards. I am a better advocate” for marketing the workshop to schools around the state.

 

$3000 to ENVIRONMENTAL STORYTELLING FOR SCHOOLS AND NATURE CENTERS

Rochester, Minnesota

Project Director: Kevin Strauss

 

Not all science educators have access to “environmental stories,” nor do they necessarily know how to use stories - or even consider the value of stories in teaching. This project thus had several objectives: compiling a database of stories that teach about the natural world and provide lessons about caring for our environment; creating a manual and story development models for teaching science teachers and naturalists on how to use storytelling in their work; and training environmental educators and teachers to more effectively tell stories in the classroom.

 

The 2005 Brimstone Award for Applied Storytelling enabled Project Director Kevin Strauss to achieve his objectives. While the workshops he presented in Minnesota reached 60 classroom teachers and naturalists, the potential scope of the project is greatly expanded beyond a single geographical region by having resources posted online. These materials, which Strauss will continue to update, both serve and encourage storytellers, naturalists, and classroom teachers to further environmental awareness.