For Teachers

Workshops Available for Teachers

Hook Your Students with the World’s Oldest Profession – Want to capture your students’ attention, help them remember a topic, and pass the standardized tests?  By using story in all areas of the curriculum, you can accomplish it all.

  • Story to Writing, a Natural Connection – Not satisfied with your students’ writing?  Use storytelling techniques to help your students want to write and to improve their writing skills.
  • Beginning Storytelling for Teachers – You, too, can become a storyteller and bring the power of story to your classroom.

Contact Terry to Schedule a Workshop


“Your workshop was worth the price of the entire conference.” – Beth L., teacher

“The two weeks you spent with the students (school residency on writing) was most impressionable, creating fertile ground from which we could contemplate and question critical issues and create…our own understanding.” – Wendy M., elementary drama coach

Some Curriculum Uses for Storytelling:


  • Use folktales to introduce a unit.  Tell an Anansi story before a unit on spiders.
  • Explore world habitats through folktales.
  • Search out creation myths from around the world
  • Stories and science both seek answers to what if or why.  Search out  these stories like the Pourquoi stories.  Stories that deal with future problems might also get the creative juices of your students flowing.
  • Find the story of the Twisted Mouth Family who can’t blow out a candle.  What other ways could they get the candle out?
  • Tell some urban legends to your students (such as the exploding toilet) and have them prove that the stories are wrong.  Could these rally happen?  Prove it!


  • Explore fractions with your own story of a person dividing a pizza and eating parts of it.  Children draw the pizza and divide it as you tell.  They then color the eaten parts and label with a fraction.  The person can also order many glasses of pop or water and drink a specific fraction of each. Story makes fractions REAL LIFE.
  • Tell the Three Bears and explore large, medium, and small.
  • Tell the Grains of Rice story as the students use calculators to figure out how many grains of rice the man is given.
  • Tell the story of how measuring came to be…A king  wanted a bed and used his body parts to tell the size he wanted.  His carpenters were either much bigger or much smaller than the King so the bed was never quite right until they came up with the idea of specific measurements.
  • TELL story problems.  Make the math equations come alive with story.  Then ask your students to do the same. Math is a story; no one ever comes up to you and asks, “So tell me.  What is 5+6?’
  • Tell the story of the girl who finished early so the teacher asked her to add up all the numbers from 1-100.  Within a few minutes, she was finished.  How? (She found the 100’s:  1+99, 2+98, 3+97, etc.)
  • Use stories to think of problems or have the kids do it.  Ex. What is the area of one of the houses in the Three Pigs if the house is 9′ x 13′.  How many bricks would they need?  What chimney circumference would allow the wolf to fall through?  Do the same with Jack and the Beanstalk and other common tales.

Social Studies

  • TELL history instead of reading about it.  Kipling said that if we all learned history through story, none of us would ever forget it.  Stories imporve our retention of ideas and facts because they put the information into a meaningful content to which other informantion can be attached.
  • Tell a folktale and then have the students research it…..the culture at the time, the geography, housing, clothing, holidays, politics, etc.
  • Tell one or two different versions of Cinderella from different cultures.  Have the students search for more.  There are more that 564 documented versions of Cinderella.
  • Have the students research a person from history and then ‘tell’ his/her story.
  • Have the students search for folktales of strong or powerful women.


  • After studying the digestive system, have the students TELL the story of what happens to a piece of food as it goes through the system.  They can tell it as they would see it or as though they were the piece of food.

Visual Arts

  • Have the children make a story mural after you have told a story.  Then it is only from their imaginations.
  • Make a picture book based on a tale you have told.
  • Draw a poignant moment from a story they heard.
  • Make a poster advertising a story.


  • Tell a story.  Then have the students choose rhythm instruments to complement the characters or actions.  Then retell the story with the instruments.
  • Research famous musicians and tell their stories.
  • Research an old song and find out the story behind it.
  • Add African drums to an African tale.

Language Arts

  • Use Venn diagrams to compare folktales
  • Make organizational charts to find patterns in folktales, tall tales, fairy tales
  • Sequence a story they heard
  • Writing, writing, writing.  We must visualize before we can write.  Telling stories helps students visualize the events of the story.  Remember: The brain is a cheetah. The mouth is a rabbit.  The hand is a snail.  Let them be a cheetah and then a rabbit before you have them use their snail.  Let writing time be noisy.  The students should tell their story to several different people, getting feedback each time, before they begin writing it.  They will enjoy writing more, have more ideas, and content editing will be less.
  • Use a wide variety of stories to increase imagination.  The children often see a book and think they cannot write something like that.  But we all tell stories.  Telling frees their imagination and lets them see themselves as successful writers.

Some books I’ve found helpful

  • Britsch, Barbara M and Amy Dennison-Tansey, One Voice: Music and Stories in the Classroom
  • DeSpain, Pleasant, Thirty-Three Multi-Cultural Tales to Tell
  • Forrest, Heather, Wonder Tales from Around the World
  • Hamilton, Martha and Weiss, Mitch, Children Tell Stories–Teaching and Using Storytelling in the Classroom   also Stories in My Pocket: Tales Kids Can Tell   And they have a great web site
  • Haven, Kendall, Marvels of Science: 50 Fascinating 5-Minute Reads  and Write Right: Creative Writing Using Storytelling Techniques
  • Holt, David and Mooney, Bill, The Exploding Toilet–Modern Urban Legends  and Ready to Tell Tales
  • Lipman, Doug, Storytelling Games
  • MacDonald, Margaret Read, The Storytellers’ Start-Up Book plus many others…she’s great
  • National Stroytelling Association, Tales as Tools
  • Pittman, Helena, A Grain of Rice
  • Rubright, Lynn, Beyond the Beanstalk: Interdisciplinary Learning Through Storytelling
  • Yolen, Jane, Magic Touch