"Year of the Adopted Family" book release

Friday, January 30, 2009

Elementary School Practice: Surprise Results & Check

I was honored to tell for the 5th graders for being "best behaved" of the upper elementary grades at Bates Elementary School.

Singer and story buddy Holly Robison met me at the school as she would harmonize for two songs within the Colombian story The Gardener's Wife.

Thank you to Denae Palm, an intern from Weber State University, for scheduling school practices such as this one.

The "deal" was that after I told the story, then each student would receive an index card to answer the following questions--

1. What images or pictures were in your head as you heard the stories?
2. What emotions/moods were felt in the story?
3. What theme or "moral of the story" would you create after hearing the story?
4. What story scene did you like the best?

Feedback Results:

  • Baby coming down Winding River |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
  • Hermit |||||
  • Tree with Talking Bird and Water ||||||||||||||||||
  • Mule ||
  • River ||||||||||||||||||
  • Forest |
  • Village |||
  • Pearls from the Squash |||||||||||
  • Boys as Crystal Balls |||||||||
  • Gardener's Wife ||||||||||||
  • Husband ||||
  • Garden |||||||||
  • Mountain ||||||||||||||
  • 3 Sisters |||||
  • 2 Boys ||
  • Girl |||||
  • Queen ||||||
  • King |
  • Kingdom |||||||
  • Gossip Lady ||
  • Dog |||
  • Cat |
  • Stick ||
  • Excited ||||||||||
  • Calm, Peaceful |||||||||||||||||
  • Happy, Joyful ||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
  • Sad |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||||
  • Lonely ||
  • Curiosity |
  • Beautiful |
  • Magic |
  • Jealousy ||||
  • Annoyed |
  • Un-loved |
  • Mad, Anger ||||||||||
  • Confused ||
  • Scared ||
  • Disappointed |
  • Resentment |
  • Laughing |
  • Surprised |
Theme/Moral of the Story
  • Appreciate what you have./Love what you have. ||||||||
  • Do not ever believe you can give birth to a stick.
  • Don't be in such a hurry.
  • Listen. ||
  • A family is a family.
  • Never trust your sisters. |||||
  • If you wait long enough you will get what you want.
  • A wish may come true.
  • Your parents love you no matter what.
  • Do not hurt people's feelings.
  • The sister should have lived and the queen forgive them.
  • Be more careful. ||
  • You will always have a family.
  • Do what you have to do.
  • The oldest isn't always the best.
  • It does not matter what happens. You are a family.
  • Even if you do not know your parents, you still love them.
  • Everything will eventually be all right. ||
  • A family is a family no matter what.
  • Don't trick or you'll pay for it.
  • You are loved no matter what.
  • Plan things out wisely.
  • Take what you have.
  • Let it always be a good day.
  • Honesty is important. Dishonesty can kill you.
  • Everyone is loved no matter what.
  • Everyone has a family.
  • To tell about adopted kids. ||
  • Be thankful for your family.
  • Joy is contagious.
  • Always stay calm in tough situations.
  • Don't have sisters.
  • Don't switch a baby.
  • Love your parents.
  • A family that was split up but get together again.
Favorite Scene
  • Beginning--Gardener's Wife looking out |||||
  • Gossip Lady shares the news to Gardener's Wife ||
  • Baby was switched for Dog, Cat, or Stick |||||
  • Baby coming down Winding River and loved by Gardener & Wife ||||||||||
  • Gardener's Wife sings to Baby and/or Grandchildren ||||||
  • Baby Girl was born ||
  • Quest for the 3 items ||||||
  • Meeting the Hermit |||
  • Angry Boy |
  • Cup of Blood to warn that something was wrong ||
  • Girl was humming while on Mule ||
  • Boys transformed into Crystal Balls ||||||
  • Crystal Balls turned back into Boys |
  • Girl saved the two Boys |||||
  • Pearls spilling from the Squash ||||||||
  • The Speaking Bird to the King ||
  • Two Sisters get caught for their crimes |
  • The End--when everyone is happy and reunited |||
Other Comments:
  • "I felt like I was there."
  • "I liked your singing. You sing good. You are good at telling stories. You're a great storyteller and singer."
  • "Good Job! Loved the singing. To both of you."
  • "I pictured all of it."
  • "A very nice story! One of the best I've ever heard! The BEST STORY EVER! Love the singing!"
  • "I really liked the story!"
  • "I think it was messed up that the sisters switched the babies with a dog, cat, and stick."
  • "I felt cool!"
  • "I saw the whole story."
  • "This story made me very happy and it also made me smile."
  • "I felt filled with happiness as you told this story."
  • "I felt better about not having a sister."
  • "I pictured a talking bird and that is WEIRD."
  • "I felt like I was waking to go get the bird, branches, and water."
Until I read these comments and saw the pictures they drew, I wondered if the story had any positive impact.

The audience was so quiet--almost too quiet--that it worried me.

Holly seemed to think things were fine. She also pointed out that I was not feeling 100% healthy and that the school knew this was a practice. For that reason we were paid lower than what normally would have been given.

Interestingly, the school still paid my full rate.

As this performance was labeled "practice", I could not accept the full rate. I returned the check for $200 and asked that the agreed donation price for a practice session of $50 be given instead.

They could always pay the $200 when I am invited back to tell a polished program.

Of course, practice or not, I always try my best.

Until we tell again,

Rachel Hedman
Professional Storyteller
Former Co-Chair of Youth, Educators, and Storytellers Alliance (2005-2008)
Tel: (801) 870-5799
Email: info@rachelhedman.com
Performance Blog: http://familyfamine.blogspot.com
Other places to find me: Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Professional Storyteller

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