Thursday, 13 November 2014 20:42

Moments & Memory

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When I asked my most recent group of fifth grade students how they feel now about the people they interviewed the responses took my breath away.

“I feel so much closer to my Dad now.”

“I don’t just see an old man, I try to picture what it would have been like to play with him. I didn’t know he’d done so many cool things.”

 

I am blessed to work as a storytelling teaching artist in all kinds of schools wherever my skills are needed. I walk into a classroom of strangers and by week's end I leave a cluster of young friends. Because of that I am given the golden opportunity of hearing the stories of children from all walks of life. Given my dedication to inspiring, enriching, and encouraging families it won’t surprise you that my favorite storytelling residency involves the collection of family story.

The students spend time deciding what they will ask a specific family member then take the time to interview that person. Next, they come back to the classroom and we craft performance stories from the interviews they have created. Obviously, many skills are gained through this process. Students learn to be oral history collectors, they enhance their understanding of the main parts of a well-told story, and they enlarge their imaginations and become well versed in the key parts of a tellable tale. Writing skills are increased and they build and strengthen the classroom community in some pretty remarkable ways.

Each time I am about to leave such a group we spend time reflecting on what was gained. This is why I do what I do. My residencies meet curriculum standards and leave behind measureable progress, but the most important artifact of my time with these students is not found in a rubric, it’s found in their hearts.

When I asked my most recent group of fifth grade students how they feel now about the people they interviewed the responses took my breath away.

“I feel so much closer to my Dad now.”

“I don’t just see an old man, I try to picture what it would have been like to play with him. I didn’t know he’d done so man cool things.”

“I see past the walker and the oxygen tank and it’s like I see a movie of his life.”

“I don’t just think about her next batch of cookies, I keep thinking about her stories and it makes her seem more real.”

That’s why I do what I do. You may not know the value a moment holds until it becomes a memory. So take some time this Thanksgiving to focus on a menu of moments and memory. Don’t just make some food – strengthen your family community!

What do you know about your mother’s childhood? How would you tell someone about your dad as a little boy? Do you know what your grandma’s favorite game was when she was growing up? Can you name your grandpa’s favorite song from his youth? Start asking questions and turning moments into memory today!

 

 

Last modified on Monday, 15 December 2014 13:07
Teresa Clark

A national award-winning storyteller, historian and author, she is best known for her original works and recollections of life's experiences blended with history. Teresa has presented and performed throughout the United States. Of her, it has been said, "Charming, witty, soulful, and wise, her performances are filled with a compelling sense of wonder and an irresistable zest for life." Her story work involves performance, education, production, and advocacy. From the main stage to individual consultations in living rooms across America, she delights in the excavation and sharing of family story. Most importantly, she is a wife, mother, and grandmother to her favorite playmates and best friends.

More in this category: « She Got It A Story of US »

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