Storytelling with Myths & Legends
Mary Alice OsborneLibrary Media Specialist
The AutumnLong ago, people wondered why certain things happened. As they approached the shortest day of the year, Winter Solstice, December 21st
many people wondered why the days were growing shorter. Would the sun return?They created Myths and Legends to try to explain these phenomenon..
What is a Myth?From the Greek mythos; means story A myth is a made-up story that explains the existence of a natural phenomenon such as where thunder comes from or why snow falls from the sky.Myths are tales believed as true, usually sacred, set in the distant past or other worlds or parts of the world, and with extra-human, inhuman, or heroic characters
Myths and Legends: 398.2One part of the Library contains many Myths and Legends for you to enjoy.This area is located at 398.2 in the Dewey Decimal SystemMany Myths and Legends are on display in the Library Media Center for you to enjoy!
Ode to 398.2 by Heather Forest I've traveled around the world without leaving home. I go anywhere my imagination wants to roam. I take a look, in a folktale book, and travel on the wings of words. Soaring to far away places, ancient times, or magical spaces, I find a fantasy view... reading a book from the library shelf marked 398.2
Elements of MythsImportance placed on nature/wildlife May explain an historic event May contain moral instructionEntertainment value
Mapping Stories to Remember Their Plots
Stepping Stones If you have ever stepped across a brook by hopping from one stone to the next, you know how it feels to quickly travel a distance by leaping from one secure spot to another. One effective mapping technique is to draw the stepping stones of a plot. Major moments that lead one to the next would be the noted points in the plot. Graphically, the map could take the form of a flow chart or circles with text inside. The important stepping stones need contain only a few words, or even a small picture, to remind the teller of the sequence of events as the eye travels across the page. Sunday Funnies The colorful cartoon box design of the Sunday funnies could be the model for a folktale map. Draw the folktale as a sequence of boxes that read like a cartoon. The sequence of events could be illustrated with simple images that help the teller remember specific points in the plot, not the words or the story. Important dialogue summaries could be included as thought or speech "bubbles." Time Line A plot is like a timeline of events. Draw a timeline and put the action into chronological order. It is an interesting way to remind yourself of details that must be stated early in the tale. (taken from: Storyarts Website)
Allowing the body to reflect the story being told can enhance storytelling. As words are spoken, vividly imagine the setting and characters of the story and let your body speak too. In our everyday life we speak with our bodies, faces and gestures as well as our voices. The meaning of what we say is subtly altered by how we stand, move, and gesture while we speak. Even in Complete Silence We SpeakFor example, how would you say the following sentences without words? "It's too hot." "I'm too cold!" "SSHHH! Be quiet." "Come here." "Come here quickly!" "Stay back! It's dangerous!" "I'm impatient" "I'm tired" "What did you say? (I can't hear you)" While Telling a Story, Let Your Body SpeakTry allowing your body to reflect, not demonstrate your words as you are telling your story. If you clearly picture the story in your imagination as you tell it, your body, face, and voice will respond naturally to your inner vision. (taken from: Storyarts Website)
Words Paint Pictures
The storyteller's words are like a painter's colors. Changing just one word in a sentence can alter the picture or detail that a listener is imagining. For example, construct a sentence without any adjectives. Then be more generous. Add some descriptive words and see how the picture evoked by the words changes. The more the storyteller says, the more the listener will "see" in their imagination.
No adjectives: A man walked down the road. Adjectives added: A tattered old man walked down the hot dusty road. A young man walked down a crowded city road. (taken from: Storyarts Website)
Story Skeletons are the bare bones of the tale, or the plot. Additional detail, setting and characterization can be added to flesh out the story. Be generous and the reader or listener will see the tale in their mind's eye. Everyone's imagination is different, so retellings will differ from teller to teller. Students could retell one of the following tales in their own words, improvising language and adding dialogue between characters.
A Skeleton: The Sun and The Wind ... an Aesop's Fable The wind and the sun argued about which of them was the strongest. They decided to hold a contest. The sun suggested that they see who could take the coat off of a man walking along the road below them. The wind blew hard, but the man, feeling chilly, held his coat tightly around him. The sun then became gently warmer and warmer. The man felt so hot, he took off his coat. Sometimes, they say, you can get your way more easily with gentleness than by force. (taken from: Storyarts Website)
With Additional Dialogue:The Sun and The Wind... An Aesop's FableThe North Wind boasted of great strength. The Sun argued that there was great power in gentleness. "We shall have a contest," said the Sun. Far below, a man traveled a winding road. He was wearing a warm winter coat. "As a test of strength," said the Sun, "let us see which of us can take the coat off that man." "It will be quite simple for me to force him to remove his coat," bragged the Wind. The Wind blew so hard, the birds clung to the trees. The world was filled with dust and leaves. But the harder the wind blew, the tighter the shivering man clung to his coat. Then, the Sun came out from behind a cloud. The sun warmed the air and the frosty ground. The man on the road unbuttoned his coat. The Sun grew slowly brighter and brighter. Soon the man felt so hot, he took off his coat and sat down in a shady spot. "How did you do that?" said the Wind. "It was easy," said the Sun. "I lit the day. Through gentleness I got my way." (taken from: Storyarts Website)
Practice and Stage Fright
Practice! Practice!A story grows each time it is told, becoming more vivid in the imagination of the storyteller. New details may enter the storyteller's mental picture of the tale. Those new details then can be brought out in the telling of the story for the listener to enjoy. Practicing a tale can start by simply "chatting" it out loud to oneself and then move on to telling it to just one person. It is in the actual telling that a story takes shape. As a teller gains confidence, telling to a larger group becomes more comfortable. Stage FrightThe best way to improve storytelling skills is to practice telling stories. As your listeners travel into the tale with you, trust that your words will inspire their imaginations to conjure pictures. As those pictures become more vivid, the storyteller fades into the background. Rather than wasting any energy on having stage fright or being self conscious, truly give yourself over to telling your story. The more you inhabit your tale, the more listeners will be transported to the imaginary world you are creating for them and you, the teller, will virtually disappear. Still Nervous?Those jittery feelings of nervousness are very similar to the feelings of being excited. Help yourself relax by affirming, "I am excited to tell this tale!" Use that adrenaline for a useful purpose, to encourage you to get up and share the story! (taken from: Storyarts Website)
Ms. Osbornes AdvisoryACST in Tunisia
Raven steals the Sun
Are You Ready?Choose a Myth or LegendRead it out loud to the groupAs the story is read, close your eyes and try to see the story's plot as if it were a "movie" inside your head.If there are any parts that you were not able to clearly remember: Read the story again. Write a short skeleton of the myth. Make a storyboard.Add dialogueAdd nonverbal elementsAdd props or costumesChoose partsPractice!Then have fun retelling the plot in your own words, picturing the story in your imagination while you tell it. Allow yourself to "become" the characters as well as the narrator.
Choose a MythMany are on display in the Library Media CenterSome favorites
Works Cited Story Arts / Story Arts Online! Accessed: 28 Apr. 2009 < http://www.storyarts.org/classroom/retelling/index.html>Magoulick, M. What is myth? Accessed: 3 Oct. 2010 http://www.faculty.de.gcsu.edu/~mmagouli/defmyth.htm World myths and legends in art. Accessed: 3 Oct. 2010http://www.artsmia.org/world-myths/whatismyth.html Tise, M. (2005) Myths and Legends. Accessed: Oct. 3, 2010http://teachers.redclay.k12.de.us/mary.tise/myth.html Myth and Magic Website featuring the works of Gerald McDermott http://www.nccil.org/experience/artists/mcdermottg/index.htm Tricksters from Myths & Legends created by Gerald McDermott