Great Links

Click through links that were selected to peak your interest. You might also try some of the special topics links within each one of the blog posts on this site. Today's topic is storytelling. You probably noticed as a follower of this site that I am highly interested in digital storytelling. See E-Folklore at Of course, when you teach using digital stories, you bring in sights, sounds, and shapes in addition to the text. The storyteller blends what is inside the head with what is outside the head in your creation of their story. Sometimes students get carried away with personal details that need to be vetted before any public showing is done. Learning what is and what is not acceptable in school culture can be a great learning experience. Teachers must be vigilant to be part of the entire process so stories are a valuable learning experience and not something that students regret at the time or in later years.
Many domains support storytelling and it has become a very popular cultural phenomenon. StoryCorps is in partnership with National Public Radio in the USA. They encourage people to interview loved ones and other people of interest. The recordings are then put on compact disk and archived in the Library of Congress. The advantage here is that you can preview other examples of recordings and learn about the genre of this type of storytelling. 
Another site that had proved valued is Story Arts Online
Lesson plans and activities for classroom, library, and outreach are provided on this site as an education resource. The significance of storytelling in curriculum is explored. 

This site includes lesson plans and activities for using storytelling in the classroom, a story library, articles about the importance and significance of storytelling as an educational tool, as well as a curriculum ideas exchange to share new ideas. Learn about upcoming storytelling events on this site, too. 
Another site is the International Storytelling Center Here you will find information about festivals and resources for storytelling. The site shows how lively the art of digital storytelling has become. 
I hope you enjoy exploring these resources and begin to tell your own stories in the process. - K. Smith


Teacher/Author Lifestyle

Each year the Manitoba Association of Teachers of English (MATE) selects a teacher candidate (one who is in the final year of their certification program) who shows potential as a teacher who will also continue to be an author, as they teach. This tradition began during 2004-2005 when I was President of MATE and Sheldon Oberman, the embodiment of teacher/author, had passed away suddenly. In his honour we established this prize.

A teacher/author may appear to be a difficult lifestyle choice since there are demands on teachers beyond school hours and demands on authors beyond writing their books. If you choose this lifestyle, you do not have to look hard to find shining examples of those who are successful teacher/authors. I have been offered suggestions by several teacher/authors on how to balance one's life in making this lifestyle choice:

1. Teach part time/write part time and it will all add up to a full-time lifestyle. The un-named source of this comment says that the money may not be great until you have earned writing success, but your satisfaction level will likely be much higher than if you had to choose only one.
2. Be a model teacher. Ignore the notion of George Bernard Shaw, "He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches." and realize the fresh advice you have for your ELA students who themselves may be budding authors. It is difficult to provide this author-type advice if you have not participated in the publishing game.
3. Decide on distribution. I derive this advice from my own past experience in the music industry. Early on before I began to teach, I played piano at the Holiday Inn. One day, I was offered a contract to go on the road.  I had to decide if I wanted to go on the road and live out of a suitcase or if I wanted to sing locally. My decision was to stay here and enjoy music where I lived. Translating that to writing? Yes, you can decide to write for newsletters and other local venues of writing distribution. It might be nice to think you will become a writer as popular as J.K. Rowling or Steven King but if you really love writing, and I hope you do, then it is a great decision to just enjoy writing and not worry about the fame and headaches that might come with that. Writers clubs will support your writing ambitions at the local level. Another way to enjoy writing may be to start your own blog. Find your own preferred level of enjoyment by experimentation with the teacher/author lifestyle.