Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Class Notes: Tuesday, 7/21/09

Initial discussion grew out of Rachel's working rehearsal of "Rumpelstiltskin." David was discussing w/Rachel how to "color the story" when
the class began to assemble. Then followed a discussion on naming, naming rituals and their importance. David offered "Rumplepoorskin" as a variation on the tale's namesake. There was also discussion of seeing the tale from Rumpelstiltskin's point of view, and the context of an adoptive parent was offered as a way to re frame that character.

Skip chapters 8,9,10 unless feeling compelled to read the entire text.
Read Chapter 11 on Non-verbal behavior, and the articles that will be sent via e-mail.
Analysis of conversational story due Monday, July 27. Use the Story Analysis article on the Blog dated 2/20/09 as a model for organizing that paper.

Then we listened to a recording of one of the group discussions from Monday's class. Following are the observations:
  • Steve's story about the elephant was played, and David pointed out that there was an innate sense of story structure in that. It was also a good example of how a story may need a coda to be completed for both teller and listener.
  • Ilene jumped into the assigned task of discussing the reading, "Social Work." There was an example of citing David's words to give added weight to the speaker's words (name dropping). As the discussion progressed, there was a shift in energy and tone that was easily discerned, indicating that the group members were more comfortable with the task at hand.
  • Group members began connecting the threads of discussion and connecting them to personal story. (Kristi's story about her grandmother and the bugs!) This was seen as an attempt to be inclusive and affirming of one another.
"PS 10"
David told the story of "PS 10" which is a trickster tale about his experience of telling stories in an alternative school in the Bronx. The trickster was a 2ND grader who bested his teacher with a wad of gum.
The story served as a springboard to discuss involvement strategies. These included:
  1. seeking common ground - Beth and Ilene's stories about parents and bugs that followed Kristi's story about Grandma and the bugs
  2. affirmations
  3. use of specific details
  4. ellipses - what is left unsaid, i.e. the punchline for Steve's elephant story.
  5. entry behaviors into the conversation
"Drowning on Sullivan St.": from the website "The Moth"
We listened to the story of a man who had gone to NY seeking his fortune as a master craftsman. We followed him to a point of relative success, and then he was the victim of a random act of violence and nearly lost his life. He shared the story of his rescue and recovery and came to the conclusion that NYC saved his life.

The effectiveness of the telling was due to:
  1. the fairy tale structure of his story follows the heroic journey. There is the call to adventure, the road of trials, the descent into the darkness, the magical helpers, the return into the world, and the sharing of the boon.
  2. the grooming of the audience through his affiliations - the police, the Mafia, the ladies on the street
  3. ability to create phrases that had a poetic quality to them : "I realized I was running a non-profit support group for earnest woodworkers, " and "wool hat wearing carpenters from Vermont."
The Moth is a club in NYC and LA, as well as a website, that is devoted to urban storytelling. These are all personal stories. The founder of The Moth hails from Georgia, and is attempting to re-create the community and atmosphere of telling stories on the porch in his native Georgia, and the camaraderie that is built as a result.

Check this out: a recommendation by Ilene
Vivian Gussin Paley's work about early childhood education using storytelling

David then tried to start a discussion on discourse analysis, but alas, his brain was fried. Discussion to be continued...

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