Story Telling with the Grade 1

by Mrs. Sarah Elizaga
Photo by Mr. Emman Villaverde

storytelling with the Grade 1 boys

I’m still high from last Thursday’s story telling session. It was the grade 1 boy’s Linggo ng Wika celebration and I was invited to share a legend. I was already informed a few weeks ago through a letter but I haven’t had the time to talk to Ms. Pablo. I can simply call her and back out since I have no experience in storytelling at all but I didn’t. I went to the GS library to look for an alamat that they might like. Among the Moderno Series of Lampara Books I saw are:

Alamat ng niyog

Alamat ng mangga

Alamat ng ampalaya

Alamat ng butiki

Alamat ng papaya

Alamat ng pating

I borrowed a few and browse through them. I was already contemplating on getting the shark story but I was still undecided. 

TIP #1: Consider the choices of those people with the same gender as your audience.

Or at least, find a mother of 3 boys and ask her what their preferences are. If you can’t find one, ask a teacher from an all boys’ school. In my case, since I worked for a boys’ school, I asked the opinion of our two male library staff. But they came with two different titles. Mr. Villaverde chose Alamat ng Mangga and Mr. Austria chose Alamat ng Pating. The latter thinks that the boys will get more excited with sharks; the former believes that it will be easier to create props for the mangga story. Mr. Villaverde is an artist so he’s more likely to think about the props; Mr. Austria, on the other hand, has an experience in storytelling, librarianship and teaching boys.

TIP #2: Consider your visuals.

I chose Alamat ng Pating but I haven’t really thought about the whole script. The weeks prior to this session have been very busy and blurry. I was thinking of buying a vampire’s teeth and making a fin head dress but I couldn’t find one in the mall and I don’t really have much time to look for it. Besides, the fangs might not even work since I have to project my voice. I might end up not feeling comfortable. So I discarded the idea. Since my husband is into fishing, I already asked him to lend me his fishing rod and fish net. Mr. Austria has an ornamental boat paddle which he willingly lent me. I also asked my husband to take a picture of the book’s pages so I can create a PPT background for the boys to look at. I placed some downloaded midis of waves, fairy songs, rainfall and crowd noises to make it even more realistic. Then I thought of having a big shark to complete the look, so I bought a 30”x40” illustration board for less than 60 pesos. I drew the outline of a kid-friendly shark and ask Mr. Villaverde to paint it. He painted the shark, traced the outlines and cut the shark while I prepare my script and presentation. On the day of my session, I brought a shiny red cloth to pretend that I was the daughter of the rich man. The color red is a vital part of the story. My original plan was to wear a red shirt but when I woke up that morning I realized that my red shirt was inside the laundry basket. I ran to my mom’s house to look for her shawl, I didn’t find it but I found a better one.

TIP# 3: Do not create an exact script.

I tried creating a script the night before my session but I was already tired from creating my visuals that I decided to sleep on it. I woke up feeling giddy. I went to work early and started preparing an outline. I read it several times while looking at my PPT. Mr. Austria suggested I ask questions like:

Sino sa inyo ang mahilig sa pula?

He said that this will make the session interactive. I figured if I create an exact script I might end up not being able to memorize it. Worse I might buckle or get lost along the way. The words will eventually come out. New and brighter ideas will sprout like mongo. You’ll be surprise on how much information can be “concocted” just by looking at their reaction. The real story didn’t really mention anything about the shark sniffing people but I figured it’s a good addition when the boys in my first session were so attentive. I had to get closer to them to make the story interactive. The story doesn’t have a part where the main character Don Paking went from house to house. I added it. The boys liked it so I decided to incorporate it again in my next session. Mr. Villaverde was thrilled and he suggested we put down the “bahay kubo” display we found at the venue. The possibilities are endless.

TIP# 4: Practice makes perfect.

Reading the outline and practicing gave way to more ideas. The more I practice, the less I become nervous. Practicing allowed me to think about the situation and what are the possible things to happen. I practiced and move around like no one was around me. Mr. Austria and Mr. Villaverde were already laughing at me. But that gave me boost.

TIP# 5: Be early on your venue.

To see a bigger picture, check your venue. I went there 30 minutes before my session. This may be a bit late but since I have to work first, I decided 30 minutes was okay. Mr. Nico Ocampo, the AV staff, has already set up my microphone, screen and projector when I got there. The aide, Kuya Crispin, already brought my props to the EED library which was just across my venue.

TIP# 6: Bring along friends.

Mr. Villaverde has volunteered to help me set up and take pictures during the session. Since he still has lunch duties at GSLRC, he promised to follow at once.  Teacher Baby, the EED librarian, helped me moved the projectors and microphones. She also turned on the air conditioners to ventilate the area. When Mr. villaverde arrived, he manipulated the microphone setup and adjusted the plugs so I can charge my laptop.  Teacher Baby left because she has a class but promised to return after it. Mrs. Diaz, the Grade 4 librarian,  came at the latter part of the first session and helped click the PPT for the second session. Mrs. de Luna  dropped by to cheer and give suggestions for the next session.
The storytelling session is another first for me. I could have backed out and never knew how is it to stand in front and act. I could have backed out and wait for a next time. I could have backed out and suffer mean looks and ugly whispers from other people. But I didn’t. It only proves that everything is doable. At least in my own point of view.

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