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The City Journals

Students showcase talent of telling stories, holding a paint brush

May 17, 2018 02:49PM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama | [email protected] 

When Bella Vista first-grader Addison Boggess learned her school was doing a storytelling festival, she read “The Fox and the Goat” with her family and worked on memorizing it so she could present it to her class. 

“It was hard, but I got help from my family and was told I’m brave,” she said. “I liked (the story) because it’s cute and funny.”

Addison not only got to tell it to her class, but she was also selected as one of two students in her class who, on April 24, had the chance to present her tale to her school at their storytelling festival and art show and possibly be chosen to present it at Canyons School District’s Story Weavers.

“It’s our second year doing storytelling and we had about 70 percent of our school participate,” Principal Cory Anderson said. They brought in storyteller Suzanne Hudson to help students get excited and prepare for the festival before spring break.

Third-grade teacher Rebecca Huot said that through storytelling, it gives students an opportunity to read and gain appreciation of literature as well as practice communication and memorization skills.

“It’s a great way for students to practice feeling comfortable speaking in front of classes,” she said. “They learned how to use their voice, expression and use actions in telling stories. It’s given them confidence.”

One of the requirements with the storytelling was students had to select a tale that was published. Huot said students in Rebecca Randolph’s third-grade class decided to write and publish their own tales, which they then performed. 

“It allowed them to become creative and take their writing to a new level. It was an awesome experience for them,” she said. 

Anderson said they coupled the storytelling with the art show so families could enjoy both activities.

As part of the Beverly Taylor Sorensen Learning Program, art specialist Jaime Wizner coordinated the art show, which adorned hallways leading to the classrooms where students were presenting their stories.

“The Beverley Taylor Sorenson Arts Learning Program is a teaching partnership where the art instruction integrates with the subjects — math, literacy, social studies and science — that the students are learning in their classroom,” Wizner said.

With the projects on display, patrons should see where students learned not only about shapes, such as hexagons in fifth grade, but also about art techniques, such as wax resist on their sea turtles.

In fourth grade, students learned about different layers of soil, as they created pictures of their vegetable or flower gardens. Third-graders learned how to create 3D bird nests to tie into their science curriculum.

“I meet regularly with other art specialists to get ideas. I’m also working on my art endorsement, so I’m taking lesson plans from there to bring to our students,” said the first-year arts specialist. “I meet with the classroom teachers to learn what they’re teaching and find ways to emphasize those things to bring into my curriculum.” 

Such as when second-graders were learning time, they used oil pastels to create the face of the clock into another object.

“A lot of the students chose pizza,” Wizner said.

She also ensures students are meeting the core curriculum, such as having younger students use their fine motor skills of cutting and coordination.

It’s more than just learning about the project; it’s also being exposed to different mediums — tempera, print and others — and learning about some of the artists who inspired the art forms, Wizner said. 

“The school used to have the Meet the Masters arts program, so I’m able to use those materials and tie in those artists with times and places they will be learning about,” she said.

One project the student body united to create was a rock garden. Wizner had students paint without numbers or letters.

It was displayed by the school’s doors, which fifth-grader Lucy Nelson had left after presenting her tale, “Goldilocks and the Three Monkeys,” with classmate Sydney Dixon.

“We wanted to switch the components around so it wasn’t the same ol’ thing,” Lucy [AC1] said. “At first, it was nerve-wracking to tell tonight because it’s in front of people I didn’t recognize, but then I just had fun with it. It’s fun to tell stories, to show emotion and by doing it, I became closer to my friend.”