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Watch videos of teaching artists whose classroom workshops and residencies support the COMMON CORE STANDARDS with the focus on Pre-K to Fifth Grade.

Teaching artists showcase their performances and follow-up activities.

The focus of this online showcase is on artists who perform AND spend a lot of time in Pre-K through Fith Grade classrooms as teaching artists.
The artists perform, talk about what they do in the classroom and about how our programs link to the Common Core Standards.

The Connecticut Storytelling Center has crafted this program using the performers’ strengths to illustrate how we meet the preschool benchmarks, what we do with elementary school students in regards to retelling, sequencing, visualizing, predicting, writing, making connections and more. Each performer tells a story and describes a follow-up activity.

For bookings and information:

860-439-2764 or email: info@connstorycenter.org

– Here is an overview of our schools programs –

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– Meet the Presenters –

Sara deBeerSara deBeer

Ears of all ages perk up, eyes widen, and minds travel to distant lands when Sara deBeer launches into a tale. A teller since 1978, Sara delights audiences of all ages with her repertoire of international folktales. Sara performs in schools, libraries, senior centers, museums, and festivals. Listeners savor the wit and wisdom of the stories she tells.

In her work as an artist-in-residence, Sara designs programs that tie in with on-going classroom studies of science, social studies, and language arts. An experienced classroom teacher with degrees from Yale and Bank Street, Sara offers workshops for tellers at every level of experience. Participants develop new insights about storytelling, guided by Sara's expertise in both education and the arts.

Sara is a “Connecticut Performing and Teaching Artist” (Department of Economic and Community Development) and is affiliated with “Storytellers in the Schools” (CT Storytelling Center). She is also a trained facilitator for “Familyread”, “Book Voyagers”, and “Literature for a Lifetime” ( CT Humanities Council) Sara has two solo storytelling recordings: Women of Wisdom, Women of Faith (Jewish folktales) and Seven Stories (international folktales). Sara also is the editor of Open Ears: Musical Adventures for a New Generation.

When Sara thinks of the value of storytelling, she remembers running into some New Haven teenagers. They stared at her for a few moments and then smiles of recognition broke out on their faces. "You're the storyteller, aren't you? You came to our second grade class and told us that story about that magic tree.” These kids had heard her six years before, and yet they still remembered her AND the story she'd told them; their smiles showed that the memories were good ones.

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Leeny Del SeamondsLeeny Del Seamonds

With a face and voice that launched a thousand characters, Leeny Del Seamonds is an internationally acclaimed performer, coach, multi award-winning recording artist and professional Voice Actor. Her animated and uplifting tales and tunes reflect her love of people and desire to embrace life to its fullest.

From a prized television show to a village in Gengcun, China, to the Comix Club in NYC to the National Storytelling Festival and Cayman Islands International Storytelling Festival, Leeny encourages listeners to rejoice in human and cultural diversity, inviting them to share in her Cuban-American sense of humor and joy of performing.

The 2002 National Storyteller of the Year®, Leeny Del Seamonds is recipient of Parents’ Choice Gold & Silver Awards, a Storytelling World Winner Award and an iParenting Media Winner Award. She is celebrated and sought-after for engaging, interactive performances (for all ages) and hands on skill-building workshops. Leeny’s unique, versatile and champagne voice draws listeners in and holds them captive.

Leeny Del Seamonds stars in the PBS and Fox Television/DVD series Ribert & Robert’s WonderWorld, a cherished children’s program airing globally. Her highly praised recording ¡Ay Caramba! ¡Ay Ay Ay! Cuentos y Canciónes (Latino Stories & Songs) takes listeners on a journey through Leeny's rich Latino heritage and won a 2003 Parents' Choice Silver Award. Leeny's musical CD, CelloTales: The Melding of Music, Myth & Memories, created and performed with cellist Gideon Freudmann, won a 2004 Parents' Choice Gold Award and a 2005 Storytelling World Winner Award. Her newest recordings are geared for seasoned listeners. It Takes Two to Tango – Ties that Bind Us is an alluring, witty and insightful look at the triumphs and tribulations of relationships and Shadows in the Woods – Spine-Tingling Tales is a compilation of Leeny’s original scary stories guaranteed to shiver and chill all who lend an ear.

With passion, fire and wit, Leeny Del Seamonds’ dynamic one-woman shows and renowned workshops headline festivals, concerts and events worldwide.

“Internationally acclaimed Leeny Del Seamonds is a natural entertainer whose multicultural stories and songs reflect her love of people. An award-winning master storyteller, Del Seamonds peppers her tales with humor, mime, character impersonations and her vivacious personality.” –The Boston Globe

“Leeny, a heartfelt thank you for sharing your multiple talents and superb stories – you are truly a wonderful ambassador for storytelling!” – International Storytelling Center

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Peg DonovanPeg Donovan

It's storytime like you've never had it before! With books, puppets and flannel board in hand, Ms. Peg will lead your children on a merry journey into the magical world of words, spoken and written. Using rhyme, rhythm and audience participation storytelling, Ms. Peg engages preschoolers and K-1 classes in a fun-filled, 45 minute story program sure to delight your youngsters and inspire their teachers!

Listed in the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism's Performing Artists roster, Ms. Peg has performed in schools, daycares, libraries, community centers and festivals throughout Connecticut and Rhode Island.

"Ms. Peg's storytime is a must for any school readiness program." - Pat Dalton, Early Chilhood Education Director, Mystic, Connecticut

"When Ms Peg comes,the children take delight in "reading" with her as they are guided through their learning using songs, fables, puppets and books. Our youngest learners come to love and respect early literature, understand stories, predict story outcomes, develop phonemic awareness, rhyme, all while having fun. I've seen children come to love literacy in all its forms - talking, listening, reading, writing and communicating. There can be no better gift to give a child that will prepare them for future success." - Cheryl LaMothe, Site Manager, New London Day Nursery

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Tom HanfordTom Hanford

In recent years Tom has taken his interactive shows for children to Old Sturbridge Village and The Berkshire Museum in MA, Clermont State Historic Site, The Farmer’s Museum, Olana, and Erie Canal Village in NY, and many other museums, historic sites, festivals, schools and libraries.

His programs combine music, story telling, and Tom’s colorful painted masks. Tom is currently listed in The Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism’s Directory of Performing Artists.

Tom is a certified teacher of Music Together, a nationwide music program for preschoolers and their grownups. He has been teaching Music Together in Fairfield and Litchfield Counties for over ten years. He also teaches mask making for children in libraries, schools, and through After School Arts Programs in New Preston, Connecticut.

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Parents’ Choice Award-winning storyteller Motoko has enchanted audiences of every age since 1993. She specializes in Asian folktales, Zen tales, comical tales and ghost stories from old Japan, as well as personal stories from her childhood in Japan and her life as an immigrant in the U.S.

Motoko is nationally known for her appearances on “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood,” at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, and many other festivals across the nation. She and her partner Eshu Bumpus headlined the 2012 Connecticut Storytelling Festival.

Motoko is the author of "A Year in Japan: Folktales, Songs, and Art for the Classroom". She offers K-8 classrooms workshops and residencies on Japanese culture, Chinese folklore, creative writing, and origami math.

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Bob ReiserBob Reiser

Bob is an expansive storyteller, teacher and an award-winning author of books for children and adults. Whether he is spinning an original wonder-tale for children, bringing new life to an old folk tale or recounting stories of growing-up in Brooklyn, Bob brings warmth and wit to everything he tells. Jay O'Callahan says, "Bob smiles with his whole body!"

From New York's Clearwater Hudson River Festival to Pittsburgh's Three River Festival to Vancouver's World Storytelling Day Bob brings his unique and joyous story telling around the world.

McFarland Press listed him among the "120 best contemporary English-speaking Storytellers."
Dr. Morgan Hill (Brother Blue) calls him a "force of nature."

Through his school residencies in Story-making and Storytelling he has taught thousands of children throughout the northeast how to craft and tell their own tales.

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Carolyn Stearns Carolyn Stearns – Storyteller & Announcer
"I make a simple story one you never forget"

Stories for all ages, filled with rich coloration brought by diverse experiences in agriculture, history, the equine world and music.

Cathie Hatrick-Anderson of Bobcat Farm said of a performance, "... I love the way she tells a story, she is able to take you right along with the main character from dark pathways on a windy night to the dusty streets of Tombstone. You can actually put yourself right in the story. Story telling of this caliber has just about become a lost art. It’s not only refreshing to listen to these stories it takes the older folks back to the days when grandma and grandpa would spin yarns. I really can’t speak for the younger set, but it may be their first real experience to actually hear a story that’s not coming from a television or a computer. What a treat!"

Another voice, this one from a school program: "Carolyn, Thanks so much for another memorable afternoon at Wolf Rock. You really captivate the imaginations of the third graders and adults alike!" – Deb Csere, Vinton School

For storytellers, for students, seniors and communities.
Web Presence for beginners, Living and Telling the Civil War Experience, Public Speaking - the number one fear can be tamed!

S.T.E.A.M. Ice Cream - STEM curriculum with the art of storytelling - a workshop that teachers the curriculum using alternative energy to make 5 gallons of ice cream.

Workshop particpant Christine Rothe said of the Web Presence Workshop: "Carolyn took us through the basic steps but gave us so much more in the process. She seemed to know what our fears and our questions were and answered them before we could even ask. She gave clear and insightful information and encouragement to try new things and why it is important to do so."

Story Event Production and Promotion:
Current producer of the A-MAZE-ING Story Slam, VoiceMail Storytelling Open Mic, Campus Slammer, and Tellabrations.

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Ellie ToyEllie Toy

With lyric skill and intensity, Ellie Toy brings stories to life.
Audiences of all ages are invited to join her in exploring the magic and wonder of folk lore, ghost stories, literary stories and more.

Regardless of the setting, she is equally at home in performance or workshops. Her audio tape, The Boggart and Other Stories" includes the classic Connecticut legend, The Simsbury Witch.

Listed in the Connecticut Commission on Culture & Tourism's Directory of Performing Artists.

"Your performances have always been a magical experience to me." - Diane Austin, PTO President.

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Teresa Whitaker & Frank Schwartz Teresa Whitaker & Frank Schwartz

Teresa is a musician and storyteller, originally from Cynthiana, Kentucky. Rhythm and a mercurial voice are trademarks of Teresa Whitaker’s lively and joyous performances. Teresa tells original stories and traditional myths and folktales, weaving in participatory music with songs, guitar, Celtic harp and percussion instruments.

Teresa has done hundreds of residencies and workshops, for both children and adults. She offers a wide variety of programs connecting storytelling to literacy standards, including:

• Learning to tell stories
• "Listening to the World" (school wide storytelling festival)
• Storytelling; writing and speaking
• Intergenerational storytelling
• Creating a Lullaby Tradition
• Creating Bedtime Stories and Lullabies (with Teresa and Eshu Bumpus)

She performs with her husband, musician Frank Schwartz, in schools, universities, libraries and festivals, and she leads teacher workshops. She co-leads a retreat for women storytellers in MA each summer.

Frank is a musician and songwriter from Baltimore, Maryland who grew up listening to and playing many styles of music. Frank sings and plays guitar, bass, old-time banjo and the mandolin.

Together they are also carrying on the musical and educational legacy of Tom Wisner, Maryland’s first environmental educator. They offer workshops and performances on deepening environmental connections through stories and songs.

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For bookings and information:

860-439-2764 or email: info@connstorycenter.org

CT Commission on Culture and Tourism Connecticut College League for the Advancement of New England Storytelling The National Storytelling Network The Graduate Institute The New Jersey Storytelling Network