Thursday, November 19, 2009

ARticle in Abington Mariner

Time travels: Abington students learn

about Thanksgiving from storyteller

By Mikaela Slaney

Thu Nov 19, 2009, 08:50 AM EST

Abington -
In a scene reminiscent of the Hogwarts School from the Harry Potter series, a cloaked woman stood at the front of the class waving a stick over her head as her students emulated her.
But the students were tying pipe cleaner loops to the reeds and making a game where they could try to catch the loop on the end of the stick.
Their teacher for the afternoon, storyteller, Andrea Lovett, had taken over Adrienne Whalen’s Center School 3rd grade class to teach the children about what life was like for pilgrims, in preparation for Thanksgiving on Nov. 26.
The students also spun wooden blades like helicopters into the air, and played with the well-known wooden ball-in-a-cup game.
But Lovett’s engaging program—A Journey Through Time: A Pilgrim’s Story—was not all fun and games, Lovett said. It was also a chance to learn through the art of story telling.
“I think it went very well,” Lovett said. “ when I checked in with the students, they understood the message of the story…I try to create images so they have a clear picture of where we are traveling within the story.”
Earlier in the demonstration, the children were asked to sniff a plant and guess what it could be. Lovett revealed they were mint leaves, which pilgrims used in tea to curb stomach ailments.
By playing word games with each other, Lovett tested the students’ ability to answer one popular pilgrim riddle—What is full all day and then empty at night?
After several guesses, Lovett revealed it was shoes.
“It was fun because we got to make the toys and play with some of them, and smell the plants,” said Fraser Toomey, 9. “I think pilgrim life was fun and sometimes a little bit bad because sometimes there wasn’t a lot to eat.”
Lovett said she started storytelling 17 years ago, noting she has studied the art of storytelling in classes and workshops .
“Narrative language is a natural to the brain,” Lovett said. “It makes it easy to grasp information. We think in images.”
Lovett also teaches storytelling to students at Gardner Elementary School in Allston, adding studies are being conducted in some schools on the possibility that storytelling improves MCAS literacy scores for children when used as an academic literacy tool.
She currently participates in “Story Slams,” five minute storytelling competitions in Boston, and she also co-founded, an Internet site focusing on storytelling.
Whalen explained that later this semester, her students will be reading historical non-fiction about young pilgrims Sarah Marten and Samuel Eaton.
They will also learn what it was like to be a child back then, through the eyes of someone their own age.
“We’re really just building background in terms of the holidays, talking about Thanksgiving and what they’re thankful for,” Whalen said.

From Nash School in Weymouth

Dear Andrea,

The children loved the shows. Shannon's crew were talking about the nature stories as they got off the bus.  You know it was a great success when they are still talking hours later!

It was great to meet you. Thank you for bringing your talent to Nash. 


(Paula Junn)

April 7, 2012
Text size  +
“We expect stories to be a little bit embellished, but our rule is 99 percent true,” says Andrea Lovett, a professional storyteller and founder of Massmouth, a nonprofit storytelling organization that will conclude its 2011-12 story slam season Wednesday night with the Big Mouth Off at the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline. Fifteen Massachusetts-based storytellers will perform, and ticket proceeds will benefit the StoriesLive High School Scholarship Story Slam.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Article in Winchester Star

WFEE: Storyteller grips Muraco imaginations

By Staff reports

Fri Oct 23, 2009, 10:01 AM EDT

Winchester, MA - Tales of hairy bears, five uncles named “Pete” and purple stuffing for Thanksgiving mesmerized students at a recent Muraco Elementary School assembly.

A grant from the Winchester Foundation for Educational Excellence (WFEE) brought three storytellers to Muraco for a school assembly and individual classroom work.

The storytellers — Andrea Lovett, Lani Peterson and Norah Dooley — used the assembly to introduce the oral tradition to students.

“Students take in more vocabulary and complicated concepts through oral tradition,” explained Lovett. “Narrative is their first language.”

The focus quickly shifted to the classroom where third, fourth and fifth-graders learned how to draw on their own experiences to tell stories about their lives. Once they master telling a story, they will work on writing it, reinforcing existing curriculum.

Fifth grade teacher Brenda Turney came to WFEE for help bringing the storytellers to Muraco. She believes storytelling will improve student writing and enhance self-esteem.

“The oral tradition teaches the essential components of how to organize a story,” said Turney. “Often, students who struggle with writing will find that writing becomes easier as they gain storytelling skills.”

“WFEE was delighted to fund this grant,” said WFEE Executive Director Caren Connelly. “It is creative and promotes teacher collaboration across grade levels. Students with varying abilities and maturity can use their own stories to master writing. This fits well with WFEE’s longtime emphasis on improving literacy skills within the Winchester school system.”

The storytelling project will culminate in the spring with a school-wide festival.

Friday, June 22, 2007

"Andrea lovett is brilliant and marvelously playful. Her enthusiasm sweeps up an sudience and leavs it full of delight. She us a soaring star." Jay O'Callahan, Master Storyteller

 "Thank you for comng to our school today. You did an outstanding job. The children absolutely loved it." Deborah St. Oves Principal William Seach School, Weymouth,Mass

"Andrea, I just wanted to tell you that you received rave reviews from one of our veteran teachers this morning about your teaching. We've been very impressed with the quality of instruction , your energy and your investment in our kids." Julie Bott, director of enrichment programs gardner School, Allston

Hi Andrea,
What an engaging morning!  Thank you so much for your vitality, storytelling and interactive games.  I loved watching everyone laughing and joining in...and  that includes not only the children but adults!You clearly love your work. Thank you for sharing today!
Have a wonderful weekend,
- - Gail Young Audiences Agency
This one for adult performance
Adult Venue

Hi folks,
I want to give a HUGE shout-out to Andrea Lovett who was absolutely amazing last night. She has the audience rolling in the aisles with here Stories from the Table. It was such a treat to hear her and so many folks were raving about her performance as the evening ended. Karen Chace Host of Story CafĂ© , New Bedford

"The kids LOVED you!! They were talking about the show and "doodle wopping" the rest of the day. Thanx for the great Show",Pam , Teacher Weymouth

Letter from Citizens Schools
names of students have been deleted to ensure privacy to individuals mentioned

Dear Norah, Andrea, and Doria

First, thank you so much for the great photos of the event on Monday. I was so sad that I could not be there to see the WOW; I heard from Ms. Greenbaum that it was fantastic (especially Sarah getting up to tell her story at the last minute!) I know that the group story for the WOW on Wednesday was a huge hit. My morning supervisor from our headquarters came and was thrilled (she especially thought ***** was good).

I wanted to take a minute to really thank you for the quality apprenticeship which you delivered this semester. When I hoped in August to get a storytelling apprenticeship to the Gavin, I really couldn’t have imagined that everything would turn out so well. As your TL support, I thoroughly enjoyed myself, mostly because of how fun the sessions always were and because of the high level of investment that you all made in our kids. Your tireless efforts with the group, and especially with some of our most withdrawn kids, have paid off in all aspects of our program. The biggest changes I’ve observed are in ****, ****, and ****. They are both less shy, more willing to speak up. Sarah has taken positive risks in circle and in class. **** has become willing to try things which he would have refused point-blank before and his relationship with all the adults in the program has improved. **** has gone from being a quiet leader on our campus to a vocal leader. I think ***** has been bitten by the performance bug because he’s asking us to make sure there are performing or public speaking apprenticeships next semester. ***** memorized her entire script for her other WOW with Goldman Sachs and was the most natural public speaker in the group. Because of the group-oriented focus of our program, this would never have happened if it weren’t for the three of you, and I am amazed and thankful.

You all three are such excellent educators and it was obvious in the excitement of the students around your apprenticeship. You had them hooked from the beginning, from the moment Andrea included their names in her story of kitchen hands to the group’s creation of South Dorpattabury to your taking the time to customize the covers of their CDs with the pictures of their stories that they had drawn. Middle schoolers love to talk about how much they hate *everything*… but after the first session I never heard them say negative things about going to storytelling, even when they were struggling through the day (as happens so often when you are 12 or 13). Seeing the students’ reaction when they listened to themselves recorded telling their stories was priceless. The individual attention that each of you was able to give them was great and I could see that all the students appreciated the intimacy of the communication through the journals every week. **** (taking her cue from you, I’m sure) has taken to writing me letters when she wants to tell me something and it’s hard because of the group setting. This is just one more indication of how your work with the students has gone way beyond the bounds of the ordinary apprenticeship.

I know we had spoken at the WOW about the possibility of your continuing your work with some of our students, tightening up their stories and taking them on tour. I’ve mentioned it off-hand to a few of the students you named and they seem excited. If this is something you’d like to pursue, I know Brent, Chris and I would be happy to support you in whatever way we can. Also, if you’d ever think you’d like to work with our students again, or if anyone you know might want to work with some awesome kids, we would be thrilled.

On a personal note, I feel that I’ve received a real education about storytelling this semester and look forward to staying involved and supporting LANES by attending your events. I really enjoyed the Three Apples festival and the Halloween Spooky Stories night in Davis Square. Please let me know about your performances in the future!

Thank you so much again for your dedication to our students.

All the best,