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Sandy Journal

Canyons School District Hosts Storytelling Showcase

Oct 07, 2015 12:40PM ● By Bryan Scott

Abigail Slama-Catron gestures while telling “The Legend of Devils Tower.” Photo courtesy of Scott Catron

By Julie Slama

Elementary students from Canyons School District schools had the opportunity to present stories, fairytales or folk tales at the fifth annual district storytelling showcase, Story Weavers.

“Story Weavers engages students in the pursuit of literature and the arts and nurtures the preservation of the oral tradition of storytelling,” said Eden Steffey, district evidence-based learning elementary advanced learning specialist. “Story Weavers aids in supporting and extending the core curriculum by helping students develop an appreciation of literature and the art of storytelling, develop listening and speaking skills and develop individual confidence in one’s ability to use oral language.”

Steffey said that through storytelling, students will develop an appreciation for literature and confidence in speaking and presentation skills in telling stories. Before the district festival on May 26, each school was encouraged to hold a school storytelling festival or provide an opportunity for students to tell their stories.

At the district event, eight elementary students were given the opportunity to perform their choice of published stories either individually or with another student, and tell their three- to five-minute folk tale, fairy tale, myth, legend, fable or tall tale out loud from memory without using props or costumes and in front of families and judges. 

Afterward, students were critiqued on their performance, such as presenting with confidence and poise, enunciating and using expression, having facial expressions and eye contact, and good use of body language and enthusiasm in the story presentation. Students were also given feedback on things they did really well and things they could work on improving, as well as handed a certificate and ribbon.

Those who qualified to participate include Sophia Cheng and Ainsely Cardall with “Magic Mirror: Snow White,” Elsa Christensen presenting “The Legend of Lightning Larry,” Mina Hwang with “Fisherman and His Wife,” Asadullah Khan with “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs,” Max McFarland with “The Five Chinese Brothers,” Abigail Slama-Catron presenting “The Legend of Devils Tower” and Nicholas Wilkins with “The City Mouse and the Country Mouse.”

“Canyons School District sponsors a number of extended learning opportunities for students that extend and support the regular curriculum,” Steffey said.

Next year, the Story Weaver event will be held Feb. 25 and students in kindergarten through fifth grade are invited to participate. 

The change of date comes from the district partnering with Story Crossroads. Those students who are selected from the Story Weaver showcase will be invited to audition for the Story Crossroads event, which will be April 15-16 at the Viridian Center in West Jordan.

According to its website, Story Crossroads event is Utah-based and will feature more than 50 professional multicultural story artists, as well as more than 80 community members telling stories in the main stage event. Story Crossroads aims to gather and unify people across generations and cultures to celebrate story and promote creative communities that thrive through strengthened communication, preservation and empathy.