We are so excited to announce that we have officially met the Global Giving Open Challenge with more than 50 unique donors having given more than $4,000 in total. We have now earned a permanent spot on the Global Giving site, which is a wonderful opportunity for future fundraising efforts - thank you for helping us accomplish this significant goal! Now, we are focusing on our programming goal - we need $6,000 to be able to reach children, teachers and parents in the DC metro area community. We have until December 31 to raise funds for these valuable literacy building programs. Will you help us spread the word?
Your continued support is appreciated by us, and by all who will be reached with these programs!
We feel so blessed and wish you and yours wonderful holiday celebrations! We will keep you informed about our progress as we work towards our $6,000 goal by December 31st!
Story Tapestries' Artists have been working in the community for over 20 years. The stories below come from the archives of one of our masters, Carrie Sue Ayvar. The dollars we are raising will help to pay for her services in March at a school in Washington DC.
As Master Teaching Artists we know the process works, recognizing moments of growth and brilliance and “magic” but often never seeing the long term ramifications. Every once in a while, though, we do get a glimpse of a “ripple on the water” and for me, Carrie Sue, it serves as lights on my path. Here are just a few that have changed me.
Powerful Tale #1: A little 3 year old girl, traumatized after a hurricane, was having trouble sleeping, troubled by bad dreams. Together we created a story for her to tell herself as she went to sleep, to “start” her dreams. I came back to the preschool a month later and she came running up to me, excited and with a huge grin. “Story Lady, Story Lady, you came back! I knew you’d come back!” She had been waiting to tell me that she no longer was afraid of the bad dreams because she could now tell herself “happy” stories!
Empowering Moment #2: Geraldine V. a third grade teacher in Little Havana wrote this about an experience with one of her ESL students, Sarai: “During the final dress rehearsal of our performance of the folktale, Goldilocks and the Three Bears one of my students, Sarai, wanted to be our Goldilocks and worked extremely hard to memorize her lines. Unfortunately, when the time came to perform in front of her peers, Sarai would not budge to center stage. As much as I tried to console her and get her on stage, she just didn’t seem to want to do it. I began to panic thinking of a possible replacement and sort of “lost hope” on Sarai’s ability to perform the play. Then, Carrie Sue (our resident artist), did something that left me speechless. She took the time to work with Sarai on breathing techniques, posture, etc. and even shared personal stories with her. In the end, not only did Sarai perform in front of her peers as well as the whole school through the closed circuit channel, but Carrie Sue also restored the hope I had lost.”
Final Dynamic Moment #3: It wasn’t until almost 2 years later, at a community breakfast where he was asked to speak, did I learn Isaac’s story. Two weeks before the start of the residency with his fourth grade class his older brother, his mentor and role model, was brutally murdered. Isaac was devastated. Depressed and hopeless he said that he “felt that I was at the bottom of a deep, dark hole” and did not want to get out of bed let alone go to school or participate in anything. At 10 years old he felt as if there no light or hope. He did go back to school but was very quiet and withdrawn. Until the day the “Storyteller” came. At first there was no reaction but in the middle of the story of Florhipa Isaac found his connection. He said that he remembered that it felt as if a small light started to shine and he knew that he too, just like in the story, had the strength and courage to go on. He found his hope. Almost 2 years later he remembered the story that he had only heard once. He remembered (quite proudly!) how to stand and speak in front of others and what to do when he became nervous. He remembered the darkness but more importantly he remembered the light of hope.
Literacy is not just about learning to read, it is about discovering the power of the spoken and written word. It is because of your donation that we are able to bring both the light of learning and heart of story to our students.
Thank you for everyone who has donated thusfar. Your support has created opportunities already beyond a few classrooms. If you like what you see and read, ask your friends to donate. It is with the help of our team on the ground that we will reach our goal of $6000.
Often people wonder: Are these programs necessary? Can't they get funding elsewhere? The school below has applied for a local community grant 2 times. They were denied both times not because of the quality of their application but a lack of funds.
I would like to share an update with you regarding why your program would be so beneficial to our kindergarten students and teachers.
As you know, East Silver Spring ES has a very diverse community and a large number of our students are English Language Learners.
ESS is unique in that it is one of the few schools that serve students with moderate disabilities whose home schools are in the Blair Cluster [a cluster are all of the elementary schools that feed into one high school].
Students who are English Language Learners and the students who attend our special education program have difficulty processing oral language and therefore they benefit from a language based, “hands on” curriculum.
Since the time we worked on the grant, three more kindergarten students have or will be registered in our kindergarten special education program. Our program is inclusive, therefore these students are enrolled in the general education classes and receive support from the special education team.
These students need multi-sensory instruction and the strategies that you will share with the teachers will help them adapt the literacy curriculum so the students’ needs are met. The kindergarten team [general education teachers, the special educator, the ESOL teacher and the special education paraeducators] are motivated and excited to learn the “best practices” that you share.
Thank you for continuing to look for ways for this program to be implemented at East Silver Spring ES.
Jean K. Couchman
East Silver Spring Elementary School
Artist-in-residency programs take learning to another level - they reach every student in the classroom including those who often don't engage in the learning process, they reach the teachers to re-invigorate them to remember why they love to teach and arm them with techniques for innovative ways to get students involved, and they reach the greater school community, leaving a lasting, positive impact for the entire student body, teachers, administration, and parents. The school written about below would not have been able to bring in an artist-in-residency program had it not been for funding assistance that was received. This is a great example of how your dollars can make a difference! With your assistance, Story Tapestries can provide greatly needed financial assistance to schools and educational organizations to provide life-changing programs.
Maryland Community News
Published: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 Artist brings lively learning to New Market Elementary by Angie CochrunStaff Writer
The students sat in rapt silence, all eyes on a lone figure in the front of the room.The third- through fifth-graders watched as Arianna Ross, New Market Elementary School’s new artist in residence, did cartwheels, told expressive stories, and played music.And they didn’t even realize they were learning.Through the artist-in-residence program that kicked off Nov. 9, Ross will bring classes for both students and teachers in the art of storytelling and beyond.Robin Tormo, the school PTA’s Cultural Arts chairwoman, said the group applied for a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council in May, and learned they won it in September. “That’s a pretty big amount of money for us to get,” Tormo said. “It’s really cool.”The $1,551 grant covers half the cost of the residence, which includes class workshops and professional development for teachers.“She’ll give them different ideas for what they can do in the class,” Tormo said. “… It’s something different for them to do.”Ross said marrying traditional learning with art forms can help students access different styles of learning — visual, audio, kinesthetic. Ross, who works with all ages, said storytelling is about empowerment for both the teacher and the student. “It doesn’t matter if you’re the average to the brilliant to specific needs, everybody gets excited about arts,” Ross said. She said arts integration can be a powerful tool. “I have seen time and time again how ... when a residence is completed, the schools read at a higher level, they test at a higher level,” Ross said.Catherine Alspaugh, a teacher, self-proclaimed “drama geek” and the site coordinator for the artist’s residence, said the program takes a lot of collaboration with teachers, but they had been eager for the opportunity.“I threw it out to the whole school and got a very good response,” she said. Ross will work with five classes five times, including Alspaugh’s group.“They’re very excited,” Alspaugh said. “We have a lot of energy and enthusiasm for the arts, and that gets transferred to the kids. ... It’s really important that they have those opportunities.”Ross mixes cultural history, geography, science and character education pieces into performance. She said she knew New Market Elementary’s focus is writing, so she integrated it into the assembly on Wednesday.“Really, what these kids need to see is they need someone to model for them exactly what their teachers are saying,” said Ross, who does more than 14 artist-in-residence programs a year through her Germantown-based nonprofit, Story Tapestries.With the upcoming classes, Ross plans to work with students looking at point of view and argumentative, or persuasive, writing. Students will create a “frozen narrative” picture, and then create their own story.Ross will also working with teachers as part of her residency. “Even the teachers not involved are going to see the techniques and apply them in their classroom,” Ross said. “It’s not just reaching the five classrooms, it’s reaching the whole school.”email@example.com
Rave Reviews of Our Artistic Team in Action:
"You have done a fabulous job with our staff and students! It has been a pleasure to be part of the Artist-in-residency with you and to watch my students bloom as writers and actors. Thanks so much!!"
- Linda Miller, 3rd Grade Teacher, New Market Elementary School, New Market, MD
“I have been teaching drama for 15 years and it’s so refreshing to take a master class where I learn new strategies and techniques to do with my students.”
- Joanna Lewton, Drama Teacher, Capital City Public Charter School, Washington DC
"Thank you for inspiring me to remember how I used to teach.”
- Jen Flores, 1st Grade Teacher, Barrett Elementary School, VA
“From the moment you stepped on stage, you captivated and engaged the audience with your poised and powerful presence, transporting them to a foreign—and precarious—land, while hanging on your every word to see what unfolded next.”
- Leeny Del Seamonds, Master Storyperformer
“They sat in awe! She exceeded our expectations. We want her back next year."
- Adrian Blount, Administrator, Ideal Academy, Washington DC
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