Teach Literacy through the Arts in DC, MD, and VA

by Story Tapestries Inc.
So Proud - exhibiting their examples
So Proud - exhibiting their examples

Your support matters!! Thank you for giving!!


This last week we were at a local school in Maryland teaching with 2nd graders and 3-5th grader classes. We were able to work with this particular school because they had received grant from Maryland State Arts Council AND a matching portion from Story Tapestries. We were able to match their grant from the donations we have received from you through Global Giving. Without your support none of the following would have been able to take place.


We were so in sync with the teachers’ needs that our customization fit right into their lesson plan. One teacher, in the 3rd grade class, was teaching on character traits as we walked into the room. It fit perfectly into the lesson plan we had for the day. The 2nd grade teacher had math vocabulary on her plan for the next day. So, our techniques bridging the concepts of multiplication, division, addition and subtraction through gesture, movement and drama was a perfect lead in for her.


The arts-literacy tools we used developed an understanding and foundation for the students (in all grade levels) to build on and enabled them to write their own examples of the work by the end of classes. The 3rd – 5th graders were writing their own story starters and the 2nd graders wrote their own math word problems. These are the results we want to see; students grasping and applying the tools taught.


We are actively looking for more funding for this school. This is one of the first of many we will work with this next year. Many will be in a financial hard spot at the end of their residency. They want the arts-literacy artists in their schools but simply cannot afford to hire them.


If you connect with this vision or know a friend who would please consider donating – it is having an enormous impact. Also please share this report with friends and family, or simply mention Story Tapestries in conversation.

Your participation in our projects to bring the Arts into every core standard is making tracks and showing instant results in the students and teachers we work with. Thank you so much for your continued support of these events and workshops. Here is one of our experiences:


Looking back on my PD Workshop and embedded residency with the staff of Pathways (workshop) and Edgewood (embedded), I can't help but smile - THEY DID NOT WANT TO DANCE. (We did.) And it was great.

Edgewood: The three teachers I worked with were game to try new things - and GAME is the word. For all classes, we made movement a playful ritual that started each class. Armed with painter's tape, oversized post cards, a sound system, and the curriculum, we set to work.

In science, we made large notecards to reinforce the vocabulary words and key concepts from the text on deforestation. Our game was to scatter the notecards on the floor and have each student select a card from the pile until all the cards were selected. Students wrote the definition on the back of the card and shared the card with the class. One by one, we built a word wall that was taped up, large enough for all to see. If a student forgot a word, they could go pull it off the wall, review it, use it, and return it. Eventually, we organized the key concepts into a grid by category and "filled in the blanks". Students also drew forest scenes and created a dance about a healthy forest, including the animals and brush growth and demonstrated the effects of deforestation through the depopulation of their "stage".


PD Workshop: WHEW! Talk about a tough crowd. Initially, the teachers of Pathways did not want to dance. They. Did. Not. Want. To. Dance. But, minute by minute, the teacher's melted into the flow of our moving introduction, praising each other's moves, and getting to see each other in a whole new light. We explored how to teach math through movement. We created a math poem as a group. We moved our poetry and used tableau as a starting point for movement. We laughed. We hugged. We learned. The group came together in a raucous and beautiful way that created some lasting motivation to incorporate movement into the curriculum.


To read the whole story go HERE.


Thank you again for continuing to bring the Arts into the lives of our communities.


If you love being part of this project please send it to a friend who can love supporting it too.

Performing with Confidence
Performing with Confidence

Thank you so much for choosing to be a continued part of this project. We could not accomplish what we do without you.


Often times we send you a note of one of our experiences or an upcoming event in our report. This time we would like to share with you a note from one of our Board Members on why she decided to become a partner with Story Tapestries.


"Becoming involved with Story Tapestries was not a difficult decision for me given all that the company has done for my school. I first met Arianna Ross about six years ago when she was selected by my school as a performing artist in an assembly. I was intrigued by her arts integration style so when she approached me about scheduling a full blown residency with her for the next school year, I was eager to make it happen. Unfortunately, my school was just unable to afford the residency and we weren't able to make it happen for a few years. It was those years that Story Tapestries was being born out of hard work, need, and sweat. The seemingly insurmountable financial gap was suddenly non existent and Jessup Elementary School's partnership with Arianna Ross and Story Tapestries began. That partnership has been going strong for over four years. Experiencing the power of this company's programming first hand, made it a no brainer to become involved on the board level when I was approached. I look forward to bringing awesome arts integration programming to other schools that may have fallen between the cracks just like Jessup."


We are continually connecting with and developing relationships like this one. These connections are the building blocks of our organization. They create our framework and expand our reach within the communities we serve. We would love to further deepen and broaden the reach of our partnership with you. If you have a need or interest please contact us. 


If you love this project please share with a friend and encourage them to take part in this project too.


Thank you so much for being part of this project with us. We could not accomplish all that we do without your support.

One of our artists, Suzanne Richard, recently had a wonderful experience working with the VSA though the Kennedy Center. Below are some notes from her interactions but you can read the full story HERE.


Arts integration in special education seems so fundamental to me that I welcomed the chance to present at a series of Professional Development programs on that very subject.  Thanks to a grant from VSA Arts, Arianna Ross and I, of Story Tapestries, had the chance to share the ideas of Embodied Storytelling to groups of teachers who I knew would benefit immensely from this work.  The inclusion of multiple styles of learning are vital to a well-rounded education. That benefit increases exponentially when dealing with students whose various disabilities may affect their ability to receive and retain information in a traditional classroom culture...

With the first, larger group, after introducing them to our basic embodied storytelling tools which, among other things, allow teachers and aides to create a collaborative and focused work environment, develop and enhance the acquisition of new vocabulary, and begin to get them to explore kinesthetic modes of learning, we focused on exploring texts that illuminate different scientific processes...


First they were asked to draw, in pictures, the elements of this paragraph (main idea, supporting details and conclusion) on a graphic chart we gave them. Then they put together a presentation of these paragraphs for the rest of the room with each person embodying a different element of the paragraph. The end result was a tableau at the end of the process...

It was a beautiful example of the existence of different styles of learning and the value of arts being integrated into daily learning activities. During reflection time at different points in the program, teachers and aides shared with their colleagues specific areas where they thought our activities could really enhance the learning experience and foster retention in their classrooms. By the end of the workshop, many of these ideas were coming from former skeptics and the whole group was engaged.

A smaller group of elementary school teachers required a different approach...

For example, as we focused on the process of metamorphosis with this group, we took them on an imaginary physical journey around the classroom as butterflies, visiting different colored flowers and creating a world to embody the story in.  The sheer silliness of the activity allowed for laughter and commentary in an active process that was also easily identified as a fun activity for their students.


As the target student age of this group was younger, we had them work on a sentence about one aspect of the process and then illustrating that concept on a graphic.  Once they were broken into groups, they each presented their sentence as a part of a group. Although it was not a competitive atmosphere, even the “cool kid” in the back of the room took great pride in showing what he had created as part of a group and by the end, everyone was eager to share how they thought this work could be applied in their classrooms...

All teachers can enrich their classrooms using Embodied Storytelling.  But more importantly, the creation of inclusive classrooms in any classroom environment can add to the power of arts integration.


If you LOVE this project please share this report with friends and family, or simply mention Story Tapestries in conversation. 

Your support makes ALL of the following possibile. We thank you So very much for each and every donation you give.


We have just a few days left for the applicants for the Maryland State Arts Counsil (MSAC) Grant. We, in partnership with Young Audiences of Maryland, are working with a number of schools to apply for the grant and plan Residencies for the school year 2015-2016. For a portion of these schools they do not have enough funds on their own to participate in the MSAC Matching funds grant. Because of this project, you support here on Global Giving, we at Story Tapestries are able to assist those schools and bring "their funds" up to the matching amount. With more schools contacting us daily here are some of the schools your donations are helping so far:

  • Kent Island Elementary School
  • Lakelands Parks Middle School
  • Leonardtown Elementary School
  • Overlook Elementary School
  • Oakwood Elementary School
  • Fruitland Primary Elementary School 


These Residencies are exactly what this project is all about. Your contributions are bring Literacy via the arts into the schools. We see every day the change an impact in both the students and teachers lives when we incorporate art strategies with the Common Core. The students are increasing their global awareness, creativity, innovation, critical thnking, problem solving collaboration, technology, life and career skills as we work with them. They are developing their self confidences as they see themselves learn and apply the skills we are teaching.


When we build these residencies we customize them to meet the needs for the class and the cirrculum. Here are a few of the types of residencies that we use. You can also check out our videos here or see this exciting NEW video.  

  • Math+Arts Integration=Empowered Math Understanding
  • Wonderfully Ridiculous Letter Stories: Using Creative Writing and Storytelling to Motivate and Improve Literacy
  • Discovering the Power of the Written Word:  Creating Visual Storytelling with a Combination of Visual art and Creative Writing
  • Discovering the Power of the Written Word: Using Creative Writing and Storytelling to Motivate Students to Become Authors
  • STEM plus Arts=Learning Full STEAM Ahead:  Using Story, Movement and Visual Images to explain the Principles of Science
  • STEM plus Arts=Learning Full STEAM Ahead:  A Highly Engaging Kinesthetic Exploration of the Scientific Process
  • His-story, Her-Story, Our-Story: Explaining history through writing, drama and dance
  • Stories-in-Motion= Fiction and Non-fiction plus Dance and Story, which brings to the end goal of Comprehension

Again, thank you for your support and continued donations making this project possible.


If you know of anyone who would love to be part of this project please forward this to them.


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Organization Information

Story Tapestries Inc.

Location: Germantown, MD - USA
Website: http:/​/​www.storytapestries.com/​
Project Leader:
Arianna Ross
Germantown, Maryland United States
2016 Year End Campaign
Time left to give
$27,486 raised of $45,000 goal
595 donations
$17,514 to go
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