Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Letters That Make It Worthwhile

I visited this school the first week of November, 2014.  Sometimes, you get letters that make you promise that no matter how crazy things get, you've made the right choice.  Thank you to everyone who supports artists and the arts.

Lizanne Wilson Blogs at

Dear Ms. Washington,

I know my colleague and Co-Chair of our Storytelling Committee is going to write to express our gratitude for your recent visit to Baker Demonstration School. I must also add my deepest thanks.
As the Drama Specialist, I am presently teaching a Storytelling class to 18 middle school students. This is my first storytelling class at Baker. I have worked to craft a class that engages my young students while challenging them to utilize the storytellers tools to prepare a well-told tale.

I joined my students last week in our intimate Carlson Auditorium to listen to your stories. As I watched and listened to you spin your evocative tales, they (and I) were riveted. That's a monumental achievement with middle school students! Later in the day, in storytelling class, my students discussed your work and what a conversation unfolded. The students spoke of their delight at listening to your stories, of how they were going to "look you up" online to listen to more of yoru stories. They also spoke about your use of voice, gesture and physical posture to shape the characters and the plot of a story for telling. They discussed the musicality and variety of your vocal delivery and of the deliciously disgusting description of one of your more vivid characters. Ah, the sounds you created! My young storytellers revisited the slurp and squish of the character and of the fact that you must have worked very hard to create something so delightfully specific and grotesque.

So thank you for your work and for helping my students to make the "leap of faith" as storytellers. Your storytelling came at a perfect point in the semester and enabled them to realize that only with hard work comes such virtuosity; and that even a hardworking novice storyteller has the potential (with lots of practice) to entrance an audience with the ancient art of storytelling. We are now working on our second story for telling in public and the excitement is palpable as the students learn to inhabit the world of their stories.

Many thanks for sharing your stories at Baker.


Lizanne Wilson
Drama Specialist

Baker Demonstration School
201 Sheridan Road | Wilmette, Illinois 60091

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