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Format of School Visit

The format of my one day visit as set out below caters for the average school. That is schools from Junior Infants up to Sixth class, with each class having up to 30 children per class. I do a max of four sessions per day, with a max of 60 children per session.

My visit usually takes the form of three Storytelling Shows for Junior Infants up to and including Fourth class and one Talk on Getting Started in Creative Writing for Fifth & Sixth class.

I take individual classes, or groups of classes according to age. I find the best results are to be had by keeping group numbers small and keeping a similar age profile. I work on voice alone without any props other than my wolf costume for my Storytelling and a flipchart for my Talks on Creative Writing. For reasons of audience comfort and enjoyment and most importantly crowd control and of course to protect my own voice - the maximum number of children attending each show is limited to 60.

Larger schools can be facilitated over a two or three day period depending on the size and requirements of the school.

Morning of Visit: I usually arrive at the school before school starts. This gives me a chance to get a cup of tea. (If I don’t get a cup of tea I take “the huff” and go home. I’m very “huffy” like that - No tea - No start.) But more importantly it gives me a chance to meet the teachers and to show them the costume, including the mask I will be wearing during my storytelling (The Big Good Wolf Show). This way the Junior & Senior Infant teachers and any Special Needs Assistants can show the mask to the Infants and any Special Needs Children before my show begins and explain to them that the storyteller is “somebody’s daddy all dressed up and that it is all just pretend.”

When performing in Public Libraries I get the librarian who introduces me to do exactly the same before I go on. This way there are no frights when the children see me in my Big Good Wolf costume.

Order of Running: In the average school I normally begin with Junior and Senior Infants together for my first Storytelling Show of the day, followed immediately by 1st & 2nd class together for my second show. I usually have both these shows done between the start of school and the first break.

Between the two breaks I take 5th & 6th class together for my Talk on Getting Started in Creative Writing. This is a nice time slot here for this session and it also rests my voice.

After big lunch I take 3rd & 4th class together for my third and final Storytelling Show of my visit. That way all eight classes in the school are done in the one day. As previously stated larger schools can be done over a two or three day period.

Timing: On average my The Big Good Wolf Show takes about 45 minutes per show. This does not include assembly time or wheel them in/wheel them out to the assembly hall or the school library time.

My Talk on Getting Started in Creative Writing takes about 60/90 minutes depending on the time slot available on the day and the interest of the audience. In truth not all children are interested in Creative Writing.

Seating Arrangements: During my performance I prefer the children to be seated in rows in front of me and not in a circle or semi-circle around me. This way I can see all their faces at the same time and they can see mine. This allows me to judge how well my stories are being received and to make any adjustments necessary to my delivery. Also a lot of what I do is made up of gestures and facial expressions. So the children need to be able to see me clearly to get the full impact of my show.

Special Note: This is my usual way of doing things. But depending on local circumstances some changes can be made to this schedule by prior arrangement. The max number of shows and the upper limit of children attending each show remains the same.

Junior & Senior Schools: There is obviously a slightly different format in the order of running for Junior Schools and Senior Schools. These differences can be easily discussed and agreed by telephone.

School Facilities: Storytelling Shows and Talks on Getting Started in Creative Writing can be done in either the classroom, the school library or in the school hall, whichever is the most convenient for the school.

Important Note: The class teacher and any SNAs from each class attending my show must be present and clearly visible to the children of their class at all times and must be solely occupied in the supervision of the children in their care. I do not work with unsupervised children. I am neither a teacher or a babysitter.

Advertising: If you wish to invite your local newspaper or parish magazine to cover my visit and to take some photographs on the day - this is fine by me. Teachers may also take as many photographs as they wish during my performance for classroom displays or for use on the school website.

I hope this information is helpful to you in planning a storytelling visit to your school.



 
2015 Liam Farrell