30 Days of Homeschool: Day 26 – Public Speaking and Storytelling

(30 posts about free resources for homeschooling)

PREFACE/ENCOURAGEMENT/PONTIFICATION: Those who can speak in public and tell stories just simply get along better. I’m not talking about being a professional. I’m talking about the ability to be around other people and engage and lead in conversation. Digital storytelling is good if you have good to great ideas, but don’t know how to get them across with your facial and hand expressions. While we’re not all naturals at talking to and engaging other people, it’s a skill that everyone should learn to some extent. It becomes more important as we are often further removed from daily interaction with people. Society has moved more to emails, IMs, texting, social media, and staring at a computer all day, then going home to watch TV on the computer, and then playing games on the computer. Phone calls are rarer, so we’re getting away from knowing how our tone of voice affects people. Humans are still central to our existence, and we have to fight the tides that want us to isolate ourselves. What we say, what our body does, what our face shows, our tone of voice – they ALL affect people. It’s not to manipulate, but rather to inform, uplift, encourage, teach  — to engage other souls.

I’ve put the two topics of together because they go hand-in-hand – if you can do one, you really can do the other.

Storytelling Arts of Indiana – http://www.storytellingarts.org/
I was a storyteller at a children’s hospital for a year, and it was through this organization. It was free to join, but the “payment” was memorizing stories and telling them (no books allowed for us!) to the children. You may have something similar in your area. This is more for adults, but they offer all kinds of events for kids to hear stories told.

TED talks on Storytellinghttps://www.ted.com/topics/storytelling
Good points about the larger picture of storytelling. In addition, just watch any videos that you want. All the speakers practice, practice, practice, because speaking at TED is one of the highest achievements in many arenas. You get to see real people who have condensed their points into, on average, an 18-minute speech. They’re not all polished and professional, but are great examples of the heart and soul it takes to communicate. You don’t have to be them; watch them to know better how to be you.

Digital Storytellinghttp://elearningindustry.com/free-digital-storytelling-tools-for-teachers-and-students
This page has 21 links, most of them free. While it’s great to teach your kids to talk to other people, there’s a place for each of us, student and parents alike, to know how to get our point across through digital media.

This ancient art is the art of having a picture on the front of a large card that faces the audience, with the words of the story on the back that the storyteller reads. I’ve done something similar at home, and it 1. Takes the edge off of having to memorize, 2. Removes the distraction from the students of having to read the words, and 3. Helps them focus on their imaginations by just seeing the artwork.

Microsoft’s Educator Networkhttps://www.educatornetwork.com/Resources/Tools/Details/1ff33a3e-150e-4b52-8839-b8ab266c9fe1
This is a simple page about Windows Live Movie Maker and using it for digital storytelling. Sure, there are better options out there, but it’s free, and if you have a newer Windows computer it’s built-in to your OS.

Odds Bodkinhttp://www.oddsbodkin.net/Home.html
One of my favorite storytellers! The site doesn’t have a lot of free things, but there’s enough free stuff here to make your visit worthwhile. While his skill can leave one thinking, “I could NEVER do that!,” there are still great examples of how engaging and compelling storytelling can be.

Jim Weisshttp://www.greathall.com/storytelling.html
Jim is great at voices, and demonstrates very well how engaging a story told with just voices can be performed.

This page has links about brand storytelling and content strategy. I include this for those teachers and students who are more interested in telling stories in the corporate world.

Toastmasters (public speaking tips) – https://www.toastmasters.org/Resources/Public-Speaking-Tips
You may be in a position where you have more short speeches and introductions to give than actual stories to tell. This page has 11 tips for better speaking. And this page – https://www.toastmasters.org/Resources/Video-Library – shows videos of tips.

Teaching/speaking at home, co-op, or church, or camp, etc.
These are, of course, the best free places to try out what you’ve learned. One’s attitude and preparation are keys to pre-speech preparation, but the best preparation for speaking later is speaking now. Actually speaking in front of people is the best way to figure out what your style is.

Board games
While these aren’t necessarily free (you can certainly make your own for free), one of the things they teach is how to read people and influence them. When you’re competing while facing others, you get to see reactions and learn over time about that person. It’s not judgmental, but truly revealing. And over time, as you communicate with them, you get to know them better, they get to know you, and they can provide feedback on your habits and expressions.

Happy Homeschooling!

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