Mary Jo has performed in and provided literacy programs (shows, workshops for all ages, residencies) through storytelling and the performing arts to thousands of schools since 1989. She has learning standards down–by the number. This helps funding opportunities. Ask.
Here’s an article on her storytelling residency (MCC STARS) teaching 4th graders how to tell stories:
Visiting artist Mary Jo Maichack helps Belchertown students gain confidence through storytelling:
- In-school shows for literacy, reading kick-offs or celebrations, family nights, to enrich social studies, broaden cultural horizons, model oral language skills, and especially, to bring teachers and students together in a joyful community bond. Her shows are dynamic and give kids active, varied roles. They sing, listen, clap, wonder, dance, act, chant, play instruments and get a thorough literacy workout. They’ll just think it’s really fun and funny and interesting. Prek-grade 8, shows adjusted for all ages and groups.
- PTOs love her shows for Family Fun & Literacy Nights
- Principals and teachers love her because she is warm and businesslike in preparation, reliable as the day is long, and brings her own superb educational background as a model.
- Workshops: (for teachers and families and students prek-8) MANY varied residencies in which kids tell tales, act, play with character, point of view, gain empathy, dance…
- Kids adore MJ’s workshops, which skillfully interweave performance with teaching. Here’s a sample of the first couple weeks’ workshops as part of a 7-day artist-in-residence program through an MCC STARS grant:
“Tell It! Sing It! Move It!
An Integrated Arts Approach to Story Immersion & Oral Literacy”–because brain/learning research shows that students learn when the subject is meaningful and relevant, when their emotions are engaged, when they get to be physical, when it’s funny, and when they also get to relax and feel safe:
“I personally thought the storyteller (MJM) was wonderful. She was fun, informative, and held the students to her positive behavior expectations. She had new stories for them and taught them activities that she encouraged them to share at home. She made sure that all willing children were able to participate and act out the little skits with exciting props. I would love to have her at Langford again.”–T. Dupont, Grade 1 teacher, Langford School
“The storyteller was extremely interactive and charismatic….The students were very engaged when she was here. The thing I liked best about the storytelling is that she did her best to incorporate that into her storytelling. For examle, when we were working on story elements, she discussed characters, setting, problem, solution as she performed. If we had the chance to have her come back this year I think it is an extremely beneficial program for first graders. They got to see first hand the love and enjoyment of reading!–Melissa, Grade 1 teacher, Langford School, E. Hartford
First visit—sample–these vary!
MJ sang original song, “Come Explore at Your Library”
African folktale with song refrain, “Why Dog Chases Cat”
“The Alligator Stomp”/dance and song with rhyme and movement
“The Brothers Long & Short”–an origami story with surprise ending (paper box is the treasure box library)
“It Snowed Last Night”–poem with handplay (gestures gradually replace spoken word)–funny and beautiful
“Why Rooster Crows,” a story from Vietnam, with some children wearing feathers and costumes to speak dialogue (shared by audience kids)–drama
Teachers review: Who, What, Why, Where, When
ABC song with kinders, guided imagery and relaxation–because we learn better when relaxed, and stimulate imagination
“The Fox and the Crow”–Aesop’s fable, with song, guitar, children singing and acting like the crow as she receives compliments
“I Am Strong, Stronger, the Strongest”–Using puppets of mice, cat, dog and owner, children speak lines in this never-ending circle story. We practiced the comparatives before, and as we went
“Down in the Valley”–a Gullah (derived from Angola) slave dance. All children partner up and dance, listening, singing, following the call-outs in the song
“Grab the Space,” a storytelling, oral presentation skill-building exercise by Michael Parent. Mary Jo Maichack modeled poor self-introduction and children created a rubric of improvements. Ms. Maichack then repeated her presentation with their rules:
- Stand up straight
- Look at audience
- Speak loudly
- Go to the spot (center stage), THEN speak (not before)
- They get immediate poise and confidence builds quickly, just knowing how to stand and move on “stage.”
Extended, regular visits to classrooms–You can combine with shows and ask for work to apply to any grade or grades, pre-k to grade 8, and can include professional development piece for teachers