Gail N. Herman

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Basic Information

Address: 11 Russell Lane, Easthampton, MA 01027
Phone Number: 4132035247
Director: Gail N. Herman, PhD Storyteller

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Gail N. Herman
Gail N. Herman
Gail N. Herman
Gail N. Herman

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Additional Information

Focus: Storytelling "Organically", Poetry and Nonverbal Communication through Mime, Sound, and Paralanguage
Grade Levels: Pre-K, K-5, 6-8
Length: 50 - 60 Min.

mileage costs above 50 miles to site.

Pricing: 400 for a performance; 500 for two

Workshops may follow performances. Storytelling Workshops: These may include How to Tell or Write stories. Workshops on telling stories include secrets to creating voices, postures, and characters, demonstrations of narration and transition words, use of alliteration and other devices. Workshop on Writing may include how to write circle stories, tall stories, oppositional stories, and/or wrap-around stories. Workshops can include how to use folk and novelty instruments to augment the meaning of the story. Workshops are also available on mime with an example of how to create a class mime show or to learn social communication skills so important in today's world. Finally, Dr. Herman also can help one group of students perform a play in a day. Usually the performance occurs at night after the day long workshop.

Residencies: Any of the above can become residencies which work toward performances at the end of the residencies. For example, one school had Gail for a week and several classes performed folktales from cultures/countries/time periods they were studying. Writing Residencies end with students' family or folk stories written for class books. Gail has also included workshops and/or demonstrations with students for teachers in her residences.
Setup: Setup for performances takes 20-30 minutes.
Takedown: Takedown for performances takes 20-30 minutes.
Equiptment: I require a microphone with a stand or a good lapel mic. I also ask for a large table for my folk percussion instruments, puppets, and other materials.
Special Requirements: Someone to help carry my materials into the site and someone to introduce me.

I often tailor my performances to age and other student needs, as well as to teacher needs regarding curriculum.
In my performancefor pre-K- grade 2, called "Creatures of Your Mind's Eye," I share stories of kindness and concern. I use animal hand puppets and several folk percussion instruments to help students "see and hear between the lines." Students participate with chants, ideas, and some movement.
In my performances (and workshops) for grades 3-5, called "Folktales Around the World" I use stories from around the world, sometimes based on knowledge of students or the curriculum. In these stories I use a variety of folk percussionand novelty instruments to augment the meaning of the stories (and poems); students also participate in playing novelty instruments and offering ideas within several stories. With the older students 6-8 I can also share some stories from my book about my mother-in-law's mischief in her boarding/orphanage school. Along with the folk instruments, these stories reveal lessons learned and methods for overcoming adversity including resilience, code switching, honesty and kindnes and serve as a model for students writing their own stories. Folk stories with mime also are available.

Mission Statement:

I am a performing artist educator whose mission is to instill creativity and energy into the lives of both children and teachers. I believe that creative storytelling, movement, and mime can excite the imagination and enliven the curriculum for those students who need extra challenges. At the same time creative performing arts can help students understand and recall information and concepts by helping them "see" in alternative ways. Storytelling is a triad in the arts; creating and telling stories includes visual, nonverbal, and linguistic modes of learning.

Philosophy/Belief Statement:

I believe that storytelling improvisation strategies help students with social communication outcomes including their nonverbal movement (gesture, body position), facial expression - decoding and encoding, perspective taking, and para-language (tones and sounds related to how we speak the words, not the words alone). Storytelling involves all these aspects to carry the meaning. Since nonverbal communication research reveals that nonverbal aspects carry most of the meaning in oral communication, and since businesses say this is an essential skill, we should provide our students with opportunities to practice the skills. Observing teachers and storytellers is a first step. Workshops in these social skills is another step.

Program History:

Dr. Gail N. Herman has been performing stories for 40 years and was a figure in the early storytelling movement. Her work has been seen on four continents and 40 states. She has mentored and taught many students of storytelling and many teachers interested in creative arts in learning. The stories she tells are published on two CD's. Several of her students have won national recognition for youth storytelling. Gail teaches teachers at the University of Connecticut's Confratute, a conference/institute devoted to developing curriculum for those students who need extra challenges in their studies, as well as for those children who benefit from learning in a creative environment and for twice exceptional students (gifted, creative AND with other learning differences such as LD, ADHD dyslexia, etc.). She has taught and performed her stories on four continents and in 40 states. Dr. Herman has also authored 4 books.
Herman, G. N. & Herman, S. J. (2015). Mischievous Martha: New York City Wanderings, Foster Care, and Orphanage Life. [Available from Organic Storytelling, 11 Russell Lane, Easthampton, MA 01027].
Herman, G. & Hollingsworth, P. (1992, 2001). Kinetic kaleidoscope: Exploring movement and energy in visual arts. Tulsa, OK: University School, University of Tulsa, [800 South Tucker Dr., Tulsa, OK74104]
Herman, G. (1986). Storytelling: A Triad in the arts. Mansfield, CT: Creative Learning Press. [Out of print, in revision, available from author]
Herman, G. (1996). Sylvester and the grumps. Oakland, MD: Garrett County Community Action Committee for Head Start Family Literacy and Garrett County Health Department Community Outreach. [Available from Author, 11 Russell Lane, Easthampton, MA 01027]
She has also published many stories in anthologies, book chapters, and in articles.

Testimonials: "You were tremendous! ... Teaching as you did with stories, not just telling stories to children is the key to better use of library materials which we are looking for." Elementary Supervisor. "I was delighted to observe and participate in your [story] mime demonstrations. I was even able to demonstrate a couple of mime activities to my wife that evening. However, the most exciting part of your performance had to be storytelling. The [125] students were really involved and they loved every minute of it." Assistant Superintendent. "I liked listening to stories and making our own stories of when we were little. It was very interesting." Third Grade Enrichment student. -"This is such an exuberant, wonderful vehicle for opening the self as well as opening others we teach." "I want to emphasize to you how much you touched my teaching career and even my life. Thank you seems inadequate, but it will have to do." Teachers "You put more energy and effort into the storytelling and workshop than I ever imagined. ... You motivated so many of our people, I can't help but believe that they will have more fun this summer while doing some good work for us. I hope we will be able to call on you again in the future." Chief of Visitor Services, MD Dept. of Natural Resources. "You did a wonderful job! The warmth, fun, and ability you send are so engaging and welcoming. A superb job! The children were drawn closer and closer...." Storyteller, Jay O'Callahan. "Teaching children to feel good about themselves is what Gail Herman's creative movement [storytelling] class is all about." Keene, NH newspaper. "Written evaluations of performances and workshops consistently praise Gail's talent, breadth of knowledge, and ability to facilitate creative expression." Education Director of Traveling Artists and Performers Company.
Additional Information:

Hearing Between the Lines. Gail N. Herman is interviewed by Karen Chace on her Cable TV Storytelling Show. Gail discusses her workshops and performances about "Hearing between the Lines" and a new way to listen and comprehend a story. Gail also performs "The Four Wise People," a story she has heard and read from Africa and India.