School Programs

jon-sundell-perfect-storm-edutainment (link to general school flyer)

 

Below is an annotated list of performance themes, workshops, and other follow-up activities. Sample lists of songs and tales are available on request. Often these programs can be adapted to suit your needs. School and library samplers from different programs are available through you tube or links that Jon can provide from his email, Perstormedu@gmail.com.

All of Jon Sundell’s programs are presented in a multimedia format, using color slides along with folk songs and tales.   The slides help to provide context and background knowledge, so that students can understand songs and stories more completely. They are also used to draw connections with books that have been used as a resource or that students can use for follow-up reading and research.

All of Jon’s programs encourage reading through specific connections. However, the programs that bring book talks front and center are the first three of the “Books and Literature” series.  “The Magical World of Fairy Tales” and “The Wide World of Hispanic Heritage” also dedicate considerable time to book talks, though not as much as the “Books and Literature” section.

 

PERFORMANCE THEMES

 

FOLKLORE-CENTERED

Introduction to Folk Songs and Tales

Jon shares simple folk songs and tales with lots of participation, demonstrating guitar, 5 string banjo, autoharp, mountain dulcimer, and spoons. Explains why the folk process of oral transmission was crucial before mass communication and entertainment. For all grades, especially k-2.

 North Carolina Folk Tales and Songs 

Jon demonstrates 5 string banjo, guitar and singing styles, mountain dulcimer, autoharp and spoons. He presents folk songs and tales from Anglo American, African-American and Native American cultures, illustrating how NC folklore reflects an early way of life, including the strong sense of tradition, closeness to nature, and balance of self-sufficiency with community interdependence. Includes excerpts from his book, Stay With Us: Visiting with Old Time Singers and Storytellers in the Southern Mountains, written by his high school students, and visible on his web site.  Especially suited for Grades 4 and 8.

Folk Tale Genres

What is  the difference between a tall tale and a legend, an animal fable and trickster tale? What are the characteristics of a “fairy tale” or “wonder tale”? This panoramic sampler provides an overview of all the subgenres: Tall tale, legend, myth, animal tale (fable & trickster tale), fairy tale, and wisdom tale. Ballads and “cante-fables” (story-songs) will be included, providing music and participation. Especially suited for grades 2, 3 & 4

Wise, Clever and Foolish

Presents songs and tales from many cultures in which humans and animals employ widely varying degrees and types of intelligence – or lack thereof! The material ranges from hilarious to serious and thought-provoking. Grades 2 – 8.

The Magical World of Fairy Tales

Using a PowerPoint format Jon explains basic ingredients that often occur in fairy tales  – magical events,  stock secondary characters such as a witch or a giant, a main character that is an underdog, and lessons in social behavior – and applies them in sample tales. He also introduces some recent books with “fractured” fairy tales which parody, reverse or extend original fairy tales. While some are funny, others are thoughtful, complex and adventurous. Grades 2 – 8.

 

MULTICULTURAL FOCUS

Songs and Tales Around the World

Schools choose several geographic, national and cultural regions, including Native America, Latin America, United States and Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Australia to be represented in a multimedia program emphasizing folktales. Several contemporary folk songs are included, emphasizing a theme of multicultural understanding. Appropriate for all grade levels, with age-appropriate differences in story selection.

The Wide World of Hispanic Heritage 

Features a wide range of stories from the pre- and post-Colombian eras in the Americas, representing different cultures, countries and geographic regions. Includes personal slides from  Jon’s many visits to Mexico, Central and South America, as well as others that help students visualize the region’s cultures and history. A display of traditional Latin American crafts enriches the experience. Several bilingual and Spanish language songs with choruses are included. Grades 2-5.

 

BOOKS & LITERATURE

What’s So Great About Reading?  

Books, storytelling, folk songs. Books take us both outward and inward. They open up a world of adventure by taking us to many real and imagined times and places. And by leading us deep inside the personal experiences of characters who are struggling to overcome problems and find happiness, they help us understand and accept ourselves. A bibliography can be provided in advance. For any grade, but especially 3-5.

A Multicultural Reading Tour

To develop multicultural understanding we need to go beyond the outward symbols of other cultures to a deeper encounter with the feelings and experiences  of individuals within them. Book talks and a few folk tales presented here enable students to form a more personal impression of people with ancestry or experiences in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, Europe and native America.  Especially valuable for grades 4-8, but other books can be selected for primary grades.

Time Travelling through Books,  Songs and Folk Tales

Jon present excerpts from historical fiction paired with traditional folk songs, folk tales,  and history, Jon brings this genre to life and demonstrates how it takes us inside the minds, hearts and experiences of people throughout history. Grades 4-8

Singing Figuratively: Figurative Language in Folk Songs 

Robert Frost defined poetry as “feats of association.” This program not only helps students recognize figurative language, but appreciate its value – creating a more dynamic, multi-dimensional experience through the vibrancy and sensory impact of its imagery. Slides of the poetic image are projected on the screen to help students appreciate the impact of the figurative language.  Covers concrete language, metaphors, similes, word play and symbolism. Includes a few stories that are based on analogy to make a point. Grades 4-12. Song selection varies according to group’s age.

 

HISTORICAL

A Nation of Immigrants

 Jon brings the story of immigrant America alive by combining the folk songs and tales and personal anecdotes of European, African, Asian and and Hispanic immigrants together with excerpts from current children’s literature and a historical slide show using primary sources. Grades 4-12

Westward Expansion

No topic more encapsulates the mythology of our country, with its contradictory mix of adventure, hardship, and exploitation, than the story of Westward expansion. Through songs, anecdotes, historical background and primary document slides, Jon highlights varying points of view of White, Black, Hispanic and Native Americans during this complex and momentous period. Especially recommended for fifth grade and high school.

The Industrial Revolution & the Fight for Workers’ Rights

This program focuses on the textile industry, coal mining, and the farm worker industry, the fight against child labor and the fight for labor unions and better working conditions. Powerful, expressive songs about those industries and movements are presented along with anecdotes, history, and booktalks, against a backdrop of slides. Grades 5 -12.

 

SCIENCE-RELATED

All Critters Big & Small

Folk songs and tales, information, slide show – Folklore is filled with a myriad of wonderful songs and tales reflecting the animal kingdom. Relating these to real life information provides an entertaining and useful exercise in comparing and contrasting fiction with non-fiction. Especially suited for k- gr 3.

 

YOUNG ADULT PROGRAMS

Choices

Presents a thought-provoking series of songs and stories dealing with personal choices we make about friendship, sex, love, and our path in life. Included, as well, are collective choices we have made as a nation about how we treat our resources and groups of people. Some humor is included to lighten the mood, as well as some portraits of leaders who have made tough but positive choices, such as labor organizer, Cesar Chavez or Native American guide, Sacajawea.  For grades 6-12.

Many of the above programs are appropriate for middle school, and several, particularly the social studies group and “Singing Figuratively,” are well suited to high school as well. Grade appropriateness is listed at the end of each annotation.

 

 WORKSHOPS

 These are interactive programs  aimed at smaller groups (15-75, depending on the topic). 

 For teachers & librarians:

  • Bilingual storysharing
  • Recommended bilingual and Spanish language books
  • Teaching students &/ or parents how to read to younger siblings and cousins (1-2 sessions)
  • Teaching students to tell stories (1-4 sessions)

For students &/ or teachers:

  • Singing games from different cultures – Appalachian, African-American, Hispanic (1-6 sessions)
  • How to tell stories (3-6 sessions)
  • How to play spoons

For parents (English and/or Spanish speaking):

  • How to select and share books with young children

 

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS (CC)

& RELATED PROJECTS (RP)

The suggested projects can be led by classroom teachers or school media coordinators with input or collaboration from Jon Sundell.

CC: Classroom study of folktales

  • RP: Researching fairy tale “motifs” (elements of character or plot) in different stories;
  • RP: Comparing and contrasting fairy tale variants;
  • RP: Creating a new fairy tale using motifs or alternate versions of a traditional tale;
  • RP: Selecting, learning and performing a folk tale. (See also under workshops.)

CC:  Hispanic Heritage Month

  • RP: Research projects on different countries that can include interviews with Hispanic family members and other local residents.
  • RP: e-correspondence projects with Hispanic students in other countries

CC: School-wide multicultural or international day

  • RP: Research a country and its folk tales with a partner; one student presents a country report using PowerPoint or some other format, while the other performs a tale.
  • RP: e-conferencing with foreign students.

CC: Independent reading; summer reading kick-off

  • RP: Students read from different sub-genres of fiction or different cultures or time periods. They write reviews and share them with each other. This can lead to creation of a school book review blog, such as Jon set up at Old Town Elementary School when he was media coordinator.

CC: Social studies – study of immigration

  • RP: Partners research  an immigrant group – its reasons for immigrating, challenges,             contributions.  Students can choose from their own ethnic group (including African American), or or a different one.

CC: Social studies/ American History  (5th grade or high school) – Westward Expansion

  • RP: Paired research projects  wherein student pairs research one aspect of this topic, such as the Louisiana Purchase, transcontinental railroad, or Mexican War, examining and presenting different points of view from different stakeholders, such as White, Black, Hispanic, Native American, rich and poor.

CC: American History/ Social studies/ Using primary sources – The Industrial Revolution

  • RP: Biographies of Mother Jones and Cesar Chavez and other leaders
  • RP: Partner reports on different aspects of the Industrial Revolution