January 2011 was my 13th trip to Belize through my volunteer project, Literacy Outreach Belize. A huge thanks to August Brinker for sponsoring my journey this year.

This year was one of the most fruitful and definitely the most rewarding in terms of the caliber of teacher participation in training sessions at Sacred Heart Junior College, Dangriga Village and St. Joseph’s RC School in Belize City. Seventy teachers total attended training sessions and created some of the best stories I’ve heard in my six years of volunteering in Belize.

The following videos contain the stories written by teachers and students during the Storytelling and Story-writing workshops I conducted. We focused on Belizean legends from the four main ethnic groups represented within Belize: Creole, Garifuna, Maya and Mestizo. Teachers and students learned how to write a personal narrative story incorporating Belizean Legendary Characters such as La Llorona, Xtabai, El Cadejo, Tata Duende and La Sucia. We explored strong word choices, descriptive writing and explode a moment technique; in which the author provides a second by second account of the action taking place. I plan to create another teaching manual incorporating their stories for use during the 2012 visit. With your help this is possible!

Enjoy the following videos of the Story-writing Workshop process and of students and teachers sharing their stories.

Video of the Story-writing Process, Character Discussion, La Llorona at Immaculate Conception RC School Bullet Tree Falls, Belize
Story-writing workshop Bullet Tree Falls, Belize January 2011

Here is the progression from Standard 3, to 6, to Form 1 (high school) to Teachers sharing their stories after participating in workshops.

Standard 3 students shares her story at Bishop Martin School, Belize

Joshua Parhnam at St. Joseph School, Belize shares his story after our Workshop

Sacred Heart High School Student, Belize, shares story

Teacher Catherine Shares her Story at Sacred Heart Junior College Workshop, Belize

Storytelling is also a major component of the literacy outreach. I model incorporating audience participation into the stories. Here is an example for Infant Division, similar to US Kindergarten. The Three Little Fish and the Big Bad Shark, by Ken Geist!
Participatory Storytelling with The Three Little Fish and Big Bad Shark, Belize

The 2011 visit was a wonderful experience and a great success. More than 70 teachers participated in teacher training workshops and more than 1000 students received FREE storytelling and story-writing programs.

To learn how you can support my visit in 2012, send my an email at info@storytellerkp.com

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