Storyteller Lonna McKeon Pierce visits O V

Looking around, everything is familiar: here is the classroom you’ve been in all year; looking down you see the shoes you put on when you left for school this morning;  over there is the whiteboard hanging at the front of the room. There’s no big, simmering kettle in the front of the room though, is there?

Well maybe there is, sort of, because our class is making imaginary Stone Soup!

When storyteller Lonna McKeon Pierce tells it, the Stone Soup story loops, repeats, and surprises the listener until it’s time for another ingredient to be “added.” When she calls on you, it’s your turn to bring up something special. Was it onions? Herbs? A potato? You hand her your ingredients and she “stirs” them into the “pot” and then everyone comes up front for a cup of the thick, delicious soup and oh, you can almost TASTE it.

This is the power of storytelling, and Mrs. Lonna McKeon Pierce made sure young Vikings experienced it all.

As part of Arts in Education programming made available to school districts through BOCES, she started the morning in a small assembly for elementary grades. Mrs. Pierce shared folk tales from around the world with just her voice, her arms and hands, a small bundle of sticks, and the students she invited to come up and assist. Then she visited individual classrooms to teach how to be a good storyteller, and told even more stories like Stone Soup, a European folktale first written down in the 18th century.

Mrs. Pierce is a teacher, librarian, actress, singer, and teaching artist, and she was also named an American Graduate Champion by National Public Radio. Otselic Valley is very fortunate to have experienced her literary and performing arts gifts, and we are inspired to look forward to a visit by the next teaching artist!

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