School &
Library Staff

  • Sherry Norfolk offers a wide variety of staff development opportunities for educators. She is a professional teaching artist who performs and teaches storytelling nationally and internationally.

  • Adjunct Professor, Lesley University (Integrated Arts in Learning program) 2009-date.

  • Adjunct Professor, East Tennessee State University (Storytelling Masters Program) 2011.

  • Adjunct Professor, Mercer University-Atlanta (1996-1998) and Florida Atlantic University (1987-1988).

  • Co-author of award-winning arts-integration books: The Storytelling Classroom: Applications Across the Curriculum (Libraries Unlimited, 2006) and Literacy Development in the Storytelling Classroom (Libraries Unlimited, 2009), Social Studies in the Storytelling Classroom (Parkhurst Brothers Publishing, forthcoming 2012).

  • Teaching Artist with Tennessee Arts Commission’s Value Plus Schools and Arts360° programs (2009 Teaching Artist of the Year); rostered artist with Mississippi Arts Commission, Georgia Council for the Arts, Louisiana Council for the Arts, Interchange / COCA St. Louis, South Carolina Arts Commission, Tennessee Arts Commission (teaching artist and professional development), Virginia Commission on the Arts

Workshops for Educators

Exploring the Common Core Curriculum through Storytelling

Storytelling is a powerful vehicle for integrating the reading, writing, listening, speaking and research standards of the Common Core Curriculum. It allows the teacher to seamlessly move students towards deeper understanding in both fiction and non-fiction while providing meaningful and relevant ways for students to demonstrate their knowledge and comprehension. In this workshop, participants will explore a wide variety of K-12 lessons that address Language Arts, Social Studies and Science objectives while engaging students in authentic, thought-provoking, and collaborative work. Hands-on, fast-paced, and inspiring!

Hear It! Tell It! Learn It!

Listening, speaking, reading and writing are the cornerstones of literacy, and all four of these elements can be addressed through storytelling! Participants will explore activities that allow children to hear stories being told and to re-tell these stories in large groups, small groups and individually; then, we’ll discover ways to engage early learners in making meaning, understanding story structure, sequencing, understanding cause-and-effect, and developing active vocabulary.

Storytelling: A Power Tool for Brain-Based Education

Teachers will learn how the precepts of brain-based educational research can be applied easily and effectively through storytelling, thereby positively affecting test scores and competencies. Learn how to apply these precepts through storytelling; ways in which storytelling can help children achieve their learning objectives; ways to use storytelling as an assessment tool for critical thinking skills.

Creating a Storytelling Classroom: Character Education through Storytelling

Teachers will learn how meaningful, experiential character lessons can be taught effectively and non-didactically through storytelling; and, how to use storytelling to infuse character education throughout the curriculum. Participants learn: What Character Education is and how storytelling relates to it; How to choose and prepare folktales to help kids develop character traits such as caring, teamwork, respect, honesty and sharing; Sources of stories for character education, Quick-and-easy ways to learn a story to tell, and How to use an instructional model which teaches these traits.

Making Meaning: Turning Pictures into Words

Visual literacy (loosely defined as the ability to find meaning in imagery ranging from simple identification to complex interpretation on contextual, metaphoric and philosophical levels) and visual literacy skills (looking, seeing, questioning, speculating, analyzing, fact-finding, and categorizing) are necessary for reading. In this highly interactive workshop, we explore ways teachers can help students develop visual literacy skills and apply them through storytelling and story creation. Participate in lesson demonstrations for primary, elementary and middle school students that deepen understanding in both core curriculum and fine arts standards!

Arts Integration + Understanding by Design = Deeper Learning through the Arts

Teaching is more than covering content, learning is more than merely taking in, and assessment is more than accurate recall. Meaning must be made, and understanding must be earned. Students are more likely to make meaning and gain understanding when they link new information to prior knowledge, relate facts to “big ideas,” explore essential questions, and apply their learning in new contexts. Where does arts integration fit in this process? By bringing the best practices of artists into the classroom as learning tools, students and teachers identify what quality work is and how to produce it in each subject area. Working together to craft meaning, teachers, artists and students become powerful partners in search of understanding. This workshop will provide strategies that empower teachers and artists to collaboratively design meaningful learning experiences for all students. Teachers will explore how integrating arts into education can help students:
• cultivate life-long habits of mind.
• foster deep and personal understandings of standards-based math, science, social studies, language arts and fine arts.
• develop powerfully articulate voices for expression.

Storytelling: a Jumpstart for Narrative Writing (K-2 or 3-5)

Storytelling is an effective way to help children transition from oral/kinesthetic to written language. In this workshop, teachers will be introduced to the use of time-tested folktale frameworks that get kids writing fluently, applying higher-order thinking skill to create and develop their stories. Participants will also be introduced to kinesthetic and oral activities that help children translate their ideas into clear narratives, and to begin to understand the relationship between the written and spoken word.

Storytelling and Science: The Deepening Spiral

nvestigate various storytelling strategies that engage elementary students in scientific inquiry and creative design strategies.

Using Storytelling to Motivate Student Research

torytelling evokes curiosity; curiosity provokes learning! Teaching kids to do research is often hampered by the fact that kids don’t WANT to do research. It simply doesn’t seem relevant or interesting to them. BUT…these Pre K-high school storytelling activities and projects will make kids grab for the books! Experience a variety of kid-tested story-based lessons that engage students in research and Information Literacy standards while addressing core curriculum standards in Language Arts, Social Studies, and Science. This workshop is very interactive and participatory – be prepared to dive in!

The Storytelling Classroom: Applications Across the Curriculum

Led by the co-author of The Storytelling Classroom: Applications Across the Curriculum (Libraries Unlimited 2006), this workshop provides a hands-on introduction to the art and its magical ability to engage students in learning. By its nature, storytelling is experiential, engaging, and involving. More classroom teachers are discovering what storytellers have always known: that storytelling can be the springboard for curriculum integration because one need not be limited to the confines of the language arts. Activities from storytelling can span and thereby aid in integrating the entire curriculum. Storytelling nurtures both the imaginative and analytical sides of a student’s brain. “The Storytelling Classroom” is an introduction to this artform and its interdisciplinary, cross-curricular applications

Storytelling in the ESL Classroom

Storytelling offers many ways for an English language student to improve speaking and listening skills. When students listen to stories, they become more proficient in understanding the spoken words, improving vocabulary and fluency. When students tell stories, they can achieve a significant measure of self-confidence and comfort expressing themselves in English. Participants will learn some stories that work successfully for this venture, discuss techniques to encourage students to participate and succeed, and explore extension activities that deepen meaning and help assess understanding.

Teaching Kids to Tell Stories

Teachers will learn effective methods for teaching students of all ages how to learn-and-re-tell or create-and-tell stories, thus improving both written and oral communication skills as well as impacting critical thinking skills, increasing poise and enhancing self-esteem, and learning to accept and appreciate the creative efforts of others.

Building Blocks to Literacy

Recent research provides new insights and perspectives on the ways storytelling helps lay the best possible foundation for learning in the early childhood classroom. Participants will explore relevant research and its practical applications, engaging in demonstrations and discussions that put theory into practice. Participants will also learn how to tell stories with confidence and style! This fun-filled, fast-paced, hands-on workshop will bring out the natural storyteller in each person as they discover creative and effective ways to use voice, body language, gestures and facial expression to bring stories to life effectively for young listeners.