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  • Tim Hartman

'Can we stay inside and write a story?'


Yesterday I performed my 'Construct-a-tale' assembly for 3 grade levels at Mountain Ridge Intermediate School in Gerrardstown, WV. The show is based on an old French fairy tale called, 'How Johnny Pancake almost married the Princess of France'. (Yeah, that's quite a title.) As we put this ridiculous story together I emphasize the tools of good story writing; Character, Conflict and Setting. The story is a 'Jack Story'. These kinds of stories are told in France , England, and throughout the Appalachian Mountain region. The stories always feature a young lad named Jack or Johnny who is a little dense, but his adventures always seem to work out for him because he has a good heart. The example that everyone seems to know is 'Jack and the Beanstalk'.

After this picture was taken with the fourth graders, the teacher who took it asked her children if they wanted to go out for recess. Instead, the kids asked if they could stay inside and write their own stories. I can't say anything better to illustrate the value of this show. Often, I get notes back from teachers telling me that there was a child in their grade who had never shown much interest in anything school related, but that child had just written a beautiful story after seeing 'Construct-a-tale'.


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