George’s workshops draw from his experience as a seasoned storyteller, children’s theater actor and director, poet, voice over artist, and artist educator in public schools. As a workshop leader, George enjoys sharing what he’s learned from experience and inviting participants to learn by doing. He is more than happy to customize his workshops to address specific curriculum goals.
Schools may schedule this workshop as a stand-alone event or as a follow up activity for children who have attended one of George’s storytelling performances. In the workshop, George will provide children with a gentle, non-threatening experience in the art of storytelling. Through discussion and hands on activities, students will become familiar with some of the skills and techniques essential to storytelling and, more generally, to effective communication. [sample workshop format]
Dramatizing Stories for the Classroom or School Assembly
This is a workshop mainly for teachers and other adults who work with children and are looking for ways to provide experences that are creative, educational, and fun. Using a straightforward folktale, George leads participants through the process of turning a story into a play. Topics covered include: breaking down a story into scenes; changing the plot line when necessary; adding characters not in the original story; teaching children to improvise dialogue instead of memorizing lines; involving children in the many different aspects of putting on a play (like making props and costumes, creating stage sets, etc.)
Click here to see photos of children performing stories George has dramatized and directed for the stage.
George has made numerous trips to countries in the Middle East as a storyteller and a humanitarian worker. This workshop draws upon his experiences in this part of the world, his ongoing study of Arabic, and his familiarity with a range of stories from Middle Eastern cultures.
The workshop is intended to offer teachers and librarians (and other interested adults) an introduction to the rich folklore traditions of the Middle East and a set of practical classroom strategies for connecting these traditions with relevant social studies and language arts standards.
Participants will receive handouts that list useful resources, facts about Middle East culture and about Arab Americans, and suggested literature-based follow up activities.
Word Play: A Poetry Writing Workshop for Kids
George has been writing poetry for much of his adult life. It’s something he loves to do and to share with others. In this workshop, he aims to help kids develop a more playful, creative relationship with language.
George does this by first sharing poems other children have written. Using these poems as models, he encourages his students to identify some of the features that make poetry different from other literary genres. Then, after a brief bit of brainstorming with the students, he has them try writing their own poems.
Toward the end of the workshop, George invites students to share their poems. To boost their confidence in their writing abilities, he makes sharing time a time to celebrate and honor each student’s efforts. [sample workshop format]
Open Book: A Reading Aloud Workshop for Teachers, Librarians, and Other Interested Adults
Besides standing up in front of an audience and telling stories, George also enjoys reading stories aloud. Earlier in his career, he co-hosted a nationally recognized children’s TV show in which he captivated young audiences through his expressive reading style.
Over the years, George has recorded a number ofchildren’s books-on-tape and CD for educational publishers. In this adult-oriented workshop, George coaches participants to try their hand at reading children’s stories aloud with the aim of making their reading come alive. Creating a distinctive voice for each of the main characters in the story, varying rhythm and tempo, bringing out the feelings of the characters, using dramatic pauses — these are some of the reading aloud techniques participants will be encouraged to practice. [sample workshop format]