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StoryTelling Through Life Experiences

StoryTelling Through Life Experiences

Turkey Hill School sixth-graders in Mrs. Ginsberg’s Literacy class recently participated in a four-part series of writing workshops with author and illustrator Sanna Stanley.  Our visiting artist, Ms. Stanley, has been working with Connecticut students for almost 20 years, guiding them to unlock their creative potential.

Each workshop was an invitation to engage in the writing process.  The students began by writing a Rambling Autobiography, an invitation for the students to share their own life experiences and get a feel for different writing voices and styles.  The class also explored how word choice affects how a piece is interpreted.  By creating word pairings from a random set of words, they discovered the tone that the varying word choice created.  In addition, Sanna introduced a method from Ancient Greece/Rome that was used by orators to remember the hundreds of lines of their poems.  The class used this visualization method of building space to recollect and reconstruct a space from personal experience, by walking through a familiar space (in their imagination), making sensory connections, and then writing out what was experienced and remembered.

As the students wrote during each of the workshops, Ms. Stanley offered supportive words of encouragement and students eagerly shared their creative writing with the class.  Mrs. Ginsberg said, “We are extremely fortunate to have received a grant from the Jamie Hulley Arts Foundation to enhance our curriculum through the arts.  The students were so responsive to these writing experiences with Sanna Stanley.  They later reflected how valuable their participation was in terms of strengthening their identities as writers.”

For more information about the foundation, visit the Website at

Article by Ellen Ginsberg

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