ECA+ Creative Member Directory
Mapping the Arts in Easthampton, Southampton, & Westhampton

Gail N. Herman

We storytellers tell our stories to discover what we need to write!

I am a performance storyteller for families, libraries, schools, and organizations. My years of teaching enabled me to use my love of theater and music, dance and song, stories and writing in teaching. I understand how important a feeling of community can be in the learning process. Sharing stories from my CD Songs and Stories of Creative Creatures encourages students in grades pre-k-3 to examine how creativity intersects with kindness and concern. The folk stories I tell with follow-up songs and activities lead to teaching not only vocabulary and expressive communication, but also better community spirit, and as a result, easier access to learning. I love family stories. A storyteller’s true stories encourage student storytelling, story writing, and journal keeping. I have created many storytelling-writing residencies with grades 1-7 in Maryland, Connecticut, and South Carolina. First I share my family stories in a storytelling performance with my “Before I Knew Better” stories and then I tell stories from the early 1900’s from the book about my mother-in-law, Mischievous Martha: True Tales from an Orphanage. These stories inspire students to write their own. Taken from my memory and Martha’s journal, the stories have lots of adventures that need creative solutions with ‘lessons’ learned and revealed. Mime and Stories (grades 3-6) is another of my favorite workshop residencies. First I perform a story for a class and then I teach them mime techniques which they can use within the story as they perform it with me for several other classes. Mime can be the intersection between telling and writing. Math and Science Stories created by me or the group in a classroom setting is a wonderful way to have storytelling introduce and motivate, or teach and review specific skills and concepts.

Dr. Gail N. Herman is a professional storyteller, a teaching artist in residence, a keynoter and educator who integrates the arts in acquisition of standards. She was a former enrichment coordinator and teacher of gifted/talented students (K-8) and a classroom teacher (Grades 1 & 2). Her stories have an educational purpose and stimulate creative imagination; they support the curriculum and enhance the social-emotional skills of kindness and concern. Using world percussion instruments for sound effects, mime, and audience participation, she performs a wide repertoire of stories across the USA and in other countries, most recently in Ghana, India, and Oman and under a grant in Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia. Her programs include performances and workshop residencies in creative storytelling for pre-k to grade 2, grades 3-5, and grades 6-9. Workshops for adults and high school students include how to create and tell tall tales, family stories, and traditional tales. She provides workshops for teachers and librarians and teaches storytelling. . Besides being the author of Storytelling: A Triad in the Arts and coauthor of Kinetic Kaleidoscope: Exploring Movement and Energy in Visual Arts, Gail has also published in Better Homes and Gardens, The Storytelling Journal, Art Activities, Parenting for High Potential, Early Years, and in the books Tales as Tools, Active Learning, Holiday Stories All Year Round, Telling Stories to Children, Joining In and Spinning Tales, Weaving Hope: Stories for Peace Justice and the Environment. EDUCATION Ph.D. - Curriculum and Instruction University of Connecticut M.Ed. - Aesthetics in Education University of Massachusetts M.A. - Speech and Theatre University of Massachusetts B.A. - Elementary Education William Paterson State College

Gail performed in 40 USA states; in 10 German cities; in Estonia; Lithuania; Ghana; Kerala, INDIA; Jamaica; St. Thomas; and St. Croix. In addition, Gail performed at the WV Harvest Moon Festival; the NY Albert Schweitzer Institute and Chautauqua Institute; the MD Tall Tale Liars Festival; the Connecticut Storytelling Festival; WV Jackson Mills Storytelling Festival; and many other venues. She has over 30 Years of teaching and performing, acting in summer stock, community, and college theaters. Gail taught primary grades, and elementary gifted and talented students and has taught high school mime, storytelling, visual imagery and acting classes in colleges. In Oakland, MD Gail was producer and director of “Tellabration!” for 12 years, and of the Tall Tale Liars’ Festival for 19 years. She organized the Tapestry of Talent Student Storytelling festival in three states and for the last two years has organized and hosted Story Slam workshops and events at Mount Holyoke College, Greenfield Community College, and Holyoke Community College.