The Wisdom of Vivian Paley and Trish Lee

The wisdom of Vivian Paley can be found in her many books. For those interested in storytelling and story acting, we recommend:

  • Paley, V. (1981). Wally’s stories: Conversations in kindergarten. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Paley, V. (1997). The girl with the brown crayon: How children use stories to shape their lives. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Paley, V. (1991). The Boy Who Would Be a Helicopter. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

The below clips are from our 2012 Kindergarten Conference, September 6, 2012.

In February 2013 Trish Lee, the creator of the Helicopter Technique that has brought storytelling/story acting to hundreds of classrooms in London and beyond, visited Boston. At a Boston Listens Seminar she shared her thoughts about a number of issues, captured in the following video clips.

1. Setting Rules / Behavior during Dramatization

Setting rules about behavior during dramatizations.


2. Focusing the Audience

The role of the teacher in helping the audience attend to dramatizations.

3. Supporting Shy Actors

Rather than adults modeling our visions of how acting should look, attending closely to shy actors can be the best way to support their acting.

4. Inanimate Objects as Characters

Many teachers are surprised that Trish asks children to pretend to be inanimate objects (e.g., trees, houses) during dramatization. Here's why she does this.

5. Choosing Actors

Who should choose the actors for dramatization? Here's an argument for going around the circle rather than the storyteller choosing actors.

6. Appreciating Superhero Stories

Acting out superhero stories can cause discomfort. In this clip, Sarae Pacetta receives feedback from Trish Marina Boni, and Alison Mann about her facilitation of a superhero story. The clip helps Sarae better understand her feelings about such stories and is a good example of how the Ladder of Feedback protocol can support teacher learning.