—Rethinking Curriculum in Art, Marilyn Stewart and Sydney Walker (Davis Publications, 2005)
“All people tell stories to explain their world.”
Assignment: You have twenty minutes to prepare. Once the first speaker begins his or her
presentation, no further development on your
presentation is permitted.
The National Art Education Association
(NAEA) president is scheduled to be the opening speaker at the state association meeting in
one hour. He is scheduled to present an inspiring address for approximately five minutes. He
has suddenly taken ill and asked you to take his
What story do you think this totem could tell?
Photograph by Bill Yarborough.
place. Using the quote, compose a five-minute
speech that will inspire the attendees and represent the NAEA in a positive light. Begin preparing when you are instructed to begin.
So began the introduction to my first NAEA
board meeting as Elementary Director Elect. I
quickly discovered that this exercise would be
all about telling stories.
As we gamely took our turns with the encour-
agement of presentation coach Gary Plaag (who
was a master at giving kind suggestions to help
us all become better presenters), I realized that
everything he recommended to make our speak-
ing more engaging could also apply to writing. In
fact, his advice was very similar to the advice I
give prospective writers:
issue influenced you. What main ideas do you
want to communicate?
•;Dive;directly;into;your;content;with;an;inter-esting, engaging opening. (No need to introduce yourself or explain what you are about to
with energy and passion.
reasonable length. (We each had five minutes
than 800 words are needed.
Why should you tell engaging stories to
your peers, either orally, or through articles for
SchoolArts? Through appealing stories, you can
secure and maintain your audience’s attention,
share your own meaningful experiences, prompt
new ideas in others, promote your art program,
school, and district, and make your students and
their parents very proud.
If you are speaking or writing from the heart,
it will be evident in your stories. And remember,
we all like a good story. What story do you have