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George offers five quality educational programs of interactive and original songs, stories, and poems, accompanied by guitar. He delivers his art with gentleness and humor in a lively and entertaining way. He often combines his performances with brief pantomimes as a way of breaking the ice with his audiences. During his programs, students may be asked to: suggest answers to questions, sing along, make sound effects for stories, dance to the music, and use sign language to remember the lyrics. George has performed for thousands of audiences all over the state of Indiana and beyond.
George prefers to serve one school a day when possible. He offers two-45 minute performances for grades K-2 & 3-5, and one-30 minute performance for Aft Kindergarten. This scheduling is open to change, depending on the needs of the school or the school system.
Life Skills of Respect, Integrity, Cooperation, Kindness
During this program, George (in pantomime) falls off his chair a number of times until students demonstrate good manners and caring skills by helping him to sit down. Students then play a guessing game with George as he tells a story about a trip to Kindergarten. Once in Kindergarten, George tells the story about how he wrote the song, "Never Hurt Anyone." During the song students must point to various parts of their body as the song goes faster and faster and then help the song come to a rousing end by clapping in time to the music.
After the song a story is told about what to do when the inevitable happens and we do hurt someone. In conclusion, George introduces "The Goodbye Song," whose plaintive refrain is signed by the students: "If you help me, and I help you, we'll grow a whole lot stronger, do the best that we can do. And all the world over they will feel that golden hue, of people helping people, just like me and you."
Indiana History, Ecology, Earth Day, Thanksgiving
In this program George describes the Hoop of Life, as explained to him by his grandfather and some of the Native American people he has met. Starting with the idea of the storyteller who goes from village to village to share the important teachings of life with all the people, George talks about the Native American's special sensitivity to the animals, and the land and leads the children in singing the song, "How My Heart Moves," as he plays the flute.
He follows this song with the teaching of the Hoop in "Holding The Hoop In Our Hands," and has the children sing and sign along during the chorus. After the song, a story is told which illustrates the ways in which the Native Americans communicated their teachings, and tried to live in right relation to the earth. The program concludes, depending on age (K-2, 3-5), with the either the song, "The World Is Round," (a circle dance) or the song, "Menominee," an historical ballad concerning an Indiana medicine leader of the Potawatomis.
Life Skills, Turn-Off The TV Weeks, Language Arts - Writing
In the song, "Instant Replay," George tells, in a funny way, of his escape from childhood stresses, into the throws of the television. Translating this into the present, George talks about the problems of becoming too attached to video games, television, or countless other diversions that steal time from the opportunity to be simply alone with ourselves and to experience the pure joy, boredom, wisdom, and awe of being alive.
George tells his story, "The Brightest Thing In The Whole World," to demonstrate that boredom itself is an invitation for self-discovery, exploration, and creativity. He explains that making choices about one's own development is part of the mission of life, and it often takes discipline, hard work, and self-reflection to avoid the attachment to what is easy and addictive. In his final song, "Don't Let Them Take Your Brain Away," George challenges students to think for themselves and urges them to spend their lives developing their talents and abilities by making better choices about how to spend their time.
Language Arts -- Writing, Storytelling
Beginning with stories from his grandmother, George shares his ideas about the importance of stories in our lives. He believes they help us process our feelings, and develop and carry a sense of our personal history. In the song, "The Story Inside," George talks about stories as a way to breakthrough to what's important. Students are taught to sign and sing along to the chorus: "Deep in your heart, there's a special light that knows, that the world needs your every gift if we're all going to grow, and it's up to you to see it, let it swell like the rolling tide, it's up to you, to share your life, and the story that's inside." In conclusion, George tells the story of a small bird who has trouble learning to skateboard. Soon the bird must enlist everyone's help to end the story. Before long, everyone in the audience is working together to achieve their goal. Through storytelling, the students learn about caring, connecting, and working with others.
Metamorphosis of Insects, Life Cycles, Nature Study
This program is celebrates the beauty, wisdom, and wonder of the natural world. George begins this program with a gentle and funny do-along song about a tree called, "Oo Oo Doodily Doo." This song is immediately followed by the song, "Who Are You?" which is an animal guessing game, involving hand signing. In the song, "Turtle and Snake," students are presented an origin story, in which Turtle plays a trick on a snake. In conclusion, George introduces a lively dance to the "Butterfly" song in which audience members are chosen to demonstrate the movements.
Poems can be performed!
This workshop/performance comes complete with a CD recording of George reading his original poems and commenting upon them for the students. In addition, it contains a small teacher booklet containing the printed version of the poems with brief stories concerning their origin.
In performance, George will read each poem dramatically while it is projected on a screen behind him. The poems are accompanied by a variety of different sounds: flute, drum, fingernail scratching, and bells to name a few. In addition to the poetry reading, George will demonstrate how poems can become songs and offer one or two at the close of the performance.
This workshop is a multi-modal or multiple-intelligence designed workshop which George has presented in over 45 residencies in schools across the state of Indiana. In addition, George has presented over 20 one-day workshops using this same method with educators, naturalists, and church groups.
The workshop is fun, active, and community building. It involves creative movement, relaxation techniques, drawing, creative dramatics, and music. It culminates in a final storytelling performance in which everyone performs an original story. The workshop contains serious work, relaxed fun, and ample opportunities for a final celebration.
The first part of the workshop has demonstrated significant results (with follow-ups by certified reading and writing instructors) in motivating children to write. This is especially supportive of the multiple-intelligence theory, as there is little writing executed in this part of the process. It is believed to achieve these results by demonstrating the interconnected creative processes necessary for generating writing while using a kinesthetic, auditory, and visual approach in synergistic fashion. In other words, certain creative writing principles are absorbed by the individual which enable them to understand writing from a pre-conscious level. This is especially important for children or adults who have difficulties processing the abstract writing process in their mind because of difficulties on the fine motor level.
The workshop can be demonstrated to be quite effective in a one-day, five-day, or ten-day format. A shorter three-hour workshop can demonstrate many of the main principles involved in the longer process.
George's performances are perfect for:
Young Author's Days
Life Skill's reinforcement
Earth Day, Nature Outings
Turn Off The TV Campaigns
Indiana History/Native American History events
School Celebrations of every kind
Student & Parent Nights