The right story for the right person at the right time – this could be Gael’s mission statement. And to be ready to do this she observes popular culture, interactions between people and events, and, shamelessly, eavesdrops on conversations on the train or tram or in the shopping centre. Gael then filters this through a passionate knowledge of metaphor and story and a background in libraries and adult training.
Gael creates stories and poems for performance and takes an impish pleasure in twisting traditional tales so that listeners are surprised into listening to and then thinking about the stories.
Her picture books The Biography of Gilbert Alexander Pig (illustrated by David Cox, Benchmark/ Cygnet, 1999) and Fish for Breakfast (illustrated by Anna Pignataro, A Window Hollow Book, Benchmark, 2002) began life as told stories and now live on in magnificently illustrated and written tales.
Gael has presented papers and workshops on aspects of storytelling at conferences in Australia and overseas and has been “artist in residence” under government funded programs.
Gael is available on select days in the east and south east of Melbourne and Gippsland.
Many thanks for helping to make Children’s Book Week in Traralgon a success. The children are still talking about the stories and wanting to recite your rhymes. Traralgon Primary School
We really enjoyed your storytelling. We are making story maps about Epaminondas. Thank you for coming to our school.
Liddiard Road Primary School
3 - 5 years 30 or 45 minutes
Gael’s program is filled with songs, rhymes and stories on topics to complement educational themes including, but not limited to,
Visiting the shops
Going to the doctor (or hospital)
Getting along together
plus traditional tales like
The Enormous Beetroot (turnip)
Jack and the Beanstalk.
Gael has a range of action stories that parents (especially Dads) and children can learn together.
All Programs 45-60 minutes
Grades P-6 Stories 60 minutes
These themes can be adapted to any age level with more challenging tales for older children.
Fairy tales teach us essential life skills and provide the building blocks of our literature and our culture. Gael links stories with poems and songs to round out a delightful language experience.
Learn to Listen
A special program of ‘everyday’ stories and poems for P-1.
Getting along together
There are so many ways in which we can learn from each other and find our own courage and compassion through the sharing of story.
History in the Making
True tales of Ted from the 1920s and ‘30s, breaking the rules in the 1960s, and the Drive-In experience. Australian stories of real people in recent times.
Stop the Bullying
This session uses traditional stories to introduce children to the role of the bully in folk literature.
Linked with comment, it creates a space for children to explore personalities and situations.
Throughout the centuries there has been a need for reconciliation as there is today in Australia.
This is a great opportunity to examine a complex issue through story.
Chamber of Horrors
Ghost stories, spooky tales, words to make your eyes as big as saucers. Living forever has consequences and uncovering secrets needs a brave heart!
Whatever it is you are doing (beach, mini-beasts, gold rush, space, dinosaurs, fresh water ecosystems), Gael has stories to tell. Why not ask?
Grades P-6 Author presentation 45-60 minutes
Gael is a published author and her presentation of the process of writing the text and preparing the script for the illustrator is both illuminating and highly entertaining.
Prep – 2 60 minutes
Grades 3 - 4 75 minutes
Grades 5 - 6 90 minutes
Children discover for themselves in this workshop how to tell stories from memory.
Fabulous language experience that enhances all aspects of a child’s development. Learning to tell a story helps develop imagination, listening skills and memory.
Requires adults to assist with small group work. Workshops adjusted to Year levels.
All Year Levels 60 minutes
Secondary School Sessions tailored to year levels and focus required by teachers.
Atlanta, Demeter, Medusa, Orpheus, Ulysses, King Midas.
Traditional tales to show how relationships can be forged between pigs and wolves, jugglers and priests, and young men and ugly women.
Stories that address the issue of bullying plus a folder of follow up activities for years 7-10.
Stories and exercises to enrich experience, to embroider memories, to put a soul into the words on the page.
1. Go to the ends of the earth: stories of journey and discovery.
2. Finding a mate: some people know what they want and how to get it
3. Personal stories
Gael relates some of her experiences and leads a discussion analysing the structure and method she has used to create the told story. Students work with a set of “facts” to create their own stories.
How can a quilt be the universe?
Stories and exercises to give students an understanding of metaphor by moving from the concrete to the abstract.
This workshop is designed to assist students with both the development of their creative writing and with their ability to understand and respond to text.
How do I learn?
Explore three methods of learning (reading, listening and visualization) to discover which is your preferred learning style – and by the end of the session you will have a story to tell!
Stories for girls
These sessions are designed to give girls a safe place in which to explore some of the issues of growing up. The insights obtained in these sessions will also enrich personal writing styles by exploring some of the ways metaphors work in the stories we listen to and tell. Follow up work will allow an understanding of the role the “point of view” in the shaping of metaphor and the meaning we take from these stories and allow participants to begin the work of re-shaping the stories they write and hear.
Get in touch with your inner fury…but I never get angry, do I?
Stories to stimulate discussion.
Get in touch with your inner princess:
How do I become the person I want to be?
Stories of princesses to touch your heart, to recall your childhood, to give you pause, to think, to listen, for fun...
Learn and tell a story in one hour 90 mins
This workshop allows participants to explore some of the methods of learning a story and to reflect on which of the learning methods best matches his or her own style of learning.
Telling and Writing 2 hours
Donald Davis says that literacy is a second language - children learn to speak before they learn to write. In this workshop participants work with a traditional or personal story to explore the difference and reflect on the way working from one to another informs both processes. By the end of the session participants will have practised telling their stories, have completed a written outline and have the tools necessary to complete the work.
Storytelling for Teachers 3 hours
A combination of the two workshops outlined above, designed to show how storytelling can assist with literacy, language and listening skills, drama, socialisation etc. The focus of this session would be by arrangement.
Building Metaphors - Building Resilience 90 mins
Bullying, untidiness, forgetfulness, blended families: discover how to construct a story that will allow your child to find his or her own solution to the problem.