Thomas Freese is an accomplished artist in multiple disciplines—writing, storytelling and visual art. Mr. Freese worked in the Arts in Education since 1994, doing visual arts residencies in 100 locations across Kentucky. Since 1998, Mr. Freese has written 130 articles for Lexington’s Chevy Chaser Magazine and published 7 books of ghost stories. He is currently completing a children’s book project. Mr. Freese has performed story programs for 15 years. He has over 20 story programs. When working with students, Mr. Freese often combines his expertise to help children create works of art in the venues of writing, storytelling and art. Mr. Freese relates well to children of all ages and uses guitar and harmonica to add to his stories.
I am available and interested in collaborative teaching projects with teachers, in hearing how I might add to their efforts in bringing excellence to the writing work of their students. I am able to combine writing residencies with visual art and storytelling elements. One recent ten-day project at a rural central Kentucky school was organized in the following format. I worked primarily with students from 4, 5 & 6 grades to help them create a written piece. I brought my book samples and I told them stories. I set up creative writing exercises in small groups. I also worked with the students to help them illustrate their stories.
Core content addressed included goals for writing pieces/portfolios, arts and humanities. Specific content included WR-EP 1.1.2, personal expressive writing, WR-05 1.1.2, point of view & writing voice/tone, WREP 2.3.1, reflective writing engaging the interest of the reader, WR-EP 2.3.3, applying effective format for genre, WR-E 3.5.0, using effective language choices, WR-E 3.6.0, corrected communication. These and other core content goals were addressed through reading my writing samples, discussing terminology and techniques, discussing options for fiction or nonfiction and talking about writing styles. I also listened to students relate locale legends and reviewed samples from their portfolios. I asked students to identify writing elements such as point of view, character, plot, setting, voice and tone. Both the teacher and I worked together to help them identify these elements in both their work and mine. At this school, I then worked with students to help them create an illustration to go with their written piece. I brought samples of rubber stamp carvings and prints. With this phase we address some of the following core content areas: AH-95 1.13 making sense of ideas and communicating with the visual arts, AH-05 2.22 creating works of art and making presentations to present a point of view, AH-05 2.23 analyzing their own and others’ artistic products and performances using accepted standards, AH-04 1.3.1, identifying or describing elements of drama in dramatic works, AH-04 1.4, identifying or describing elements of art and principles of design in works of art.
Parent involvement was encouraged by asking parents to contribute materials for the wooden stamp mounts, T-shirts, and volunteering during the printing day. Students were encouraged to think creatively during small group work and as they encountered challenges in writing, designing stamps, and printing. The children were very proud of their stories, illustrations, carved stamps, paper and T-shirt prints.