page contains specific and complete information about the presenter and the workshop. It is intended to assist the administrator
in the determination of credit for this professional development seminar. This page can be printed from this site (copy and
paste in Word) or picked up on the day of the workshop.
Additionally, a complete resume may be downloaded
at the bottom of this page.
presenter, Mary-Elin Renzullo
Mary-Elin graduated from the University of Connecticut with a BS degree in Elementary Education. She taught grade
one in Spring Lake Heights, N.J., and grade two in Winsted, CT. After raising 3 children with her husband of many years,
she received her MLS from Southern Connecticut State University. Since then she has worked as a Library Media Specialist in
several towns in Ct. She holds a professional educators certificate, with endorsements as an elementary teacher, K-6 and as
a Library Media Specialist, K-12.
In one of her first years as a school librarian, she attended a workshop
given by Caroline Feller Bauer, where she was introduced to the apron story method of storytelling. Since then she has written
and created many stories, poems, and songs to use with all her students. The children love to see her put on her apron. They
know what's coming! Her experiences with this technique have been so satisfying, she decided to create a workshop to share
this method with others. Since then, she has presented this workshop at locations all over the United States and has presented
at many state and regional conferences.
About the workshop
The workshop is a full day of 6 hours, usually from 9AM to 3PM
(although those times are flexible), with a half hour for lunch. This technique of storytelling uses an apron made from a
special fabric, to which velcro adheres. With each story, poem or song, there are pictures and/or objects with small pieces
of velcro attached to the back that are placed onto the apron. Many of the stories are taken from childrens literature, and
some have been written by the presenter specifically for this method. After each story is demonstrated in full, Mary-Elin
explains how the pieces were created for use with this story, and gives tips and suggestions for the most effective presentation,
and specific ideas and materials for enrichment activities. For most stories, patterns are provided for the participants to
use later to create this story themselves. Often, several stories are completed by each attendee before the end of the workshop,
for use the next day in the classroom or library. Also supplied are various "goodies", interesting and perhaps hard-to-find
objects or materials, such as a chenille bumblebee or a miniature basket, making the stories even more appealing to the children.
A laminator is also available for their use. These extra touches are appreciated by the participants as great time savers.
The selection of demonstrations may vary, but some of the books used in past workshops are: If you give
a mouse a cookie and If you give a moose a muffin, both by Laura Numeroff; My Dad is awesome by Nick
Butterworth; Over in the meadow, various authors; Brown Bear, Brown Bear what do you see? and Polar
Bear, Polar Bear what do you hear?, both by Bill Martin; The cake that Mack ate by Rose Robart; and The
best peanut butter sandwich in the whole world by Bill MacClean.
In addition to fiction, poetry, and songs, demonstrations are given to illustrate the effectiveness of this
technique for use with other areas of the curriculum, such as math, science and social studies. Besides being used as a visual
teaching assistant, this method is a undisputable attention-getter, and helps in creating speedy transitions. When you put
on the apron, students know that something special is about to happen! They attend quickly and quietly, waiting for whatever
the teacher has to offer, be it fractions or food groups.
Each participant receives a packet of information that includes a great deal of information (in addition to the patterns
and extension activities already mentioned), such as resources for further study and an annotated bibliography of books that
would be suitable for future creations. Available for purchase are some of the books demonstrated that day, story aprons,
and any materials or unusual odds n ends that would enhance the stories.
Mary-Elin always solicits feedback at the end of each seminar. Full text of selected letters of recommendations
are available upon request, and may be viewed and/or printed from the "testimonials" page of this web site. As
the saying goes - "Satisfaction is guaranteed" - and the registration fee would be cheerfully refunded if anyone