School Programs

“Willy thinks so quickly and his facility with language is so good that our students learn to write better stories almost instantly.”
—Bruce Shaw, Headmaster (1994-2010), Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA

“BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the State of Hawaii, that this body encourage Willy Claflin to spread his philosophy ‘learning is fun’ throughout the nation.”
— Hawaii House Resolution 117.

Author’s Visits (K-8)

An award-winning children’s author, Willy shows students where stories come from, and demonstrates entertaining ways in which language can be used to engage the reader’s imagination. With the help of co-author Maynard Moose, Willy shows students what we mean by “writer’s voice”, and teaches them an easy way to make up their own original tales. Younger students enjoy the rhyming stories of Gorf, a bullfrog flyswatter-percussionist with behavior issues.

Storytelling Programs (K-12):

Willy offers a wide variety of storytelling programs that include: humorous stories of childhood misadventures, traditional songs and folk tales from around the world, and comic stories told by his menagerie of puppet characters—Maynard Moose, Gorf , Riboculous the Raccoon, Socklops (a one-eyed alien life form) and Dr. Albert Alligator, ESA (Extremely Serious Adult).

Workshops and Residencies:

Four classroom workshops are available. These can function as single-period classroom visits, or can be expanded into one-week residency units, culminating in student performances.

Long Ago and Far Away: How to learn and tell traditional tales.
This workshop is designed to complement and enrich the social studies curriculum. Children studying another society, whether ancient or contemporary, learn about that culture by telling its stories.

Out of Thin Air:
Every student is guaranteed to come away with at least one new, original tale!

Gargantuan Turquoise Stomping Boots: The Art of Parody
How to fracture folk and fairy tales.   All children love parodies. This workshop takes advantage of that fact, offering an amusing way to learn about plot and story-structure. A sure cure for ‘reluctant writers’!

My Name is Maynard Moose: The Art of Puppetry
(Co-taught by Maynard)

Students learn how to invent a puppet character with a unique voice and personality, and how to make up stories for the puppet to tell. In addition to being a lot of fun, this is a great way to teach the meaning of “writer’s voice” and “point-of-view.”

Workshops for Teachers (K-8)

“Stories are perhaps the best presents teachers can give their students, for they are beyond the power of money to buy or the world to take away.”—Hamilton and Weiss, Children Tell Stories

Willy also offers practical, hands-on workshops for teachers wanting to develop storytelling units in their own classrooms. Please contact us for more details.