Be Who You Are


There is a wonderful ancient folktale from Japan called, ‘The Stonecutter and the Fairy’, in which a poor stonecutter meets a fairy who offers to make his every wish come true. As the story progresses, each wish brings the stonecutter closer to his ideal of great power and strength. Eventually he is changed into the most powerful thing he can imagine: a stone mountain.

Soon thereafter he hears the steady tapping of a stonecutter and an insight follows close behind. Perhaps a stone mountain is not all-powerful after all.

Immediately he realizes the folly of his ways. He makes a final wish and the fairy returns him to his true self; a stonecutter, poor but now empowered after his great journey and content in the knowledge of his own worth.

The message of this story is simple and profound; ‘We are all in possession of something unique and powerful. Be who you are to rise to your fullest potential’.

A wonderful message to take to heart as we work toward the goal of creating inclusive, supportive schools and communities.

– Matthew Giffin

Part 2: The Real LIfe Adventures of a Storyteller – The Stonecutter 

Recently, during an all school assembly about creating a positive leaning learning environment, I told the story of ‘The Stonecutter and the Fairy.’  The junior kindergarten classes were in the front row, sitting at my feet and listening attentively.

After the story, I stated that we can often learn important lessons from stories and asked what they thought this story could be teaching.  A four-year old boy, raised his hand and when I called on him, said, “This story is telling us that it is very important to be ourselves.”

Out of the mouths of babes.  Ancient stories often have a way of presenting archetypical human situations in ways to which we can all relate, no matter what our age.

– Cheryl Thornton

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Freedom of Imagination


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Polyphony2, by Paul Klee.

Paul Klee, one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, is a wonderful example of a man who seemed to place no restrictions on his own creativity. The breadth of his visual work is simply astonishing; some paintings are so complex and unusual they seem as if they’ve originated from an entirely other plane of existence. Others are extremely simple; basic grid patterns or washes of colour.

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Fire in the Evening, by Paul Klee

The example of Paul Klee is but one example of how artists lead us to look at life in different ways and to consider new possibilities through the art they create. This is one of the great gifts of creative freedom.

Having the freedom to explore and interpret the world in our own unique ways allows us to ‘draw’ our own conclusions. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to create art.

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This amazing painting is by a Grade 2 student at Wm. Burgess PS in Toronto. Freedom of imagination on display. Beautiful!

– Matthew Giffin

Welcome to the Storyvalues Blog


It is increasingly rare, in this image saturated, test-score obsessed era, for children to have the opportunity to follow their instincts and arrive at their own creative conclusions.

Yet that is precisely what is needed to empower and enable them to rise to their full creative potential, so that they may thrive as adults in what will certainly be an era of greater creative expectation and possibility.

In a fundamental way, the ability to be creative, to imaginatively interact with the world in which we live, establishes how we see ourselves and our role in working and living with others.

Using Storyvalues, students, parents and educators can  experience stories, images and sounds from around the world and interact with ideas that inspire expression of personal and cooperative creativity.

  • See and play samples of the diverse musical instruments featured in the recordings.
  • Become aware of how music, words and voice can join to create a unified expression.
  • Take part in story-based follow up activities that increase comprehension and listening skills.
  • Gain insight into how people of every culture share the traditions of music and storytelling.