Cassie Howard Ashton is a mother of 5, and step mother of 5. She wears many hats, among them is storyteller and certified life & relationship coach. She loves telling stories and teaching others the value and power of their own story. Cassie enjoys helping others find and uncover the stories that help express who they are and how they feel. She believes one of the most important stories you will ever tell is the story you tell to yourself about yourself. Sometimes you may need a little help learning how to craft the story you tell to yourself and she helps people do that.
How do you describe a storyteller? By the tales she tells. Cassie is a damsel, teacher, wild woman, wise woman, guide, heroine and oh so much more. She has been sharing her gifts professionally of telling and teaching since 1992. She loves teaching as much as telling maybe more. When she is not at home working with clients you may find her in a school teaching a residency or a library leading story camps. Storytelling is truly a labor of love for her.
Cassie’s Residency Philosophy & Approach
I have taught storytelling techniques at “Story Camp” in Orem from 2010-2015. It is a 5 day storytelling skills camp that runs from Monday to Friday, 9 am – Noon. The participants range from second grade to eight grade. We rotate the students and teach different concepts in thirty minute increments.
I have taught story writing techniques at “Story Camp” in Orem in 2012 and 2015. It is a 5 day story writing and storytelling skills camp that runs from Monday to Friday, 9 am – Noon. Same format as above.
I have also done a 10 hour residency at Viewmont Elementary school as part of the Murray Storytelling Program. In 2014, I ran a after school program where I meet with the students for an hour in the library every day for two weeks preparing for a concert for the school and parents.
In 2015 we changed the program at Viewmont to include more students. I worked with the whole third grade student body. There were two third grade classes where I went into the classroom and worked with the classes every Tuesday and Thursday for 30 minutes for five weeks, which again is a total of ten hours. Then we had a concert for the parents.
When teaching workshops or a residency I cover concepts such as basic story structure, what makes a good story to tell. The importance of a beginning middle and end. The need for conflict and resolution. I teach how to map out a story so that it is easier to learn. I teach how to create a character and put life into your story. How to change a folk or fairy tale by changing the setting. I teach them the importance of body language and how to control your body to let it help you tell the story but not distract from the performance. I teach them how to vary their voice just a little to for each character to create distinction between their characters.
When working with a large group of students such as a classroom I provide stories for the children to work with to eliminate the time factor of looking for a good story. We do discuss what kind of stories are best used for telling. I show books that I have used to tell stories from and then demonstrate one of them. If the students have a story they want to tell they are welcome to bring it to the first or second class for review. The goal is to teach them performance skills that can be used with any story.
I like using different games to help teach some of the necessary concepts. One example of a teaching technique I use is bringing a collection of hats that helps define a character. The students are allowed to choose a hat and then demonstrate how their character might walk or talk or stand while wearing that hat. If they choose a cowboy hat how would your character sound as a cowboy. If they choose a farmer’s hat or hard hat or jester’s hat how would the character in their story sound different then the cowboy. It is fun to see the character change with the options. It requires the students to use their imagination but the tangible object helps stimulate that. It is a fun way to learn character development. If a student chooses a hat but is not sure what to do then I ask the group what suggestions they have and offer some myself. My goal is to show them there may be more than one way to interpret how to portray something. I want to encourage them that there is not a right or wrong way when crafting how to tell a story there is just finding what you are comfortable with or willing to do.
I believe when working with students it is important to make it fun as well as informational. Occasionally I will have a handout to help them along the way.
Cassie’s Special Training
Workshop Presenter – Timpanogos Storytelling Conference, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012
Instructor, Yearlong Emotional Health Education Course, 2008 – 2009
Facilitator, Monthly Mom’s club 2008 – 2009
Workshop Presenter – Archetypes, 8/08, 11/08, 3/09, 5/09
Workshop Presenter – StoryFest, 2004, 2006, 2008
Workshop Presenter – Weber State Storytelling Festival, 2004
Timpanogos Storytelling Festival -2002, 2003, 2004, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015
Weber State Storytelling Festival, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2013, 2014
Salt Lake City Ghost Tours, 2003-2013
Utah Renaissance Fair, 2013
Timpanogos Storytelling Conference, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012
Princess Festival, 2012
Solitude Mountain Resort, 2008
Intermountain Professional Photographers, 2008
Snake River Storytelling Festival, 2004
Guest Presenter at BYU, 2004
Thanksgiving Gardens, 2003, 2004, 2005
Tulip Festival, 2007, 2008
Orem City Library, 2002, 2005
Las Vega Book Star Bookstore, 1993-1995
Las Vegas Jaycee State Fair, 1994, 1996, 1997
Many School and community concerts 2003-Present
Timpanogos Storytelling Festival Committee, 2003-Present
Timpanogos Storytelling Conference Committee, 2007-2014
Utah Storytelling Guild President, 2007, 2008
Timp Tellers Guild President, 2003-2005
USG, StoryFest Co-Chairman, 2005, 2008
Residencies Cassie Has Done
2015 – 6/22/15 – 6/26/15, Orem Library, Orem, Utah Story taught “Writing Camp for Storytellers” for three hours a day for five days for youth ages 7-14.
2015 – 6/8/15 – 6/12/15, Orem Library, Orem, Utah Story taught “Story Camp” for three hours a day for five days for youth ages 7-14.
2015 – 3/14/15, 3/21/15, 3/28/15, Murray Library, Murray Utah taught “Super Saturday Story Camp” basic storytelling skills for 2 hours for three Saturdays youth ages 7-11.
2015 – 1/27, 1/29, 2/3, 2/5, 2/10, 2/17, 2/24, 2/26, 3/3, 3/5, 3/10, 3/12, Viewmont Elementary, Murray, Utah taught “Storytelling Residency” to the third grade classes for one hour a visit.
2014 – 6/9/14 – 6/13/14 Orem Library, Orem, Utah Story taught “Story Camp” for three hours a day for five days for youth ages 7 – 14.
2014 – 1/27/14 -1/31/14 2/3/14-2/7/14 Viewmont Elementary, Murray, Utah taught “Storytelling Residency” after school in the library.
2013 – 6/10/13 – 6/14/13 Orem Library, Orem, Utah Story taught “Story Camp” for three hours a day for five days for youth ages 7 – 14.
2012 – 8/6/12 – 8/10/12 Orem Library, Orem, Utah Story taught “Writing Camp for Storytellers” for three hours a day for five days for youth ages 7-14.
2012 – 6/11/12 – 6/15/12, Orem Library, Orem, Utah Story taught “Story Camp” for three hours a day for five days for youth ages 7- 14.
2008-2009, Institute of Healing Arts, Draper, Utah – Instructor for “Emotional Health Education” a yearlong course. Class was once a week for 4 hours. Adults.