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posted: 1/9/2014 4:25 PM

Storyteller, puppets bring anti-bullying program to Washington Elementary

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  • Chris McBrien of Lisle, known as "The Magic Storyteller," teaches students about respect with his puppet, Lucky, during his "Team Bully Free" program Thursday at Washington Elementary School in Elgin. McBrien challenged Lucky to make the kids laugh without disrespecting him, so he wore McBrien's hat, which had the kids roaring with laughter.

       Chris McBrien of Lisle, known as "The Magic Storyteller," teaches students about respect with his puppet, Lucky, during his "Team Bully Free" program Thursday at Washington Elementary School in Elgin. McBrien challenged Lucky to make the kids laugh without disrespecting him, so he wore McBrien's hat, which had the kids roaring with laughter.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Third-grade teacher Miguel Renteria acts as a puppet by singing "I'm a little teacup, short and stout," as performer/ventriloquist Chris McBrien of Lisle controls a moving mouth mask during his "Team Bully Free" program Thursday at Washington Elementary School in Elgin. This demonstration taught kids the difference between laughing at someone and laughing with someone, as well as never allowing anyone to speak for you. Renteria was a good sport and laughed behind the mask along the way.

       Third-grade teacher Miguel Renteria acts as a puppet by singing "I'm a little teacup, short and stout," as performer/ventriloquist Chris McBrien of Lisle controls a moving mouth mask during his "Team Bully Free" program Thursday at Washington Elementary School in Elgin. This demonstration taught kids the difference between laughing at someone and laughing with someone, as well as never allowing anyone to speak for you. Renteria was a good sport and laughed behind the mask along the way.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Chris McBrien and Dewey the Duck perform his "Team Bully Free" program for students Thursday at Washington Elementary School in Elgin.

       Chris McBrien and Dewey the Duck perform his "Team Bully Free" program for students Thursday at Washington Elementary School in Elgin.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • First-grader Destiny Sanasing, 7, has a fit of the giggles while Chris McBrien and one of his puppets perform his "Team Bully Free" program Thursday at Washington Elementary School in Elgin.

       First-grader Destiny Sanasing, 7, has a fit of the giggles while Chris McBrien and one of his puppets perform his "Team Bully Free" program Thursday at Washington Elementary School in Elgin.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  • Students and teachers burst out in laughter during Chris McBrien's "Team Bully Free" program Thursday at Washington Elementary School in Elgin.

       Students and teachers burst out in laughter during Chris McBrien's "Team Bully Free" program Thursday at Washington Elementary School in Elgin.
    Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

 
 

Chris McBrien, known as "The Magic Storyteller," used humor, puppets and ventriloquism Thursday to present his national "Team Bully Free" program to students at Washington Elementary School in Elgin.

McBrien made sure the kids knew what bullying was and its various forms, asking the students questions about it that required a yes or no answer.

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Despite the topic, McBrien kept the mood upbeat and had the kids laughing from start to finish and interacting frequently during the hourlong presentation. He often interjected personal stories of being bullied as a kid and passed along the advice he was given by his grandparents and teachers on how to deal with bullies.

McBrien and a dragon puppet named Lucky taught kids "Respect is a two-way street" and "When people don't respect us, we have rules that protect us."

McBrien teamed with Sid the Great (a white shark) and taught kids not to judge people on their looks but "get to know their hearts." A bully might be lashing out to others because the bully has been the victim of bullying. About 40 parents also attended the program.

Assistant Principal Kim Rakowski said McBrien tailored part of the presentation for Washington Elementary to help address certain topics school officials wanted to teach the kids such as advocating for themselves, to stand up for themselves against bullies and to not be afraid to tell a teacher or parent to help in a bullying situation.

For more on McBrien, of Lisle, visit magicstoryteller.biz.

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