Category Archives: Teaching Resources

Publications,  teacher and workshop leader guides, and other resources related to the EpicCenter Stories mission and programs.

I Remember When the National Mall Was Made



From EpicCentering the National Mall

Contact Dr. Carolivia Herron,

I Remember When the National Mall Was Made (streamed live on  9/23/2016 10:15-11:15 AM)

On Friday, September 23, 2016 students of Shining Stars Montessori Public Charter School (DCPS) present essays and drawings as responses to people and places of the National Mall. In one essay the student imagines herself reminiscing as the Statue of Freedom on the top of the Capital dome, above the National Mall. Additional essays reflect on National Mall events, people and places such as the AIDS quilt, the 1963 March on Washington, the cherry blossoms, the Smithsonian castle, and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. The event is one of many EpicCentering the National Mall events welcoming the new National Museum of African American History and Culture to the National Mall. 

  • Join us on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial
  • Friday September 23, 2016
  • 10:00 AM –  Noon

Epic Creation Process and Structure

The Epic Creation Process begins with the EpicCenter Storyteller presenting a brief epic story appropriate for the students or participants. The storyteller then gives suggestions for sharing stories—fiction or non-fiction—that leads to the creation of a shared epic.

Tailored to Program Length

In a one-day EpicCenter Stories session, participants share stories orally and develop them into a communal narrative. In the two-week program, participants work together in large and small groups and spend time writing and commenting on each other’s stories before Integrating them into one narrative.

In a four-week program, there is time for more writing and analysis, and for each participant or small group to focus on developing one aspect of the communal story. In the twelve week, semester-long version, there is more time for the use of resources to connect the communal epic to the core curriculum subjects of history, social studies, science, mathematics, etc. At each level critical thinking, listening, and communications skills are developed.

Learning Structured in Phases

In each EpicCenter Stories learning module, participation is designed to unfold in two or three phases:

Phase 1: Developing a Community Epic

The Epic Storyteller presents a brief epic story appropriate for the students or participants and gives suggestions for sharing stories—fiction or non-fiction.

Group Session: Participants share stories about themselves using the “epic tone” related to or modeled on the example given. The epic perspective or tone tells a story from a slight distance and with a sense of the story’s importance.

Group Sessions: Participants comment on the epic stories shared by others in the group.

Writing Session: Participants write their stories using the epic tone and what they have learned the comments on their own story and from hearing all the stories.

Writing the Communal Story: The Storyteller writes a communal epic for the group that integrates images and plot elements from the two group sessions.

Sharing the Communal Story: The Storyteller shares the communal epic story.

Correcting and Amplifying the Story: Participants correct  and comment on the communal epic story.

Sharing Written Stories: Participants share the individual epic stories they have written.

 Phase 2: Making Community Epics Available

Individual Writing Session: Epic stories are typed, revised, and edited by both participants and the Storyteller.

Developing Learning Plans: Participants may choose visuals, videos, and audio recordings to go with their epic stories. In longer sessions, they may build models or create their own visual or audio materials.

Sharing: Epic Stories are uploaded to a website. The communal epic story links to individual epic stories.

Phase 3: Connecting Community Epics with Lessons

A Focus on the Future: At this stage the focus is on amplifying the communal story, understanding it better, and on the future. Where will this story go? What will the hero, the learner, accomplish?

Individual Work Sessions: Participants and available resource professionals—teachers, historians, artists, cultural anthropologists, education professionals—work together to develop learning programs using elements in the epic stories as starting points for exploring core curriculum subjects.

Group Discussion: The learning plan is evaluated by participants and professionals.

Individual Session: Learning plans are revised based on the group discussion.

Sharing: Learning plans are uploaded to the website and linked with communal and individual epic stories. In longer programs, participants then begin working on their learning plans.

Click here for more information on developing individualized learning modules.


EpicCentering The National Mall

EpicCentering The National Mall is a multimedia creative writing, performance poetry and storytelling workshop taught by Carolivia Herron, Director of EpicCenter Stories.

Please see the Swipey page for a very sad update.

DMV Hot New Artists Swipey and Ziggy Will Perform Live

Taught by the Grandmother of Hip Hop, Professor Carolivia Herron

Professor Herron is a Scholar of Epic Poetry, a retired University Professor, author of Nappy Hair and Peacesong DC

Poster for EpicCentering The National Mall

EpicCentering: The National Mall is a multimedia creative writing, performance poetry and storytelling workshop series of four sessions.


The writers, dramatists and illustrators of this epic are from the following organizations:

Shining Stars Montessori Public Charter School
Calvin Coolidge High School
Beyond the Fader Multimedia
Francis Gregory DC Public Library 
Association of Concerned Men 
Free Minds 
The Learning Community International 
Sisters Against Sexism


All Ages & Teens Welcome!

Flyer for EpicCentering The National Mall. Teens in library.

Workshop Dates

Tuesdays & Thursdays

June 21, 23, 28 and 30

3:30-5:30 PM 

(Fall cates to be announced.)

At Francis Gregory Neighborhood Library

3660 Alabama Av. SE | Washington, DC 20020 | (202) 698-6373

For more information contact  Professor Carolivia Herron.

Francis Gregory Neighborhood Library

3660 Alabama Av. SE | Washington, DC 20020 | (202) 698-6373

Developing Individualized Programs and Modules

Carolivia Herron (en masque) with Peter Kent at the Takoma Park Street Festival in Maryland
Carolivia Herron (en masque) with Peter Kent at the Takoma Park Street Festival in Maryland

EpicCenter Stories develops individualized programs for  school systems, government agencies, communities, special interest groups, corporate training programs, etc.. They  use storytelling to illustrate and educate.

Developing Individualized Programs

The typical process for developing individualized programs follows this pattern:

1. Develop a Communal Story.

A community or group develops a communal story with guidance from an EpicCenter Storyteller.

2. Identify Areas of Focus.

The Storyteller works with participants to find places in the story that can be linked to a focus areas.

3. Create Multi-Media Learning Materials & Activities.

EpicCenter Stories creates multi-media learning materials, resource lists, and activities related to the areas of focus. They might include curriculum guides, lesson plans, reading lists, website resources, downloadable materials, etc. The activities often include writing exercises, field trips, and walking tours.

4. A Shift in Focus to the Future.

As appropriate, longer programs are designed to focus on resources that be used to develop and extend the story. The emphasis moves to the future relevant to the goals of the group.

5. Present the Story.

The group works with the EpicCenter Storyteller to complete their story and  present it to each other or a larger audience. These often take the form of an internal publication, a presentation, or a dramatic performance.

Availability of Individualized Modules

When modules are developed around topics of general interest, the curriculum and supporting multi-media materials are professionally packaged and are available for purchase. Please email Carolivia Herron, Director of EpicCenter Stories for more information.

EpicCenter Stories Learning Modules

EpicCenter Stories has a blue print for developing 29 modules that can be used by communities, school systems, and individuals. Several of these modules, including: Let Freedom Sing: The Story of Marian Anderson, Land and Water Forms, Storytelling Lab, PAUSE (Potomac Anacostia Ultimate Story Exchange), and the Drum of Anansi have already brought academic improvement to learners in community centers, public schools, adult learning centers and universities.

These modules are set up as frameworks so that another community can adjust them to itself using its own stories. Director Herron has led many communities in doing just this.

In Quad Cities, Illinois she led four sessions of the Drum of Anansi module to help a community re-imagine and revise its educational program for middle and high school. The epic used the Mississippi River as a major character. At Nazareth College in Rochester, NY, she helped education students develop a similar storytelling module to keep high school students from dropping out. It used the Genesee River, an important route for escaping slaves, as the geographic reference for their version of the Drum of Anansi module.

EpicCenter Stories learning modules are designed to engage students in the sharing of stories, integrating their stories into an epic about their group, and connecting their epic to core curriculum subjects. Each module includes subject focused instructional materials, resources, and teaching aids. Teachers and Epic Storytellers can use these to design a curriculum tailored to the ages and objectives of their classroom or group. The modules are designed so they can be used for one day workshops or programs lasting two, four, or twelve weeks.