Storytelling. ‘The social and cultural activity of sharing stories, often with improvisation, theatrics, or embellishment.’
Since sitting in an English seminar at University, I have always been inspired by the art of story telling. The likes of Pie Corbett and Michael Rosen providing brilliant inspiration. Being aware of it however and implementing it within the classroom is a different story. This is something that I knew I would be nervous to do in the classroom, so when presented with it as a learning objective in my year 3 placement, it was challenge that scared me, but also gave me great excitement. Over the course of two weeks I was able to plan, teach and allow children to become storytellers.
Reflecting on this, it is something that I am no longer nervous about but something that I greatly enjoys, and cannot wait to improve on and teach when I have a class of my own. So what did a week of story telling look like?
Day One: Creeping Toad
(A school visitor) (A Creative Hook) (A Memorable Da)
Visitors into school, often bring a great deal of excitement- and Creeping Toad was no exception.
Toad had the children hooked from the minute they walked into the hall. Carpets on the floor to sit on, drums playing as they entered, and Toad sat ready to tell the story. During the day, he told many stories, using the features of story telling. The children were all involved, and they were all hooked, listening to his every word.
The day allowed children to not only hear stories, but they also got to see for themselves the features of a good storyteller. They gained first hand experience, and they developed a love of learning.
Toad was something they spoke about all that week.
Day 2: Reflecting on Toad and Other Story Tellers
Now children has heard a story teller and seen for themselves what a good one looks like, it was time for them to become story tellers themselves.
The first half of the lesson allowed the children to reflect on what techniques Toad had used that made him a good story teller. After a group discussion I presented them with a video of one of my favorite story tellers- Michael Rosen. His ‘No Breathing’ video was something I had seen on my first placement and now was the perfect opportunity to use it again. From watching the video and pausing it throughout to discuss.. what he was doing.. children were able to pick out all the features on the success criteria that makes a good story teller.
Now it was time for them to become story tellers…
Using three Just So stories, children were separated into mixed ability groups and given one of the stories. The second part of the lesson allowed children to read through their stories and gain a good comprehension of the story.
Day 3: Story boarding
Using the stories children picked out key points from the story and put them onto a story board. This story board would aid them when they came to retell in a few days time.
(Careful – children wanted to re write the story. Through careful modeling I showed the children how a simple picture with 1 -3 key words could help them. They didn’t want to be looking at the sheet the whole time as this is not the feature of a good story teller.
Day 4: Practice
After spending a little time finishing off their story boards, children now had a go at practicing. (Some children started turning it into a play so this was a misconception that needed to be addressed in the form of a mini plenary)
Day 5: Storytelling
During this lesson the children presented their stories to the rest of the class. Sat in a circle they took it in turns to perform. Pupils offered 2 stars and a wish about their performances.
End of Half Term Story Telling
As well as my year 3 class, the year 4 class were also following a similar structure. They were a few days behind, and told their stories on the last day before term… and in a very special way. The children went out to the fire circle on the school playing field and told their story around the fire. Opening with songs, story telling and closing with songs. On a second fire.. they toasted marshmallows. A wonderful way to finish and celebrate their story telling.
Toasting marshmallows with approximately 70 children around a fire.. Mission accomplished.