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A Week of Storytelling

 

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 sImage result for creeping toadtory 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.

Image result for michael rosen no breathing

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

Image result for storytelling around the fire clipartAs 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.

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Kahoot! The Fun way to Assess.

Kahoot is a software that I first came across in my second year of University. From the moment I discovered it, I knew it would be a fantastic resource to use in the classroom and something that children can engage in.

Imagine this...

‘300 students are sat in a lecture hall early on a Tuesday morning. Kahoot comes on. The lecture hall is now a buzz of excitement,.As the quiz begins and students start getting answers right- those on the leader-board are giving yelps of excitement, there s chatter and excitement and a positive view of learning happening.’

We are all 20 years old or more. Imagine the effect his can have in the classroom with bunch of 8 year olds.

I have just returned from an 8 week placement in a year 4 class- I introduced Kahoot during a Science lesson on electricity. They loved it. They were engaged and involved in learning for 25 minutes!  Following this lesson I was constantly asked “Miss are we going to play that game” “Miss, when can we do another Kahoot” – The next time they saw Kahoot on the screen- that same excitement was created again and there were cheers in the classroom.

Kahoot with Formative and Summative assessment. 

Assessment is one of the most important aspects of teaching. It allows us to see the progress that children have made, there strengths, weaknesses ad allows us to plan the next steps in learning. Assessment is not just a test at the end of the topic. It is the daily understanding of how well children have grasped the concept you taught them during that lesson, their application of skills to an idea or challenge.

When I was in school- I often remember doing mini tests or sheets to fill in either at the end of a lesson or at the end of a topic in a certain subject- Science for example. Although I was able, I often found this boring. For me, when I was therefore introduced to Kahoot I knew it was a brilliant software that could be used in the classroom.

Why? – Well-IT’S SIMPLE!

Take that same test paper. Enter all the questions into Kahoot. You’ve gone from what could have been a boring lesson time has now been transformed into active learning, Children are engaged. The use of the leader bored means they are focusing. They want to see themselves on the leader-board! Kahoot has endless advantages;

  • Instant feedback- Children know within seconds if they are right or wrong. Furthermore it allows misconceptions to be addressed straight away. The table allows the class and teacher to visually see the number of people who answered which. The question answer can then be explained providing children with instant feedback.
  • Marking- The marking is done for you! Hellooooo… As teachers we are always               overloaded with marking.. so why shouldn’t we be celebrating a software that marks it all for you. Not only does it allow you to see overall class percentage, it gives you a detailed analysis of every child and every answer that they have given. Furthermore- what makes Kahoot evermore brilliant- it gives it to you all in one easy to read colour coded excel document you can just download and print off. Ting! 🙂
  • Interactive. Engaging. Fun. Visual.  
  • Adaptable to any subject, lesson or topic.
  • Open to all abilities– Something that i noticed about Kahoot is that it is suitable for all abilities. The simple design and layout means that all children are able to participate. What I would recommend is one or two sample questions with easier answers. – ie/ what number comes after 1. to ensure children understand how it works so that assessment is not effected by a misunderstanding of how to use the software.
  • Free– Yes! Kahoot is a free software, all you have to do is register and begin creating your own… Not enough time to create your own, then you are able to search from hundreds of quizzes already created. I promise you – you will find something that your looking for.
  • Multi device compatible- Windows, Mac, laptops, computers,  IPad, IPods- Kahoot is available for all devices, So no matter what devices your school have- It will work just the same across them all.
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Communicating With Parents

One of the elements of Teacher’s Standards 8 involves effective communication with parents.

“Communicate effectively with parents with regard to pupils’ achievements and well-being.”

clip-art-family-talking

A few years ago, this was a thought that terrified me, but my voluntary experience outside of the school setting is something that enabled me to be confident in doing this when I began my university degree and began placements in schools.

During my free time I work as a Brownie leader- I find this to be a truly wonderful and rewarding experience. Not only is it great for me, as I myself grew up in Girl-guiding, but it also allows me to continuously develop strategies of working with children, planning and of course communicating effectively with parents.

As a main leader, this is something that I do regularly.

Writing– In writing I often send out newsletters to parents detailing events that are happening within the unit. I will send out letters of trips that we are running such as our latest trip to Cadbury World.

Talking– Parents drop off their children at the meeting each week, and it is here were I will communicate verbally with parents. Such discussions may involve, talking about the child’s welfare, discussing picking up arrangements, and continuously answering any questions that the parents may have.

Having this weekly experience of speaking with parents has allowed me to grow in confidence. When on placement this year, I was able to apply these skills to effectively communicate with parents of children in my class.

Communicating effectively

Whilst I was on placement- my visiting tutor gave me a tip on how to communicate effectively when speaking to parents. She called it the sandwich!

sandwichBread 1- Talk to the parents- introduce with something good, a smile, a positive thing that has happened.

Filling– now talk to them about the issue/problem/concern/point you have. I.e. Flossie forgot her PE kit again today. Can you please send it in with her when she comes to school tomorrow.

Bread 2– Now it is time to close the sandwich. Finish on a good and positive note. “Flossie had a great today, especially her super work in Math’s. See you tomorrow.” This means that the parent is leaving not only with the message you intended to give, but with a smile.

Reflection: I especially love this idea that my visiting tutor suggested, and when I spoke to one of the parents after school a few weeks later, this is a strategy that I implemented. I will therefor use this in the future when communicating with parents and will also be able to apply it when communicating with Brownie parents when I return to the unit next week.