Using storytelling as a learning tool: Question for educators and parents
I'm interested in learning more about innovative ways to use stories for teaching, learning, and to make learning visible. Any fun assignments and activities that involve stories? I'd love to hear about them!
Hello Ginaa and thank you for asking a great question. I have long thought that storytelling was an excellent and effective way for teaching. Culturally, storytelling has been used from one generation to another. The deaf community uses storytelling in American Sign Language and has specific ways to share deaf culture and history.
Here are some thoughts to help you with fun ways of using storytelling in a classroom:
1. Tell stories with emphasis on visual stimulus and fun! Use Big books (available at libraries, too) to help. Have the children guess and come up with alternate endings.
2. Make a story using a photo or words that you can be cut up as puzzle pieces. Leave them around the classroom and have this scavenger hunt be the start of your story making by looking for the pieces to make a whole story. When the puzzle is assembled the story, topic or concept can be told. Children will find that they are part of the story as active participants vs. passive listeners.
3. Create their own story. Have them make special stories about an event unique to their lives. Or they can opt to draw a picture, bring in a photo and tell a story. Also, students can be given an assignment to photograph a certain amount of photos in a set time period and place the photos together to tell a story. A bit more involved, but excellent for older students.
4. Play "add to the story". Each child receives a vocabulary word that is from your targeted list. They need to use their word as part of the classes "growing" story. It can be silly, but the word needs to be used appropriately.
5. Bring in a speaker who can share a historical story. Perhaps a grandparent who can volunteer where they were during unique circumstances such as when man landed on the moon, the civil rights era, feminist movement, a war in this century, etc. Asking for newspapers or photos to help tell the story is great, too. Also the Newseum has an educators section and I have added a link to their site below. The Holocaust can be a tough subject. However the PAPER CLIPS story is very timely. It teaches so many topics, including tolerance, making a difference as a teen, and about history. I have used this particular movie from middle through high school. The impact is always the same and moves students to generate their own storytelling techniques. You can obtain more info at this website: http://history1900s.about.com/library/holocaust/blclip.htm
6. Adopt the way other cultures tell stories. The deaf community passes on their stories by using sign language. They have a very unique methods and one of my favorites is called the "ABC story". Each component of the story must start with the next letter of the alphabet handshape. You can adapt this for a classroom in which each word of the story must have the next verbally spoken letter in ABC order. OR you can teach the manual alphabet for the deaf and use this as a bilingual and bicultural experience. Again, your local library and youtube has excellent demonstrations of ASL storytelling which is unique to most students. Using other languages integrated with your stories, also is fun, interactive, and highly engaging.
Enjoy! Adding storytelling to your classroom experience is excellent and one of my favorite teaching tools.
I use PhotoStory 3 to teach a variety of things. All you will need is a digital camera, computer with free software, and creativity. I have used it with Hamlet, field trips, science experiments, and much more! Follow the link and it will show you how to get the software and it will give you ideas for both educational and non-educational uses. (I have used it with wedding pictures.) This is an easy way to achieve 100% participation--trust me! I give it 4 out of 4 stars! : )
You can make storytelling fun for yourself and for the children. Yoy first need to know the story you want to tell so that you can add some spices of your own and sometimes let the children dicide its ending, in that way, you are all active.
What a super fun question! I teach children that are low-verbal or non-verbal in a special education classroom. We tell stories that go along with our themes and units through podcasting and vodcasting and then posting these to our blog. The sky is the limit when it comes to making something interactive and exciting. I have also created a youtube page for social stories. These are videos that teach a specific way to do an activity. I show these to my students, but I had older students come up with the script and act it out :)