Storytelling in the Classroom
Storytelling is not the same as reading aloud because it requires greater interaction between the teller and the listener. Therefore, storytelling is a great tool for improving children's communication skills, as well as developing language skills, comprehension, and self-awareness. (Reading and Communication Skills)
To help students use storytelling to foster creativity and to develop social skills and language skills—speaking, listening, and comprehension
Print out selected Building Blocks Character Cards, Know-Kit Cards, character bios, and ABC Coloring Book pages.
If you're going to use the Optional Activity for Older Students, gather a variety of at least 10 to 12 everyday items (pencil, spoon, umbrella, pair of shoes, tape, etc.).
- Gather the students in a large group. Choose a Building Blocks character picture and introduce him or her as a new student in the class. Tell the students some important things to know about their new friend based on the character cards and biography. We will use Ali Rabbit for our example.
Ali Rabbit is 5 years old. He lives with his mom, dad, grandparents, and great grandpa. He has six brothers and sisters. The oldest is aged 17 and the youngest is 5. His favorite sport is soccer. He likes to play on the computer and make music. His good friend is Thurgood Turtle.
- Now, start a story about Ali Rabbit's first day in your classroom. Include specific places and people in the story—the bus driver, the media specialist, etc. Model good storytelling practices for the students to remind them to speak clearly and loudly and to express feelings as they tell the story. Is Ali excited, frightened, or shy about his first day at a new school?
- Then, pass the picture of Ali to a student and have him or her add to the story. Continue passing the picture around the class until Ali's first day at school is complete. You may need to ask questions to prompt the children’s imaginations.
- Next, divide the class into small groups. Select several Know-Kit Cards and/or ABC Coloring Book pages that show Ali Rabbit. For example: Ali asleep on the soccer field, Ali playing the keyboard, Ali crying when someone took away his keyboard, Ali eating peanut butter and apples, Ali at his fifth birthday party, or Ali with his friends.
- Let the group talk about the pictures as they put them into a sequence and begin to make up a story that goes with the pictures. Depending on the age of your students, you may have to help them decide on the sequence of the pictures they will use.
- Have each group come to the front of the class with their pictures and share their story. Have others in the class participate by asking questions about the story or the characters.
- Finally, mix up all the pictures and distribute them around the class. Start a story based on the picture you hold. Then, call on a child to add to your story, using the character in the picture he or she holds. Go around the room and call on students to add to the class story.
- Have the students talk about the different stories and tell what they liked best. Was it more fun to have planned a story with their small group or to mix and match stories as a whole group? Why?
Optional: For Older Students
Place all the everyday items you’ve gathered into a big box. Be sure not to let the students see what's in the box. Then, tell the students that they're going to tell a story using the props in the box. Pass out one prop to the first student and have him or her start the story. Then, in the middle of the story, pass out another prop to a different student, which is the cue to jump into the story. Continue this until all the props are given out. The stories should make everyone laugh with the mismatched items and complicated storyline.
You can start again using the same props, but in a different order. Or, you can have students find their own props to tell an add-on group story.
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