Posts tagged ‘storytelling’

100 books every child should read

100 books every child should read – An introduction by Michael Morpurgo – Telegraph

A useful book list, split into ‘early’ ‘middle’ and ‘early teens’ ages (though I always take age/stage guides lightly), which I found from a useful thread on the TES forums – does putting a link to that work?…

The Telegraph list is introduced by a too-true article by Michael Morpurgo on the teaching of reading, probably worth reading at least every term!

Adding to that, there are booklists on the National Literacy Trust website, including specialist lists for particular target audiences


January 7, 2011 at 9:43 am Leave a comment

Creating a supportive community: group bonding games and drama tips

We had our first drama workshop today, and one of the main points was, again, the importance of creating a safe space for all children in all activities. The lecturer took us through these activities…

Circle games


We started by moving our chairs into an egalitarian and inclusive circle, all wearing name badges. The teacher does not have a chair, and explains he will get one by winning a bet. The bet is he can say the name of one of the people in the circle three times, before they can say his name twice. If he wins, they must give up their seat and try to win another one by repeating the name of someone in the circle. They must pronounce the name properly, so everyone can hear, and look at the person (especially if there are two people with the same name). Where it’s not clear who won, the group decides with a show of hands.

This helps with learning names, and is a fairly comfortable way to get used to being in the centre of the circle. It’s good for bringing the group together and getting a sense of shared focus.

Move if you…

(This is also good for mixing up a group)

The person in the middle has to try to get a seat by calling out “move if you [are a human being, are wearing trousers, like swimming…]”.

Start with simple, visible things and move to hidden things.

Put yourselves in order

Make a notional ‘start’ and ‘end’ point in the circle, or along a line. Ask the children to arrange themselves in order of something linear like birthday day/month. To make it more complex/fun/different, tell them they have to do it without speaking. Go round the group to see how they got on.

Creating a home

If you’re going to be working in an open space, first ask the children to find a part of the room (specify exactly where they are allowed to go – keep your space as teacher) where they can stretch their arms out without touching the walls or each other. Ask them to sit down in that space. Tell them this is their home, and every time you say “go home”, they must come back to this exact spot. If they don’t make it home in time, they’ll be grounded! Tell them to look around and remember where they are sitting. Then you can bring fast-paced, noisy, movement based activities to a controlled end by asking the children to “go home” and counting down.

I think you’d have to be very careful to make sure children with language difficulties understand this. In particular you might find pupils with autism spectrum disorders putting their coats on and heading for the door if you tell them to “go home”.

Having created the bases, we played a fast-paced game of trying to greet as many people in the room as possible, while still getting ‘home’ in time (the teacher was counting down). You can ask the children to do this in different styles – he told us we had to say “Hello, I’m really pleased you’re in my class” to everyone, first in one one accent, then, in the second round, a different accent. I guess you could also do different walks, animal noises…

Dramatising text

We had a brief chat about what you could do with a simple rhyme. Ideas included:

  • bring in props, put them in a feely bag for children to explore
  • get the children to act out the gestures described in the rhyme
  • learn it to a rhythm
  • set it to a tune the children already know
  • (with children who can read) put the text on a whiteboard – as the group repeats the rhyme, invite individual children to rub out a word, so each time it’s repeated with less visual help
  • record a performance so the children can play it back.

General tips:

  • model the activity
  • ask various children questions about the activity: what you are going to do, what they are to do, what they think will happen next etc (you check their understanding, and others who are not sure may understand it better from their peers)
  • change the mood by becoming more playful when you introduce the game
  • you don’t have to explain all the rules at the start; explain the essentials, then deal with issues as they come up
  • control the pace by counting down from 10 or 5.

September 1, 2008 at 11:22 pm Leave a comment

Idea for an ongoing class story

This is inspired by the Big Issue article I blogged about here.

“I’m going to tell you a story about a group of wonderful people. When I say they’re wonderful, I don’t just mean they’re special, although they are each precious and unique like a diamond. I don’t just mean they’re capable of great things, although they are, each and every one. I don’t just mean they’re magical, though their magic is wonderful. They’re wonderful because they are full of wonder. They are curious, and interested, and learn all day every day in every way they can. Shall I tell you their names? [get out aged-looking scroll and read class names]

Today they are… lots of opportunities for magical and real settings, could relate to current project.

Today they met… dragons, whatever

Today they found… magical objects, gained magical powers…

Tell at end of day, perhaps end of week. Possibly best not to mix magic with real events especially with younger children and those with language difficulties as it could cause confusion. Perhaps best to set and keep in fantasy world. Always positive about all the children, no matter their behaviour through the rest of the day! It could be particularly good for helping to integrate new members of the class and those who are more isolated.

February 22, 2008 at 7:21 pm Leave a comment

“Make us the stars”

‘Scattered stars’ by fotofrances - image of many sparkly star stickers

“My hero is the teacher who made us the stars of her stories… I cannot recall her ever teaching us anything. At least, not in the strict meaning of the word ‘teach’. Everyday, at three o’clock, she would call us to assemble on the carpet. We would wait, breathless with anticipation. Her stories were the most exciting and dream inspiring, because they featured us. We became heroes and believed we could do anything.” George McCarthy, Big Issue Street Lights, September 6-12 2007.

I think this shows the power of storytelling, and the potential power of a teacher. What more could you hope for from telling a story?

The Scottish Storytelling Centre has training and resources for storytelling.

‘Scattered stars’ shared by fotofrances on Flickr under this Creative Commons licence

October 2, 2007 at 6:45 pm Leave a comment


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