We are continuing our work with the Quality Teaching and Learning project with early primary classes and teachers this year. Our district’s inquiry is looking at the role of playful storytelling experiences in students’ oral literacy development.
Information about our work in the QTL project last school year can be found here:
Kidd, Diefenbaker, Blair and Blundell are continuing their work in the project and Steves, Ferris and Cook are joining the project this year.
Last week, I visited the Kindergarten and Grades 1&2 classes at Steves. Before my visit the teachers, Kathleen Paiger and Ellen Reid had taken the students outside to forage for materials for story settings/animal habitats.
I shared some of the animals I had brought with me and their significance to local Aboriginal cultures and read the students Good Morning World. The students then chose their materials to create a setting for their story and then chose animals.
What happened next in both classes was pretty special. A calm overtook the classes and the students were engaged with their materials and stories.
Some students focused on building and creating while others enjoyed having their animals talk back and forth to each other. Some students were happy with a limited supply of materials and animals while others amassed quite the collection in front of them. Students naturally merged their materials and stories together. For some students, sharing their stories with an adult seemed very important, especially if it was captured on video.
Here are two short video clips of some kindergarten stories:
These classes had collected rocks, twigs, leaves and acorns on their school grounds. As the students began to build their settings for their stories, one student in the grades 1&2 class was holding a twig with attached leaves in his hands, standing it up like a tree. I asked him if he could think of a way to make the twig stand up on its own…he thought of play dough. His teacher had plasticine in the class and he used that to stick his twig in and voila…a tree was standing. Other students noticed this and we had forests popping up all over the classroom.
The synergy that emerges is one of my favourite parts of this project. The students collaborate, build on each others ideas and co-create their stories…and forests.