celebrating winter with stories

Posted on: December 11th, 2014 by jnovakowski

I have visited the two new schools I am working with on our playful storytelling project (QTL) this year and shared a lovely new book by Terri Mack called Mouse Celebrates the Winter Solstice available here. This story highlights principles and themes like community, celebration, the role of elders and family and the power of stories.

After reading and discussing the themes in the story, the children had an opportunity to create their own stories about the winter solstice. Some stories focused on winter and the forest while others focused more on celebrations and bringing a community or families together.

At Steves, the K and 1&2 class looked at the cover of the picture book and predicted what the story might be about. The students loved looking for the mouse and her footprints in the snow. They also were quite interested in the illustrations of the “star pictures” or constellations. The students also enjoyed the illustrations showing all the animals from the forest coming together to celebrate and were proud to name them.

The students then created their own stories, taking time to carefully create their settings. The students take such care in creating these small story worlds, paying attention to details. Many of the students incorporated the photo blocks the students had created, using photographs of their local environment along the dyke.



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The students also used story stones that they had made.



At Ferris we began our time with the K and K&1 classes by sharing some materials to help the students think about the story.


The students were quite excited to learn about how pinecones open and close depending on the weather!

We spread out some materials for students to create their own wintery story scenes.


As we listened in on their stories, we noticed that the students were developing a stronger sense of story development with some sort of beginning and ending. Some students continue to describe their story scene while others are beginning to use dialogue between the characters and have some sort of action or activity in their story.

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The students in all three of the classes at Ferris liked having photographs taken of their stories and would often call me or their teachers over to take the photos. I would then ask the students to “tell” me their stories and audio-typed them on my iPhone. Although the focus of this project for our young learners is on oral language development, that concept that “talk can be written down” and that their stories can be captured in different ways to share with others has become an important part of the project.


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