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Jackie Baldwin jackie@story-lovers.com
Kate Dudding kate@katedudding.com

Innovative Projects

Motivating Children to Write Using Storytelling by Ann Wilson
Where: Countywide teacher in-services in Monroe County, Michigan, Darling County, South Carolina and the Educational Symposium in Toledo, Ohio. It has also been presented at the Ohio Order for the Preservation of Storytelling (O.O.P.S.), the Northern Prairie Storytelling Festival, Sioux Falls, South Dakota and the Ocoee Storytelling Fest, Cleveland, Tennessee. Parts of it were also presented at the Young Authors Conference at the University of South Florida.

When: Eight-year period from 1994-2002.

Curriculum Subjects: Language Development, Vocabulary Building, Dictionary and Thesaurus skills as well as syntax and grammar. Organizational Skills, Group Discussion, Interpersonal Relationships, Student-to-Student Cooperation, Group Cooperation, Student/Teacher Relationships, Community Building with students, parents, supervisors, various classrooms, school helpers, school employees and well wishers.

Grade Levels: Special Education, Elementary

This workshop may last 2 to 4 hours depending upon the time allotment. It is highly interactive. The participants may be teachers, educational aides, librarians, storytellers or anyone that may be involved with children at a project level. Since it is fun and interactive, it is a good workshop for the difficult-to-place groups of non-classroom employees who must attend an in-service day. It is also helpful to teachers and support staff accompanying students to camp.

The participants learn:

  • How to fracture a fairy tale
  • The way to use the Lone Ranger Model
  • The importance of creating word lists
  • The three secrets of helping groups of children enjoy creating an interesting story.

The presenter tells stories and uses the 12-page handout as a guide through out the workshop as the attendees do various exercises that they will take back to the student groups with which they work. Many past attendees have stated that the handout has become a very important part of their educational activities files.

Fracture a Fairytale
We spend time fracturing fairytales by combining elements from several fairytales to create our own tale. The results of this activity are usually funny and easily translate to a classroom activity.

The Lone Ranger Model
The Lone Ranger Model is a graphic model that the group will use to select:

  • A Good Guy,
  • A Sidekick,
  • A Gal,
  • A Conflict,
  • A Setting,
  • An Ending.
Once these are selected we will create a story on the spot and the volunteer characters will supply the dialogue and act it out for the group. It is that easy to do the same with a group of children.

Word Lists
We spend time in the work shop acting out the word lists of verbs, adverbs and adjectives. This activity is very entertaining and translates easily to a classroom activity. When students have participated in acting out verbs, adverbs and adjectives a few times, they become very fussy about how they will have a character in the story that they are writing move and talk. Indeed this has been the basis for many editorial discussions among students.

This is because one of the 3 secrets to help students create a story is to use themselves as the characters in the story. This supplies the dialogue to move the story along and the reason the students become very fussy about what is said and how it is said. They also become very interested in how a character moves.

As an example, we set up a situation and have the characters enter a room, the students act out the situation and physically come through a door together. The movements that they make (push, shove, trip, stumble, saunter, run) are noted and described as well as what they said to each other i.e. "What's your hurry? Stop that! I was here first. It's my turn, or You go first." All of these elements become part of our story.

When their story is finished (it takes about a month of twice weekly 2 hour work sessions), the students act out their stories for their classmates, parents, administrators and other interested people. We have an autograph party. All of the class stories are bound into a book and each group autographs their story and has the other groups autograph their stories. I have had a group of special education students stay after school twice a week for a month to write a story, because they wanted to write another story and there no more class room time.

Three Secrets
The three secrets for helping a group of children create a story are presented to the participants in little black boxes. If you must know the secrets...e-mail me at Annwil@aol.com

The entire workshop is based upon what worked during an eight-year period of creating stories in special education classrooms. These techniques were also effective during a year of weekly visits to a sixth grade classroom. The sixth grade students stated that they learned how to think.

Contact Info:
Ann Wilson
410 Gulf Blvd. # 3, Indian Rocks Beach, FL. 33785
727-812-1712 Cell: 727-244-5098
Annwil@aol.com

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Copyright 2007 by Jackie Baldwin and Kathryn Eike Dudding. All Rights Reserved.