When you were a kid, did you ever lie on the grass at recess, look up at the clouds and see all sorts of magical and wonderful images in them? I did. It was nice to know that if I’d read all my books from the library, I could always go outside and be entertained by the sky – which, by the way, makes even the biggest Imax movie screen look positively tiny. I like to share with teachers ways to nurture storytelling skills. My motto is “If you can tell a story, you can write a story”. I had a teacher who when I returned from recess would ask me what I saw up in the sky - A flock of sheep? What were they doing? Where were they headed? Why? It got my brain thinking all kinds of creative which ways.
Asking your students to tell you a story helps to develop an active mind. Kids are naturally creative; your job is to give them an environment that will let their imaginations flourish. When a students creates a watercolor they painted at school, you can get them in the storytelling mode with an open-ended suggestion like “tell me about your picture.” It’s tempting to try and guess what they created but much more fun (for both of you) to hear them weave a story to go with the picture.
A fun way to help students get into a creative mode, is to give them a pile of pictures you’ve cut out of old magazines. Ask them to create a collage - and then tell you a story about it. You’ll be amazed at what your students will come up with!
I love D.I.Y craft projects. Making handmade books out of your students story is a great way to celebrate the enjoyment of writing. It’s also a great way to nurture a life-long love for books. Here is a PDF to Download Mrsp_bookmaking with simple instructions. You can create simple books in many ways, and the materials can usually be found around the students home:
• Cut out shapes from a brown-paper bag to use as pages for the book. Books don’t always have to be square or rectangular - try a circle. It’s also fun to use colored craft paper.
• Make an accordion book for a fun variation.
Remember: children are natural storytellers and encouraging this skill will pay dividends for the rest of their lives. When you’re a kid, having your ‘head in the clouds’ can sometimes be a very good thing.
And don't forget that my writing contest sponsors all have books in every format for your school to inspire children with their story telling efforts. Reading a good book, sparks the imagination!