slice of life · writing · writing journal

Storytelling Practice

The latest and greatest from Isabelle's journal.
The latest and greatest from Isabelle’s journal.

Like many Mondays this school year, I found myself in Isabelle’s classroom yesterday morning. And like many Mondays I’ve volunteered in Isabelle’s classroom, I talked to Isabelle yesterday morning about what she was planning to write in her journal. She came up with a story idea (i.e., visiting someone’s sukkah a few months ago), but that was it. I told her that stories have to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Then, I demonstrated by telling her a story, across my fingers, that had a beginning a middle, and an end. Afterwards, we practiced her story (about 10 times!) until she felt confident enough to do it on her own at school.

I did a minilesson during her class’s circle for the past two weeks. I used this chart in my minilesson:

I wanted to teach the children that there's a process writers go through in order to complete a piece of writing.
I wanted to teach the children that there’s a process writers go through in order to complete a piece of writing.

Isabelle did not request to come to the writing center first yesterday. About halfway through center time, she joined me at the table. There was another girl there who was actually writing words independently. She was curious about her classmates letters on the page, but also seemed frustrated she couldn’t write her own wordsI can’t write words!” she told me before starting the drawing for the story we discussed in the morning.

“I can’t write words!” she told me before starting the drawing for the story we discussed in the morning.

“Tell me, ‘I can’t write words yet.'” I retorted.

“I can’t write words, Mommy!”

“You will learn how to, Isabelle. That’s the next step. Today you’re adding words by telling me the story and then I will write them for you. I want you to say ‘I can’t write words yet.'” (There’s nothing like shoving a growth mindset down your kid’s throat, right?)

She complied. “I can’t write words yet.” Then she opened her marker and started drawing.

Once her drawing was complete, I labeled it with small sticky notes. Then, I made an audio recording of her on my phone.

This version wasn’t quite as detailed as the one she recited at home in the morning, but I was delighted by it. (Especially because she used the word finally in her story to signify the last thing she did.) I also reminded her, after I finished writing her words on the sticky note, that she was a good writer because she went through the writing process by thinking (and talking about her story), drawing it, and having someone add the words.

Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com  for more slices of life.
Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com for more slices of life.
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14 thoughts on “Storytelling Practice

  1. Stacey, I can’t access the audio recording (not sure it it’s WordPress or my work’s firewall). At any rate, I laughed out loud about you shoving growth mindset down her throat.

    She is a great storyteller, I’m sure, and someday she’ll likely be writing wonderful stories!

  2. Stacey, I am so proud of Isabelle! She is developing her ideas so well. I am also proud of you for figuring out the best way to motivate her. I loved the way you had her practice her story in the morning and loved hearing her tell her story. It brings back memories of my mini lessons in kindergarten telling a story across my fingers. Awesome work!

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