On the first day of school, within the first hour, Opal School kindergarteners and first graders are immersed in Story Workshop. For some kindergartners, it is their first day of school, ever. The first graders are already experts. So they were able to offer their explanations to get things started:
Child 1: You can make a story about a character.
Child 2: Story Workshop is when you tell a story about anything you want except for when you are writing personal narrative.
Child 3: You can make a book about a painting.
The children’s explanations were enough to get them started. (The squeals of delight that erupted when the teacher, Sarah, let them know it was time for Story Workshop didn’t hurt, either.)
Sarah had prepared blank, stapled booklets for them and as the children raised their hands to make choices, she gave one to each of them. She said, “When something interesting happens while you are playing, will you write it down so that other people can hear about it?” She asked, “How can you capture your ideas?” She said, “Bring a pencil so you have something to write with.”
And so they did.
Here’s a peek into what it looked like:
Materials. Time. Blank paper. A pencil. An invitation.
Let’s remember how much power there is in those blank sheets of paper. Of all the materials available in Story Workshop, those might be the most important ones. Here are some thoughtful posts by others that offer reflections on that very important note:
- Discourse: Math, Literacy, and the Need for More Blank Paper by our friend, Shawna Coppola (@shawnacoppola)
- A Brief Ode to Blank Paper
- What We Learn When We Free Writers
How are you starting Story Workshop? Join teachers around the world who are developing Story Workshop right now.