In our second month of Story Workshop, we have introduced several structures which support the storytelling process and invite room for inspiration, reflection, exchange, and growth.
"And then we hid so soundly that butterflies came…"
Story Theater is a structure in which a child's story is enacted by their peers. The storyteller may choose to be an audience member or an actor in their story. After the story is acted out, there is time for both the cast members and audience to give feedback in the form of questions or compliments to the author and the cast members. In this way, a child may hear strengths that they have as a storyteller, and they may also hear ways in which they may want to stretch and grow as an author as they answer clarifying questions. The author also has the opportunity to see how others interpret and act out their story. This structure is a powerful tool for the author, cast and audience as each plays such an integral role in the process of reflection.
"Then we had to catch our favorite colors in a can. The butterflies said, 'Hello' to us. We said, 'Hello' back…."
(excerpts from OA's story)
Like story theater, "sharing" is another structure quite similar, where an author's work or experience is offered to the community as a way to problem solve, brainstorm, inspire, and inform. In this particular instance, LG was asked if he would share a valuable experience that would provoke new thinking for his community. He shared that when he first went to the table with colored pencils and colored paper, he sat down and drew this image.
It was a drawing of a double-sided hammer. When his teacher asked him what his story was about LG said, "It's a double-sided hammer. It lives in a toolbox. It whacks bricks." Then LG said, "This isn't a story. I didn't find a story." We wondered together if it might not be a story yet because he didn't know enough about his double-sided hammer. We also wondered if he wanted to either save it in his folder for another time when it might become a story, or if he wanted to try finding out more about the double-sided hammer in a new material. LG decided that he just wanted to try again and see if he might find another story on a fresh piece of paper. And he was so pleased to share with the class that he did find a story, one that he really was excited about!
Once upon a time there was 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 flowers! They walked in a row to their home. Then they walked where they were. They searched for food to eat. They found some water. Then they goed on a hike and found a giant tree. They discovered that they found a hole and sap was in it.
Questions for LG and LG's responses:
KF: How did the sap get in the hole?
LG: Because sap is tree blood.
EH: Why did them go back to them home?
LG: Because they were tired.
OA: Why did they find that sap?
LG: Because they just found it in the tree.
IH: How did they walk home without any legs?
LG: They walked on their leaves.
Through these questions, children offer Liam, as the author, the opportunity to consider new details to help in telling his story. The children also benefit from this reciprocal exchange by creating shared understanding.
At the end of this reflection, children were invited to share feedback with Liam for him to consider about the Double-Sided Hammer if he chooses to go back to it to make a story:
ZB: Maybe it can hammer in bricks then it like can hammer metal and glass and everything in the whole wide world!
IH: Maybe it can knock to make wood or a car or make a window in a big big building like the museum!
ZB: Maybe he can use it to knock on the door if he was going to have a playdate with somebody.
AG: And maybe they can share some toys together.