By Kim Davenport, MKEA Regional Coordinator for the Central Region
At a January DESE conference on Early Literacy, the Boston Public School Early Childhood Department shared aspects of their K2 Focus on Literacy curriculum. It is an empowering, project-based curriculum that engages young minds while developing critical cognitive and social-emotional skills.
One powerful tool used by preschool, Kindergarten, and now 1st grade teachers is storytelling-story acting which is based on the work of Vivian Gussin Paley. This curriculum element develops language and literacy skills, while supporting creativity and social and emotional development. The best news is that it doesn’t take much time but the rewards are tremendous.
Essentially, storytelling-story acting involves taking dictation of a story from one child each day, then later in the day, the story is re-enacted with classmates serving as the characters, setting elements, and audience.
Dictation: “Supporting children’s storytelling involves careful listening and gentle scaffolding. It is an opportunity to engage children one-on-one in a joyful activity. While some children will begin the year telling lengthy stories, others’ stories will be shorter. Even a one-word story can (and should) be celebrated and acted out. Over time, children’s comfort with storytelling and their narrative abilities will grow.” – BPS Storytelling-Story Acting Teacher Guide
Dramatization: “Story acting brings children’s ideas to the group. It gives a compelling reason for children’s storytelling, celebrates children’s ideas and provides an opportunity for the class to create meaning around a text of great interest.” – BPS Storytelling-Story Acting Teacher Guide
Like powerful antioxidants in berries, storytelling-story acting is packed with huge stores of social emotional learning. Just look at the PreK-K Social Emotional and Approaches to Play and Learning Standards to see a multitude of connections. Here is a quick sampling:
Read – See – Try
Explore the BPS early childhood Weebly site to learn more. You can find overviews, testimonials, training and classroom videos, and a teacher guide (complete with embedded videos). The website is full of high-quality resources and real-life examples and “how did you handle…” support. Videos demonstrate dictation sessions, storytelling by teachers, and story acting by children. Happy exploring!
Storytelling Overview Information: http://bpsearlychildhood.weebly.com/storytelling.html
Storytelling-Story Acting Guide: http://bpsearlychildhood.weebly.com/guides.html