Sunday, June 2, 2013

It's Finally Time... Chapter 1: Storytelling!!

I am so excited about this book study! I want to start by telling you a bit about why I chose this book. About 2 months ago, my grade level was siting down in one of our weekly planning meetings. We have frame works for each of the 9 weeks that hold all of our lesson plans. We were taking a peek at the 1st 9 weeks and started really delving into the Common Core standards that we teach that 9 weeks. It became very, very clear that they really center around ... Talking!

And we, as Kindergarten teachers, know that Kinders... can talk!

Writing has also always been (in my honest opinion) my toughest spot to teach. As I read Storytelling I was struck by one of the paragraphs.. because seriously, it sounds just like my classroom!!

"They head off to the tables, excited about telling their stories on paper, and sit right down and begin drawing. Some even write letters and words. There's a soft hum in the room and you think, This is really nice, so you sit down next to a child to ask about his story, but before long you feel a tug on your sleeve and you turn and a child is standing there holding up her booklet as proud as can be, saying, "I'm done!" She's filled every page with drawings all done in purple and can't wait to show it to you, and behind her comes another, and another--a line is forming with kids announcing, "I'm done!" Out of the corner of your eye you catch a glimpse of a child coloring over his gorgeous picture with black crayon swirls, and you want to go and find out what his story is about, but you can't because you have all these kids coming up to you and the noise level is rising and you know you've got to do something because writing time is unraveling in front of your eyes."

I can flashback to the beginning of last year.. man, even some days at the end of the year... and that's exactly what it looked like. That's why it's so important to focus on what CAN they do when they come to school? That circles us right back around to talking :D

It's really the most important aspect for young children being able to share their stories as well as an important step to beginning socialization.

In addition to my freebie today, I wanted to give a list of quick-to-implement strategies to highlight this very important stage:

*List to every child, give every child a chance to talk.
*Sit below the child who is speaking. Give them your seat of honor.
*Give the child his or her words back. Repeat so that you can help add to their vocabulary and show them your understanding.

One of the most important items that you can have the other students do is #1- ask questions to help understand what's going on in the story or #2- as questions to get more information.

I posted awhile back about having differentiation during discussions. My Literacy Coach at school had showed us several clips about integration across a block of literacy time that was amazing and differentiated and so,so inspirational! Click here to read my post.

In my post I shared a way to have your students signal if they wanted to start a new topic or add to what someone else has to say. I love this so much that I will be training my kiddos this next year to do it! Here's my poster for you to grab as your freebie for the week!

How do you start your year of writing and storytelling?

Don't forget to check out the very awesome Jennifer over at Rowdy in First Grade for her take on Chapter 1 this week too!


  1. I was just remembering a game I did YEARS ago with my class. One person starts off a story, then the next person repeats that line and adds more to the story. It goes on an on. EX: "The black dog ran." "The humongous black dog ran." "The humongous black dog ran to get his bone." With the little ones I focus more on adding details to the story. And we usually only made it to about five people before we had to start a new story. This game seems right in line with this book.

    1. I love this game! This is a perfect way to review story telling!

  2. I am super excited to read your blog about book study; I am just about to start this book!!!

    1. It's an awesome read. I love, love, love it!

  3. I love the hand signals poster! What a simple way for students to signal their desire to share! Thank you for starting this book study! I love the book!


    1. Thank you so much! It was an excellent idea that I saw from another teacher. I'm so glad that you are loving the book and the book study!


  4. Thank you for doing this study. It has already been very helpful and I have only read 1 chapter. I was really struck by the common sense of asking "what CAN they do?" What a great reminder.