Sunday, August 24, 2014

Thematic Teaching/Storytelling

'Twas the night before the first day of school, and all through the house... Teachers brains were so anxious and full, they'd never even notice the presence of a mouse.

I tried! This is the sixth eve of the first day of school, and entering this year I have decided on a true theme I would like to focus on with all of my classes.
Ideally, every year would have some type of theme to follow through all the lessons and performances you do with students. I think this helps focus your own ideas for curriculum and helps you answer the question of what is important to cover and what should you not worry too much about. Maybe not intentionally I have had my own themes...
Year 1: Survival (no, seriously like my own survival)
Year 2: Tough Love
Year 3: Improvisation (students and myself making things up as we go!)
Year 4: Play
Year 5: Build the plane as I'm flying it/Work Ethic

and now we are here at Year 6: Tell Your Story

I am designing a Storytelling Unit, but don't get too excited, it is still in the works. But I found two amazing clips that I am going to include:

The WhiteBoard History of Storytelling (which has a bit of a tilt to digital storytelling/movie making, which is totally cool) 

And this cool TED presentation by the PigPen Theatre Company out of Carnegie Melon

Other amazing theatre companies that I think tell stories quite well are Buntport Theater Company and Ten Thousand Things. Both do original work based on existing stories, or present well-known stories in very minimalistic ways to get to the truth of the story, for audiences that don't have access to theatre. 

I am planning to roll out the storytelling unit in a few weeks, after we do basic getting to know you activities, and then a unit on monologues/voice. But I would ideally really like the students to create something original, generated from stories that they have of their own, or stories that are important to them. 

How have you taught storytelling? What resources do you have to share? How can you get students to this total, creative take over, where they are the drivers in their own story of themselves? I think young people are so often silenced today, it is our job to help them develop their voices and see to it that their voices are presented thoughtfully, creatively and authentically. 

Stay tuned for more adventures in storytelling... 

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