The ‘key Features’ of a Storytelling School are;
Hear (the teacher tells a story)
Map (each child creates their own map of the story’s main sequence of events)
Step (each child ‘steps’ the story, creating a sequence of ‘freeze frame gestures, words and sounds’ which sum up the story’s sequence)
Speak (the children, having gained in confidence as a result of the previous actions, begin telling the story to each other)
‘HMSS’ is described as;
‘a four-step model for learning stories as a default for all schools’
So, the next step was obviously to chose our story. There is a story provided at this point in the book, however I chose The Three Little Pigs as it is a favourite here and it has repeating sections (the book advises such a story to start off with) I felt it would be better to stick with familiarity as a starting point.
There is also a very useful link at this point in the book, directing the reader to The Story Museum website where a great many stories (available as audio files) are to be found. I would definitely recommend parents and teachers pay a visit to this site, it really is a great resource.
Firstly, I listened to an audio version of The Three Little Pigs, paying attention to the images conjured up by the narrative.
I then created my own, simple, map of the story which involved drawing a series of important images from the story, linked together by arrows. The book advises that this should take no more than 5-10 minutes (my drawing skills leave much to be desired but the book assures me that what matters is that I understand this map, phew!)
(my map… pigs – straw, sticks, bricks – build houses – wolf comes along and blows down houses – wolf climbs down chimney and falls into cooking pot – pigs live happily ever after)
After getting over the initial self consciousness of the activity (in an empty room!) this part was fun! i chose the most important elements of The Three Little Pigs story, and added a gesture to each of them along with a word/sentence. I ‘stepped’ through the story in this way until the entire story was complete and I was able to move through it in it’s entirety. This took quite a few ‘goes’ to get right but that is all part of the learning process and, of course, a very effective means of remembering the story.
Now i was ready for the ‘main event’. Telling the story. The book advises telling the story while standing up, this apparently gets the whole body involved, thus resulting in a more powerful telling. Further advised to always start with ‘Once upon a time’ as a learner storyteller (a simple way to start which can be changed as the process becomes more familiar) and remembering not to simply repeat the words of the story from the source, I began to tell the story. I found the easiest and most enjoyable way to do this was whilst walking around the room (everyone will have their own preference and anyway is acceptable)
Once i was confident in my ability to tell the story in what was hopefully an absorbing manner, it was time to share it with Bundle Number One…
Disclaimer: We were kindly sent this book (free of charge) for review. All opinions are our own.