Sunday, February 8, 2015

The Power of Story in the Home and Classroom

Last year my son started attending a Waldorf School.  It was a big adjustment for all of us.  As he struggled to adjust socially and emotionally, his teacher recommended storytelling.  {I have to admit I was doubtful this would produce any positive change, but I'm open to trying most things.}

I was stunned by the results.

I invented all sorts of fuzzy little woodland creatures who were experiencing the same sort of difficulties he had.  We most often told stories at bedtime.  He would get so quiet.  We would have whole conversations about what our characters should do or say or how we thought they felt.  Sometimes he would ask, "Is this story really about me?"

A year later he will sometimes say, "I don't really like your stories."  I think this is because it really zings his heart and emotions without any blaming or shaming.  He doesn't really know how to handle that.  {let's be honest--neither do most of the rest of us}

So how does this fit into the classroom.  I started telling many quick little stories in the classroom.  Sometimes they are true stories about events in my life or the lives of others.  Sometimes I use little finger puppets.  My class usually sits silent and spellbound.

I use stories to present some of the most difficult topics in our classroom--someone stealing the personal items of others, how to handle anger, what to do when you're fighting with your friends.  Usually we use our "Wise old gnome" and an animal to present the problem to him.  The gnome then presents solutions.

I'm blown away by the responsiveness of my students.  Does it solve all the problems?  Nope!  Does it open a portal into their hearts and minds?  Yep!

I'm developing a collection of mini-books that relate to this.  They are called Will U.  I will start to provide some of them here for my loyal and amazing peeps, so keep an eye on this spot.

Do you use storytelling?  How?  When?

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