Writing stories (in a different way)

As a follow-up to the post Perspective and Stories, I am going to tell you how I used the video of Frederick to facilitate story writing, to think about perspective and diversity. The current unit of inquiry is How We Express Ourselves and the central idea is “The arts help us to discover and appreciate diversity”. The lines of inquiry pre-define the arts as language, visual arts, dance, drama and music.

I used “Frederick” for the language elements, but instead of having all the kids write their own story, I made it a real challenge: Group-writing. This was the first group-writing experience, and the beginning was difficult. We had kids sitting back and not knowing the story, we had others writing the whole things, and we had a lot of fights. But with patience and discussion (and some reflection and guidance), we finally got there. Everyone shared their ideas and they melted together, really nicely.

Recently the students also used another story in music to create soundscapes together. They didn’t make much of a connection between the two, so I was wondering if I should have used the same story to start with.

But “Frederick” worked well. The stories were very different, but common in other ways. It really helped us to make initial art connections to the central idea.

Once the stories were written, we shared them on the interactive white board while the groups read out there stories. I was amazed that one group broke the sequence and moved back and forth in the video, creating an even more individual story. The experience was great, it took them over 6 hours to get there, but it was worth it!

Try it out with your students and tell me how it went!


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