School Name: Crystal View
School District: SD#62 Sooke
Inquiry Team Members: Tammy Bennet: firstname.lastname@example.org
Cathy Morrison: email@example.com
Inquiry Team Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Primary (K-3)
Curricular Area(s): Language Arts – Literacy, Language Arts – Oral Language, Language Arts – Writing
Focus Addressed: Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Differentiated instruction, Social and emotional learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? How can the structure of Story Workshop help our students view themselves as active creators of their own stories?
Scanning: This year we noticed several things about our group of learners. One is that they often come to school full of stories to tell but when the time comes to write, they struggle to find ideas. When we asked them “Who tells stories,” they didn’t include themselves. They don’t seem to view themselves as writers and storytellers. Another thing we noticed, possibly because of remote learning last spring, is that their abilities are greatly varied and many are not anywhere near the academic level common at this time of year. We want all our students to feel capable, have a sense of purpose, and view themselves as part of the community of storytellers and writers.
Focus: We noticed with remote learning last spring, their abilities are greatly varied and many are not anywhere near the academic level common at this time of year. We want all of our students to feel capable, have a sense of purpose, and view themselves as part of the community of storytellers and writers.
Hunch: Covid isolated us from each other, and disrupted the flow of interaction and community of learners. There was less time to teach because of the disruption to service. Parents were so stressed at home that there was not a lot of home support for literacy. We also found the students were stressed as everything was so new. Their skill sets were also not at the point we thought they would be because of the disruption to learning last March.
New Professional Learning: The children were incredibly enthusiastic. Enthusiasm for writing was ignited as the floodgates of their imaginations opened. We went and observed SW in other classrooms, seeing how it can be done in different ways.
We used resources such as Story Making – The Maker Movement Approach to Literacy for Early Learners, the new Opal School book Story Workshop, Foxy and Friends, and Adrienne Gear’s new book – Powerful Writing Structures. We also met during lunchtime once a week to review, discuss, share and encourage.
Taking Action: We brainstormed materials to collect for our students. What did we have? What did we need?
We considered how our current Covid-19 safety protocols would effect how we managed shared materials.
We explored different ideas of how children would capture their stories. What writing materials did we need?
Then we developed a plan of how to introduce the process of Story Workshop to our students.
We worked with the Covid guidelines.
One strategy we found useful was to go and visit a SW session in another classroom. Connecting with colleagues who have already been trying SW was an invaluable resource.
Checking: By using their natural inclinations to play, we found it easier to develop and draw out their imagination and risk taking. No one was saying “I don’t know what to write?” or “I don’t know what to do?”
The children now view themselves as storytellers. They were excited to share their stories and support each other in the story writing process.
Reflections/Advice: With the possibility of continued Covid restrictions next year, we will continue to work together as a team to expand authentic learning opportunities which are also safe for our young writers. As our experience from this year grows, we feel more confident in digging deeper with a variety of different activities, such as: using mentor texts, providing provocations and creating student sharing opportunities with greater authenticity. We plan to continue to share, connect and support each other through lunchtime planning sessions. This will be times that we can share ideas, brainstorm solutions to challenges, and continue to encourage each other along this learning process. We are now guiding our students towards different ways of telling their stories.