I have just read this post by Rachel Chisnall (@ibpossum) about the power of telling stories, and how moving the physical focus in and during lessons has made a difference in her class.
It got me thinking about how I teach, and do I do enough telling of stories. Rachel teaches high school whereas I teach primary - but should that make a difference? I suspect not. Rachel says it has made a difference for her, so surely it would for me. But then, do I tell stories enough?
When I think about it, I do *read* a lot of stories, and have always enjoyed reading the 'right' stories. These are not always easy to find, so when you find one, do not lose it! Taking part in #NZreadaloud twice this year has been great, and has had my class really thinking deeply about a variety of things that have come out of the stories. We're also starting Global Read Aloud next term, which will be a whole different level, but really looking forward to it.
But I digress... When I think of telling stories, I don't usually think about reading books, I usually think about telling about something that happened in your life. These are the times that I really have the kids' attention - I remember telling my class about the blister on my thumb the size of a 50-cent coin (the old ones...); I remember telling my class about the way Mr Terry used to zone out in the middle of a class when I was in Standard 3 (we call it a "mental beach"); and I will never forget the time I told my class about the time my brakes on my bike failing going down the Ashburton rail bridge and narrowly missing the horizontal bar at the bottom. The class loves it when I go on a tangent, and what I love is seeing their faces light up when I say "you know, this reminds me of the time when...."
I like to tell stories like these when I'm trying to make or emphasize a point, or when I'm trying to motivate some writing (ala Gail Loanne). But let's be honest, sometimes it's just fun to listen to stories, and to tell stories. They can get students motivated in different areas, and develops all sorts of skills and abilities. Students can show a range of learning, and can develops empathy. I love hearing, reading and telling stories, and if nothing else, I hope that my students develop a similar love for stories.