Unit Openers :
Grade 3 - Unit 4 - Storytelling
Storytelling Unit Opener Powerpoint by Linda Brady
Idea incorporating dolls and storytelling, appropriate for special education.
After that activity, each student creates a timeline of their own life, including memorable events, trips, hospital stays, arrival and departure of beloved pets, births of younger siblings that the child remembers, deaths of grandparents or other family members. Class brainstorms appropriate topics to include. We supplied paper for the timeline, and specified a vertical orientation so it would fit our available display space. Timelines are due the day before the storytelling unit opener. On unit opener day, students view each other's displayed timelines. They write about them, noting interesting topics on others' timelines, ideas they might have like to include, insights about their classmates. Early in the unit, students are assigned to write the biography of a classmate. Students use the timeline as an initial source of information, then also interview their classmate for additional information. At the end of the unit, students keep their own biographies. The value of this activity for a unit opener, is that students have a bank of ideas to draw on for writing about memorable experiences at the start of the unit. They can use ideas they have put on their timelines, or ideas that their biographer has elicited from them.
At our school we've had several classes at the grade level cooperating with the timeline display and reflections, so students see many other students' work and ideas. This is only one activity of the unit opener that we plan for Storytelling. We also have a teacher who is disguised as a Scottish storyteller tell a story to the class, and we do the usual preview activities as well.
Here are step by step directions for hosting a fairy tale party which would make a terrific unit opener or closer for the unit. Students can dress up as folktale characters and make invitations in fairy tale style.
After talking about an oral history tradition with stories by Aesop and The Grimm Brothers, the class participated in creating its own story where one student started the story and then passed on to each of the other students who continued it. It helped when we got to stories like Oral History and were able to relate it to our experience of creating and telling a story orally.