Sunday, July 27, 2008

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Join 'Em

EraserTown USA (the eraser cities my second graders built in their desks - see first blog post below) continued to thrive during the 08-09 school year. But I have been known to have my own imagination. My parents will tell you that I lied quite a bit as a child, but it was truly my creative side being expressed. I decided to use my "storytelling" abilities to motivate reluctant a reluctant writer. And, I decided to join the EraserTown game. One late afternoon, I decided to transform into the "Writing Fairy." The Writing Fairy came to a student's EraserTown and took the whole town away - erasers and all. The fairy also left a detailed note saying that she captured the town and would return the town once the a writing piece was complete. The next morning, there was quite a buzz in the classroom. Of course, I didn't know what they were talking about - I had never heard of a Writing Fairy!! But what I do know is that the student got to the writing right away! She actually wrote a very amusing story - not exactly what it was supposed to be, but it was finished. And, instead of my feeling frustrated, I was able to have some fun while sparking some motivation. Much better on the nerves!

Storytelling is creative and a great way to engage children. And it can be great fun for teachers. If you've ever listened to Sir Ken Robinson or read his publications, you have heard him say that as children progress through their school years, their creativity diminishes. So we in the primary grades are somewhat fortunate to have the most creative children with which to work! We can learn from them and appreciate what we have. Creativity, as a 21st century skill, is something that the children, as well as we adults, need to be successful. And, I think it is the "fun-ness factor" that can make our classrooms a great place for the children AND the adults to spend their days.

Give it a try. Tell a story (It really isn't lying, no matter what my parents say!!)

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