- Some children brought props and costumes to the session for their story making with some having worked at home on their objects.
- Most of the children were keen to talk about their weekend and were unfazed when the exercise changed into miming and acting rather than verbal.
- The children enjoyed the Invisible box exercise with all of them finding something to take out of it, some being very imaginative.
- The one word story worked very well with the pace being quite fast and the vast majority of children being able to contribute in a logical sequential manner.
- Story telling roulette was much harder as it forced children to continue the narrative after they might naturally end it. This meant that they had to think fast to come up with ideas.
- The story science was kept brief and to the point with children being encouraged to participate where possible.
- As in previous weeks, the classes enjoyed making activities and were very creative in making costumes, face painting and props.
- At story time, each group or individual placed their story cookie in the bag and cookies were drawn out to determine the running order.
- Some children had obviously worked hard on their stories and attempted to keep to their own script. Other groups used a lot of drama to get across their ideas and some children seemed to relish their opportunity to perform, leading the group backwards and forwards over the outdoor area. Some several times! Some groups, mainly comprising boys, had quite convoluted adventure or war based stories which in places seemed to stray into demonstration of martial skills.
- On the whole the stories were well received and children who were worried about speaking in front of the group were often the best storytellers.
As the culmination of the storytelling segment of the programme and indeed the programme itself, I felt that the final session went very well. There was an air of festival about it with both classes wanting to tell their stories to each other.
With the benefit of hindsight, it may have been better to offer full day sessions towards the end of the programme to allow children more time to prepare for their stories and to embed more of the learning around story structure and presentation. That said there are always those children for whom a whole day around one subject might be too much.
In initial planning, the programme was to focus on poetry, moral dilemmas and scripts for plays. While the focus for the last three sessions was on storytelling in general, the strong theatrical element in the stories both demonstrated to and created by the classes meant that such scripting was touched upon, all be it through oracy rather than the written word.
The eight sessions have been a journey for children and staff alike and on a personal note I have learned a lot about how to inspire children and show them that they have an innate appreciation for narrative in its many forms and are able to produce something worthy which will be of interest to themselves and inspire others.