As a real enthusiast of storytelling, I’ve decided to create a storytelling-based learning curriculum which will be conducted in form of a workshop. Storytelling-based learning or narrative-based learning is not something we see in everyday practice. This method focuses on learning languages through literature, using storytelling at an early age. This curriculum is for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grade.Storytelling-based Learning as a Way to Promote Language Acquisition in Young Learners
Materials, classroom decoration and applications used
Materials needed: Activity book, cardboard, paper, printer, sketchnote, post-its, box, scissors, colored pencils, a printer.
Classroom preparation/decoration: Relaxing background music during the workshop. A sketchnote on the blackboard and whiteboard.
Applications used: We use the Random name wheel to get to know the children and select their name randomly for activities.
Ice-breakers – Let’s get to know each other!
1. Hello, hello, hello, what’s your name song for introducing the children. The children were a bit reluctant to sing at the beginning, but they enjoyed it later. Singing and introducing is a very useful ice-breaker, but I think that I will use drama get-to-know-each-other games when more children join in the next two workshops.
2. Raise your hand if…. and then just listing regular and silly things, such as: Raise your hand if your feet smell! 😀 The children relaxed, laughed out loud and they loved the game.
3. A twist on truth or dare – a box full of papers. Some describe the activity and some pose get-to-know-you questions to promote TPR. We were using the random name wheel to select a child who will draw the paper from the box and the children were so excited and cheered! More fluent children were very helpful and they translated and explained the activity to the other children. Here is the link for Wheel of Names, with some sample names inside.
Individual language level assessment with an interactive activity book
All students were assessed in the first workshop and the assessment is based on their ability to use vocabulary, basic grammar, questions, and deduction. I used these two printable quiet books from EasyPeasyandFun to interactively assess their language level. The spring activity book was for girls, and the dinosaur one was for boys. I almost never buy any lesson materials and I always design my own, but I loved this activity book and decided to make my own. I could see by their faces that they were thrilled and that they never saw a similar activity book before.
Storytelling – Dr. Seuss – All About Me
The storytelling was interactive and this Dr. Seuss book is really a gem! I usually don’t like Dr. Seuss’s books too much since some of them have racist motives but this one was really good since it works as a gap-fill oral exercise where children need to share things about themselves while they follow the story.
Workshop: Since this was our first workshop, it was all about introducing and we made personalized All about me bounty. The children drew, wrote and decorated it. We added stickers to the bounties in the end and decorated our space. I cannot remember where I downloaded the bounty since it was a long time ago, and I am sorry for not being able to post the source to the printable.
After-workshop game: Describing yourself with words from the sketchnote (adjectives)
While the test was in progress, other children played with educational toys to stay busy. Some of these toys include shape puzzles and an alphabet dry eraser book. The younger ones liked it, but older children finished really fast so they played word games while waiting.
To finish off, we tried to say goodbye with a twist on Hello to reuse vocabulary and introduce new lyrics:
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye (name)
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye
See you next week, see you next week,
Goodbye (name), goodbye (name), goodbye (name)!
The children were not in the mood to sing, so I hope to introduce this ritual in the next workshop.
There were only 5 children in the first workshop, and we already have 10 registered for the next one, so the number of children will keep growing. I set the limit to 15 so that we can have quality work and use the space as best as we can.
Overall, I am very pleased! The children enjoyed and they are smiling in every photo! Even the parents spoke in English when they picked them up, which is a big plus! I am really looking forward to our next workshop and continue with our storytelling-based learning! 🙂
What do you think about learning English in informal education? Do you like the concept of storytelling-based learning blended with crafting and a workshop? Do you think that this program can have a positive effect on children’s language level and 21st-century skills? Please write in the comments, I would love to hear your opinion!
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