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Magazine Issue 28: Using Stories for Learning and Thinking
October 2012

This month we think about using stories and story structures to improve teaching and learning.

Article: Using Story for Learning
New Resources
Teaching Tips
Mike's Books
Additional Resources

This Month's Article:

Using Story for Learning

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Using Story for Learning An Article that concisely summarises the concept of 'story' then proposes how it can enrich teaching and learning.

A story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end... but not necessarily in that order. Jean-Luc Godard

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. Maya Angelou

What is a story? Why are stories and storytelling important? How can you enrich your teaching with stories?

This is a Free Sample Resource

Categories: Article, Planning, English, Educators

Tags: Pedagogy Story
A story is a series of events linked together to create meaning and to convey ideas. Stories are told in writing, through film, orally, in dance, with music and using combinations of these forms.  Cinderella is a story; exploits recounted in the pub are stories; your life is a story busy being told.

The diversity of stories and the variety of their subjects is immense. But analysis reveals surprisingly simple structures that appear in all of them. Studies such as Christopher Booker’s 7 Basic Plots present a handful of story types and an overall sequence common to every one. Booker argues that there is just one story motif from which all the others can be derived:

1. A problem, challenge or discontinuity prompts action
2. Action takes place to meet the challenge
3. New problems are encountered
4. A final ‘battle’ occurs
5. The problem is resolved yet seeds are sown for a new challenge

Not all stories reflect this order or include every stage, but a surprising number do. Think about the story of your last interaction with a phone company or retelling the tale of a disrupted journey.

Story is integral to human experience but sadly, as children trudge through the school system, a wonder of fairy tales gives way to a routine of timetables and examinations. Something gets lost, something that is fundamental to learning and to our intuitive expectations of how knowledge organises itself. Story must therefore be nurtured throughout formal schooling and beyond. It must be exploited for all the learning opportunities it presents: Stories crystallise knowledge into memorable chunks; stories capture attention and interest; stories help us make creative connections between ideas; stories carry cultural heritage and stories allow us to imagine a better future.

There are many practical ways to infuse stories and storytelling into learning. Most basic is telling a story that relates to the lesson content. More complex is using the stages in a story motif to craft engaging lessons.

New Resources:

Story Memory Thinking

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Story Memory Thinking A Thinking Skills Tool that uses an ancient memory technique (Architectural Mnemonics) to help pupils improve their recall of key curriculum knowledge.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Memory Skills, Learning Styles, Any Subject, Secondary

Tags: Memory Active Learning Revision Story
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Story Memory Thinking Powerpoint

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Story Memory Thinking Powerpoint A Thinking Tool Template in Powerpoint, providing two examples of Story Memory Thinking together with slides you can edit for your own lessons.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Memory Skills, Learning Styles, Any Subject, Secondary

Tags: Memory Revision Story Template
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

History Think Sheet - Using Evidence

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History Think Sheet - Using Evidence A Think Sheet of Thinking Classroom ideas adapted specifically for teaching History, focussing on using evidence to reconstruct the likely features of past events. Includes a visual version of Story Memory Thinking.

Categories: Think Sheet, History, Junior, Secondary, Thinking Skills

Tags: Evidence Prediction Sequencing
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

The Man Who Thought Too Much

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The Man Who Thought Too Much A Story about a man whose words become solid and whose thoughts appear to everyone. Suitable for Key Stages 2-3 and including prompts to get pupils talking about what they say and how they think.

Categories: Story, Thinking Skills, RE & Philosophy, Junior

Tags: Memory P4C Metacognition Assemblies Story
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Teaching Tips:

Tips for Using 'Story'

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Tips for Using Story Teaching Tips for using the stages of a story to inspire lesson design and for building learning relationships by telling your own stories.

Categories: Teaching Tips, Planning, Educators, Any Subject

Tags: Story Learning Community Lesson Design Relationships
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Mike's Books:

Books to help you develop the use of stories in class:

Thinking Stories to Wake Up Your Mind
by Mike Fleetham

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Thinking Stories to Wake Up Your Mind <br>by Mike Fleetham A Book containing 27 original tales with follow-on currciulum-linked activities for Primary and Lower Secondary. Literacy infused with the full range of Thinking Skills inspired by Bloom's Taxonomy. Classroom tasks with photocopiable worksheets that will save you planning time and embed Thinking firmly into everyday lessons. 

Available in our shop

Find out more
Categories: Book & EBook, Thinking Skills, English, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Assemblies Bloom's Taxonomy Thinking Stories

Surprising Stories to Stimulate Creativity
by Mike Fleetham

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Surprising Stories to Stimulate Creativity<br> by Mike Fleetham The follow-on Book to Thinking Stories. 28 original tales with currciulum-linked activities for Primary and Lower Secondary. Literacy, Thinking Skills and Creativity are combined within engaging stories and tasks saving you planning time and ensuring rich curriculum coverage. Ideal for supporting a creative curriculum. Photocopiable worksheets included.  

Available in our shop

Find out more
Categories: Book & EBook, Creativity, English, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Assemblies Thinking Skills Creativity Creative Curriculum Thinking Stories

Additional Resources:

Thinking Classroom Archive:

The Trouble With Wishes

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The Trouble With Wishes Story taken from 'Surprising Stories to Stimulate Creativity' in which a girl accidentally kills a wish devil then discovers at first hand what the phrase 'Be careful what you wish for' really means. Includes curriculum-linked follow on activities.

This is a Free Sample Resource

Find out more or Download now:
Categories: Story, Creativity, RE & Philosophy, Junior, Secondary

Tags: Thinking Stories Thinking Skills Creative Curriculum Creativity Story


Books:

Stories for Thinking
by Robert Fisher

Stories for Thinking <br>by Robert Fisher Stories for the classroom with thinking skills questions.

Available from Amazon

Opens in a New Window
Categories: Suggested Books, Thinking Skills, English

Tags: Story

The Seven Basic Plots
by Christopher Booker

The Seven Basic Plots <br>by Christopher Booker A comprehensive, well-written and wide ranging study of the common heritage of all stories.

Available from Amazon

Opens in a New Window
Categories: Suggested Books, Language, English

Tags: Story


Websites:

Story Resources for the Classroom

Story Resources for the Classroom Clearly laid out and practically useful site for using stories in class.

www.storyarts.org

Opens in a New Window
Categories: Websites, Language, English

Tags: Story



Next month we think about... Problem Solving