How-to Guide

Creating a story in a classroom context: how-to guide

by Miranda (Maria-Alexandra) Koumanakou

June 2014

How do we prepare our students to create content for the story within a classroom context? The more preparation, the easier it is. We begin by focusing on the story instead of the technology. 

For three months before we even started our eTwinning project Miranda enjoyed making stories with the Greek students in the Drama Class using the following story starters: 

Story Spinner Set

Story Cubes

There are also two very interesting apps for iPad and a relevant site, provided that our classroom is equipped with either an iPad or a PC and Wi-Fi network:

Story Dice

Story Wheel

http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/story-starters/

Then we focused on the different parts of a story, that is the plot, the characters, the settings, a problem and a resolution. We practiced in recognizing in groups these differents parts of well-known fairytales and filling the following hand-outs in Greek:

Story Map

Story Puzzle

The following story mountain in Greek helped the 7-years-old students to grasp the Story Arc. The setup scene introduces the character and the setting. In the next scene a problem is created for the main character. The problem gets even worse till the climax, when the main character solves it. The resolution shows that the problem has been settled. 

Story Mountain 2

We underlined the wish and the aim of the main character, which causes the tension in the story, leads to the main character’s transformation and ends up to the story’s resolution. Here is a representative image of this story core by the expert in digital storytelling, Jason Ohler

storyCoreWithPics

Finally, we played with the magic pack of cards based on Gianni Rodari’s version of Propp’s fairytales functions. It is created in Greece. We experimented mainly with ten functions out of the twenty-one cards based on a few practical ideas that were introduced in this excellent article.

μαγική τράπουλα 2

Photo by S. Veldemiri and K. Stoforos

τράπουλα παραμυθιών

Photo by S. Veldemiri and K. Stoforos

Here are the final oral drafts we created with the above Story Map, Story Mountain and Story Arc forms with the Greek B1 and B2 Classes in the Drama Class for our eTwinning project 

B1 CLASS

B1 final oral draft 

B1 final oral draft created with Popplet in Drama Class

B1 final oral draft created with Popplet in Drama Class

We then divided our story in the following scenes in the Drama Class BEFORE illustrating it in the Arts Class:

1. A spaceship leaves the Moon travelling towards the Earth.

2. 7 seeds (found by the astronaut on the Moon) are falling from the spacecraft on the earth, in a forest, next to a farm with a stable.

3. The 7 moon-seeds pop: the plants are growing gradually until they become 7 apple trees.

4. These apple trees grow into magic trees. You turn into what you wish as soon as you eat their fruits.

5. In the meantime, a few horses in the nearby stable are laughing at a horse with spots in his mane.

6. The horse cannot stand their laughing and gallops towards the nearby forest.

7. While the horse is wandering alone in the forest, he is wandering why the horses in the stable are so unjust.

“Why do they blame my mane?”

“I wish I was with them in the stable. I wish we were all friends”.

“Why am I so different? I wish I was admired by all of them!”

8. The horse finds the 7 apple trees. He is very hungry and eats a few apples, without knowing that they are magical.

9. As soon as he eats the magic apples, his mane becomes silver! He can’t believe it!

10. He returns to the stable and his desire becomes real: they all recognize him, respect him and admire him from now on!

Here is the final transcript of our story after the CHANGES during the process of writing it down in the Language Class and recording it in the Drama Class:

The unusual horse and 7 apple trees

1. Once upon a time … a spaceship left the Moon travelling towards the Earth.

2. While the spaceship was approaching the Earth, the astronaut scattered eight moon-seeds, which fell into a forest. There was a farm with a stable next to this forest.

3. The moon-seeds sprouted: the plants were growing gradually into apple trees.

– How beautiful we are!

– Will anyone notice that we are different from the rest of the trees?

– When will our branches fill with apples?

Time passed. The apple trees grew and their branches were filled with bright red apples.

4. But be aware that these beautiful apple trees were not usual: they were magical indeed! Each night something strange happened. The apple trees took various forms and entered into giant boots. They shook as if they were swirling windmills! If someone ate or touched the apples, his desire could be gratified at once!

5. In the meantime in the nearby stable, all horses were sleeping, except for a sad one. This horse didn’t look like the others. His mane had black spots and the rest of the horses had been laughing at him:

– What’s wrong with you?

– Wow! What a funny mane!

– Look what an unusual mane he has!

– You do not deserve to live with our horse family. Go away!

6. The unusual horse stayed up until dawn outside of the stable, away from the rest of the horses.

“They’ve been so unfair to me”, he thought.

-I wish I was with them in the stable. I wish we were all friends.

-But why do they make fun of my mane? Why do I look so different from them?

-I wish they loved me as much as I love them!

7. The strange horse left the stable and galloped towards the forest, because he couldn’t stand being bullied for his mane.

“What strange forest trees”, he thought.

-Let’s get lost into the woods!

8. He spent many hours wandering alone into the woods, until he felt so hungry that he started searching for food. It was then that he noticed the eight magic apple trees loaded with bright red apples!

9. He began to eat them greedily.

10. As he ate, he suddenly saw the magic apple trees changing styles, shapes and colors. They even started dancing following the whistling wind. The horse felt all this magic around him and his body started moving and changing. Then he felt his mane shining and getting a beautiful silver color! He was thrilled!

11. Without a second thought he galloped towards the stable. The rest of the horses did not recognize him at first. But after he explained what had happened, they all welcomed him with joy, admiring his silver mane. They promised that they would never make fun of anyone else. They had already regrets about their mean behavior. They even realized that we are all beautiful, no matter our shape, since we let our soul shine! All the horses in the stable lived happily ever after. All’s well that ends well.

 B2 CLASS

B2 final oral draft 

B2 final oral draft created with Popplet in Drama Class

B2 final oral draft created with Popplet in Drama Class

We divided our story in the following scenes in the Drama Class BEFORE illustrating it in the Arts Class:

1. Once upon a time in the “country of Always Alone”…

2. there is only one human being, a child called “Always Alone.”

3. One day he finds a suitcase in the middle of nowhere.

4. He tries to open it. He insists. He finally opens it after countless attempts with the right combination of shapes.

5. The suitcase carries a delicious fruit, a fluffy jacket and a swirl of colors. It releases a magic music and exudes a heady smell.

6. While he delves into the entire contents of the suitcase, he was eventually hypnotized with all his five senses.

7. During hypnosis he sees an incredible dream. He is dreaming that there are other kids like him! Glad to meet them and to understand each other without words, they play all together and they cuddle up…

8. At this point of the dream, he wakes up happy and… he is embraced by the children’s of his dream in reality!

9. He is no longer alone. His dream magically became true.

10. From now on his country “Always Alone” is flooded by countless children and it is therefore renamed. It is called “Forever All Together”.

Here is the final transcript of our story after the CHANGES during the process of writing it down in the Language Class and recording it in the Drama Class:

Mr. Always Alone

1. Once upon a time there was a small house in the wilderness. There was a young child called “Always Alone” living there. His place was always rainy and cloudy. It was named after him.

 2. Why am I always alone without any friends?”, he was constantly wondering.

-Where could I possibly find more children to play with? I cannot stand being alone anymore.

That’s why he decided to launch a journey to find more kids.

3. -Oh… a suitcase on my way. How does it open?

He tries to open it. He insists. He finally opens it after countless attempts with the right combination of shapes.

 4. -At last! I finally did manage to open it. Let’s have a look in the suitcase.

 5. -Oh…a delicious fruit, a fluffy jacket…

 6. -…and a swirl of colors!?

While he delves into the entire contents of the suitcase, it releases a magic music and exudes a heady smell!

 7. Mr. “Always Alone” is getting hypnotized with all his five senses by these magic contents of the suitcase.

 8. During hypnosis he sees an incredible dream!

-At last…more kids like me! Let’s play together.

He is dreaming of what he has been looking for in reality: he is dreaming of finding some friends.

 9. While he is dreaming, he is glad to get to know them and to understand each other without words. They play all together and they hug each other during their games.

 10. At this point, kids’ voices are calling him:

-Wake up! Come on! Let’s go to the playground!

– Wake up! Let’s play football!

– Wake up! Let’s pick up flowers!

– Wake up! Let’s feed the animals!

– Wake up! Let’s water the plants!

These calls and loud voices wake him up. “Always Alone” is very happy, because the kids he was just dreaming about are now embracing him in flesh and blood! He is no longer alone in the wilderness!

 11. “I can’t believe it! My dream magically comes true!” he says surprised, while he looks around and he notes that his place got flooded with countless children for the first time in his life. 

-Oh…what happened to my voice? It doesn’t sound so different anymore. It sounds like the voices of…

 12. -…my new friends.

Since then, his place was renamed. Instead of “Always Alone”, it’s called “All Together Forever”. And they all lived happily ever after.

 The comparison between the above three versions of each Greek story leads to the following three conclusions:

1. We chose to add a couple more students’ pictures in the final video editing of our digital stories in order to balance the narration with its visualization. 

2. While writing down the actual script, the students were influenced by our final choice of their pictures for the story’s illustration and they added new parts to their initial story.

3. While recording, many improvised dialogues were added to our initial story. Collaboration in small groups of 3-5 students led to really imaginative, creative and fun improvisations.

Άδεια Creative CommonsΤο έργο με τίτλο Creating a story in a classroom context: how-to guide από τη δημιουργό Μαρία Αλεξάνδρα Κουμανάκου διατίθεται με την άδεια Creative Commons Αναφορά Δημιουργού – Μη Εμπορική Χρήση – Παρόμοια Διανομή 4.0 Διεθνές .

eTwinning_logo

medea-awards-2014_PRIZE WINNER

Site Map, Content and Administration by M. Koumanakou