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TITLE: STORY STARTERS AUTHOR: Frances Vitali, Lake Valley School GRADE LEVEL/SUBJECT: Appropriate for all grade levels, Literature OVERVIEW: Children enjoy telling stories as much as they enjoy listening to them. Sometimes simple props such as masks, puppets and costumes take the attention away from the student so s/he can focus on the content and telling of the story. In using every day objects as props, students become more relaxed to let their story unfold naturally and creatively while others (the audience) enjoy the visual representations as well as the oral delivery. OBJECTIVE(s): Students will be able to: 1. Orally tell different kinds of stories using the assistance of props. 2. Be a performing storyteller as well as a receptive member of the audience. RESOURCES: Teacher = box, container, or paper bag Students = odds and ends to contribute for prop box ACTIVITIES AND PROCEDURES: 1. Explain that not all stories are written down. Ask students for examples of stories they know are not written in books (oral history, family stories, etc.). Optional - Tell the story, "KNOTS ON A COUNTING ROPE" by Bill Martin and John Archambault as an example of a family story. 2. Ask students to think of the many different and unusual ways you can tell a story (mime, poetry, theater, plays, dance, ballet, etc.). 3. Take an empty box and have each student contribute something small to put in the box - pencil, button, penny, string, bobby pin, tissue, etc. (anything they freely are willing to give up for a while or are willing to donate without wanting it back). 4. Suggest that just as an actor/actress on stage has props and scenery, you are going to tell a story using the objects in the box as the props and scenery for YOUR story. 5. Tell a short story using some (not all) of the objects from the box as you tell the story to the students. 6. Explain that all students will have a chance to tell a story using the props in the box. TYING IT ALL TOGETHER: Storytelling is a special activity that may be reserved for special times or for all times keeping in mind respect for the storyteller and the audience. A ritual of lighting a candle during storytelling time can be observed. Variations: students in the audience can illustrate stories being told stories may be told according to specific genre: Mystery, Horror, Comedy, Fiction, Biographical, Autobiographical, Science Fiction, etc. Story Improvisation - the telling of a story will include a given condition, setting, situation, or theme, etc. Story Relay - One student begins a story and another student can pick up the story where the previous student left off, followed by another student until the end of the story. Story telling is an effective means of communication. I heard a storyteller once say, 'When you read a book, the audience connects with the pictures in the book. When you tell a story, the audience connects with you.'