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So far StoryMakers has created 24 blog entries.

StoryMaking…Yes, Stories but so much more!


StoryMaking…Yes, Stories but so much more! How a Makerspace can inspire different genres of storytelling and writing Sometimes the term StoryMaking can be a little misleading when you just read the word for the first time. Yes, it absolutely involves the child making and providing many opportunities for children to explore their imaginations and wonderings in a wide variety of Makerspaces. And yes, many times children narrate their play or make a story with the inspiring materials to share with others. But it is not just “stories” that are made. Many opportunities exist when we take time to plan the intent [...]

StoryMaking…Yes, Stories but so much more!2018-11-10T19:10:09-05:00

Fostering the Identities of the StoryMaker


Fostering the Identities of the StoryMaker Books to inspire the maker, storyteller, artist and writer   StoryMaking allows the child to use their creativity and materials to develop their identity as a maker, a storyteller, an artist and a writer! Using books is an effective way to inspire your child to grow in these areas and become a StoryMaker by leading them through the StoryMaker Cycle of imagine, play, make and share. Learning is taking place when we see children display the learning practices of the Makers’ Movement such as inquire, express intention, tinker, seek out resources, hack and repurpose, develop [...]

Fostering the Identities of the StoryMaker2018-09-09T22:34:37-04:00

An Inquiry into Illustrations and Art to Inspire Stories


Inspiring Stories Series Part 3 An Inquiry into Illustrations and Artwork to Inspire Stories  The children gathered around the teaching easel for their daily StoryMaking focus lesson, but today there was something new to view and study. The video screen was down and a piece of art was projected at the front of the room. Today, they were all going to study the artwork and illustrations in a book to help them imagine details in the stories they would go off and make. Michelle explained the process of how they were going to study and investigate the illustration. “First, we are [...]

An Inquiry into Illustrations and Art to Inspire Stories2018-08-19T20:56:51-04:00

Using Documentation and Each Other to Inspire Stories


­­Using Documentation and Each Other to Inspire Stories Photos, videos, artifacts of children’s work, hand scribbled notes of what children are thinking and doing. All are examples of documentation that can be used to help children imagine stories that they can go off and make with their choice of materials. Documentation is an effective way to make children’s thinking and learning visible. There are various definitions of documentation, but we lean towards Susan Stacey’s definition that documentation is, “the practice of making children’s and teachers’ thinking and learning visible through graphic displays of photography, work samples and text” (2015, ix). We [...]

Using Documentation and Each Other to Inspire Stories2018-08-13T17:03:29-04:00

Using Books and Spaces to Inspire Stories


Using Books and Spaces to Inspire Stories It was another Sunday afternoon that I gathered with a group of children at The Muse, a children’s museum and art makerspace in Knoxville, TN, to imagine stories. The children and I talked about how we can explore materials, books and exhibits to help us imagine things and stories to make. We were discovering how to think like a StoryMaker!    Setting the stage for imagining stories I read the book The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson. We lingered on the page where the girl’s paper dolls were introduced. “There were Ticky and Tacky [...]

Using Books and Spaces to Inspire Stories2018-08-06T11:56:06-04:00

StoryMaking with Performance Materials


StoryMaking with Performance Materials Performing and Making Stories at The Muse It was a rainy afternoon and I was gathering the children to the stage area at The Muse Knoxville for them to experience StoryMaking for the first time. My goal for our session this day was to play and make stories using performance materials. Many times, teachers in early learning classroom have centers in their rooms such as housekeeping or a kitchen area where children can interact with these materials and act out their imaginations. We have transformed these areas in some classrooms into performance makerspaces that allow children to [...]

StoryMaking with Performance Materials2018-07-23T00:23:47-04:00

StoryMaking Puppet Characters


StoryMaking Puppet Characters Puppets are often used and found in early learning classrooms, children’s museums, and libraries. We’ve seen children playing with puppets in multiple situations, but often we don’t think to capture the wonderful thinking and creativity happening with children as they play with puppets. We have a solution to this problem: StoryMaking! During StoryMaking we have the opportunity to add intention and learning to our students’ engagement with puppets. We have found that using puppets during StoryMaking: enables students to create stronger stories, increases children’s attention to character development, offers possibilities for adding details to character descriptions, and makes [...]

StoryMaking Puppet Characters2018-07-15T18:24:08-04:00

Stories in the Making


Stories in the Making The maker’s movement is in the news a lot right now, and it has found its way to the field of education. We are excited about that! Often, people read about the maker’s movement, they think it is inaccessible to them because there is often technology, coding, engineering apparatuses, etc. But we have figured out a way to incorporate the maker’s movement into our early learning classrooms, at our libraries, in our museums, and in our homes. It’s called StoryMaking and children can be StoryMakers anywhere and everywhere. StoryMaking offers a perfect introduction to the maker’s movement. [...]

Stories in the Making2018-07-03T16:53:13-04:00

Growing a StoryMaking Culture


Growing a StoryMaking Culture Stress-free Storytelling Tips for Making Collaborative Stories   Mraz and Hertz describe the best tip to planning a story and support by research is to plan it like a story mountain (2015). They provide a few steps in planning key points for successful and stress-free storytelling. Set the scene Name the challenge or problem Raise the tension through multiple attempts or worsening events Reach a resolution Mrs. Welch, PreK teacher, creates this anchor charts to help children imagine and plan the characters and setting prior to storytelling.     Imagine details to set the scene for your [...]

Growing a StoryMaking Culture2018-06-27T07:30:42-04:00

StoryMaking Culture and Picture Books


Picture Books Foster a Creative StoryMaking Culture “The maker movement consists of a growing culture of hands-on making, creating, designing, and innovating. A hallmark of the maker movement is its do-it-yourself (or do-it-with-others) mindset that brings together individuals around a range of short, making nearly anything. Despite its diversity, the movement is unified by a shared commitment to open exploration, intrinsic interest, and creative ideas.” (Peppler and Bender, 2013, p. 23)   Research points to the learning possibilities within an environment set up as a makerspace or “community of practice” (Peppler, Halverson, and Kafai 2016, p. 5 volume 2). Developing [...]

StoryMaking Culture and Picture Books2018-06-24T19:52:24-04:00

StoryMaking with Collage


StoryMaking with Collage   We love collage! It is the perfect art form to inspire children during StoryMaking. It’s also easy to change, rearrange, and add new materials to keep children interested and engaged. Collage materials can include a multitude of loose parts, nature-inspired materials, recycled supplies, found items, and stuff you may already have at home or in your classroom. Some collage materials that are accessible and inexpensive might include acorns, shells, buttons, popsicle sticks, rocks, beads, paper clips, bottle caps, wood scraps, twigs, sticks, branches, bark, pine needles, pine cones, leaves, coins, dried beans, yarn, glass gems, marbles, rickrack, [...]

StoryMaking with Collage2018-06-17T21:59:30-04:00

A Caregiver’s Guide to StoryMaking


A Caregiver’s Guide to StoryMaking Anyone can support a child in the StoryMaking process as they imagine, play, make and share their stories. To make your making time as successful as possible, we wanted to provide a few tips on how to encourage your child whether it be at home, in your classroom or even on a trip to a children’s museum this summer! The StoryMaker Cycle   Provide time to explore. Observe the child playing and do not interrupt the flow of their imagination. Children need ample time to explore the materials, especially if they are new, before they make [...]

A Caregiver’s Guide to StoryMaking2018-06-11T00:12:24-04:00

Imagining Stories with Blocks


Imagining Stories with Blocks Hard blocks. Soft blocks. Nature blocks. Cardboard blocks. Window blocks. The possibilities and options are endless! Even though there are many different kinds of blocks you can include in your block makerspace the one thing that is certain is that blocks are a powerful tool for children to use when playing and making their own stories. Several years ago, we had the great privilege of hosting Dr. Walter Drew, creator of Dr. Drew’s blocks, to our school district to train our PreK teachers on the benefits of block play. Our teachers engaged in collaborative and independent play [...]

Imagining Stories with Blocks2018-06-04T00:27:31-04:00

Focus Lessons: Fostering the Imaginations of our StoryMakers


Focus Lessons: Fostering the Imaginations of our StoryMakers Setting the stage for the engagement of students’ and teachers’ imaginations is foremost in our minds as we begin our StoryMaking journey. Our students have benefitted from invitations to use their imaginations during focus lessons that address a need and inspire wonder during StoryMaking. The focus lesson for StoryMaking is a time where the educator provides direct or inquiry instruction to address strategies about either story or materials. The direct instruction style focus lesson allows the educator to demonstrate and show children how to incorporate the particular skill or strategy into their own [...]

Focus Lessons: Fostering the Imaginations of our StoryMakers2018-05-20T22:29:57-04:00

Creating Story Makerspaces


Makerspaces: How can I create a space for children to make stories? Have you ever considered creating a makerspace in your classroom, library, museum or home? If so, we would like to inspire you with a few construction maker space examples and simple tips to help you get started. These spaces will provide children with an opportunity to explore and tinker with materials. And when given time for children to explore, stories begin to emerge! To begin planning your StoryMaker space, we recommend following the “Golden Circle” Model created by Simon Sinek. This is a simple, but powerful model for how [...]

Creating Story Makerspaces2018-05-13T07:35:58-04:00

What is StoryMaking?


Take a minute to imagine this scene in your mind. Different areas scattered around the room with inspiring materials. In one corner, brightly covered felt squares, wood pieces, gems, moss and other nature inspired loose parts are displayed on one table. Children explore each material and then choose objects that make a setting or character from their mind. Children explore loose parts to begin imagining a story Soft blocks, hard blocks, Legos, and colored blocks on a light table are just some of the materials offered in the construction area. Children begin to experiment with creating towers, houses, and other structures. [...]

What is StoryMaking?2018-05-09T19:14:00-04:00