Storytelling Residency: Stories on Board Preparation 3-30-08

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Stories on Board: Gingerbread Jam Board 3-30-08


I spent most of the day preparing for my residency at a New Orleans area school (I have been a teaching artist at this school for 8 years!). I am doing a two-week artist residency at an elementary school (PK-5) presenting “Stories on Board: Creating Board Games from Favorite Tales.” For grades PK-2, I will be telling stories and then the students will play board games I created based on my stories. For grades 3-5, students will be creating board games from folk and fairy tales that they will deconstruct, from which they will create a story map. Using the elements of the story, in groups, they will design and craft board games based on the stories they choose. The upper grades’ activities will culminate in a grade-wide “Game Day,” where they will exchange games with other classes and play each others’ games.

Because I am teaching such a wide age range, I had to come up with a way to make the board games work even for children who have not yet mastered reading fluency (PK-1). I decided to go with a nearly wordless board game that I invented called “The Gingerbread Jam,” based on my retelling of “The Gingerbread Man.” Here is a picture of my 7 year old daughter (in all light pink) and her cousins helping color the boards.

Stories on Board: Cam, Eliana & Jas coloring Gingerbread Jam board 3-30-08

The students will be divided into groups of 5-6. They will be instructed on how to play the game. “The Gingerbread Jam” tackles basic math concepts of adding and subtracting. Numbers do not go higher than “4.” This is done so that even my preschool students will be able to play the game with minimal supervision. Game pieces are fuzzy pom pom balls and the game uses either dice or spinners.

Here is a picture of Eliana (7 years old) and her cousins, (Camrynn [8)] Ashlynn [7], and Jasmynn [6]) playing the game. They had so much fun that they played it over and over.

Stories on Board: Girls playing Gingerbread Jam 3-30-08

The game is simple in concept but addresses many content standards in language arts and math. Besides, it also makes learning a blast!

I will be blogging about my residency every day so please come along and join the fun!

Warmly, Dianne