Today was my first day presenting my “Stories on Board: Creating Board Games From Favorite Tales” residency at a New Orleans area school. This is my 8th year at this school; they have a very special place in my heart. In fact, my first book, Story Fest, is dedicated to this school.
I began the day laminating my “Gingerbread Jam” game boards, and making copies of stories and worksheets for the upper grades.
It was a great day. The students in all my classes were fantastic. In grades K-2, I told the story of “The Gingerbread Man,” which has a super catchy rhythmic chorus that is sung throughout the story. Although the students knew the story already, they really “jammed” to my version of “The Gingerbread Man.” Following the story, I instructed the students on how to play my game, “The Gingerbread Jam.” Using dice and fuzzy pom pom balls as game pieces, the students were divided into groups of five or six to play the game. The game tackles the basic math skills of addition and subtraction. The students loved the game. Here is a picture of first grade students playing “The Gingerbread Jam.”
With the upper grades (3-5), I told them a story (each class is assigned its own story) and then we story-mapped the tale using a “Stories on Board Story Map” that I developed specifically for this lesson. The students learned new vocabulary: protagonist, antagonist, supporting characters, adversary, motivation, peril, triumph, and aid. One of the third grade teachers (Hi Betty! And thank you!!) liked my Story Map so much that she took a copy for herself and asked if she could use it with future classes! She told me that my lesson was great; it was just what they were tackling in language arts. That makes me so happy! Here is a picture of me story mapping with today’s third grade class.
Though I worried that the story mapping might be too complex and perhaps a bit “boring” for the students, I was pleasantly surprised at how attentive and interested they were in the lesson. The students’ contributions to the discussions were incredibly astute and impressive. And we haven’t reached the “fun” part yet – creating the board games – that’s next week… In a fourth grade class, I told my version of “The Three Billy Goats Gruff.” One of my fifth grade students said he and his group were going to create the game “Goat-opoly.” So clever!
Here are some of my third grade students working on their story maps.
I am really looking forward to the rest of my classes this week. I am also looking forward to seeing the students’ games next week. It’s so much fun working with these students. Since I have been doing an teaching artist residency at this school for so long, many of these students have “grown up” with me. They recognize me every year and wave, hug, and high five me in the halls. What a great feeling!
Until next time, heres’ to fun and games!