Stories on Board Residency: Day 2; April 1, 2008

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Letter from Eliana 4-1-08


Even if it is April’s Fools Day, how can your day start off wrong when you receive a note like this first thing in the morning?

“Dear Mommy, you are the best in the whole wide world! You are my angel! I love you so much! Have a great day! Love, Eliana”

So sweet! What a great way to begin my day…

Stories on Board Residency: 2nd graders playing Gingerbread Jam 4-1-08

It was a good day at school. This year’s crop of students have been delightful – well-behaved, participatory and very bright. The kindergarten through second graders love the refrain of my “Gingerbread Man” story:

“Run, baby, run as fast as you can
You can’t catch me ’cause I’m the… (clap, clap) Gingerbread Man!”

They also enjoy playing the game I created based on the story: “The Gingerbread Jam.” The game teaches or reinforces so many skills such as:

  • Cooperation and collaboration
  • Team building
  • Good sportsmanship
  • Basic math: number identification
  • Basic math: addition and subtraction
  • Familiarity with a popular folktale
  • Story structure
  • Sequencing
  • Critical thinking

In one of my first grade classes, I had a group of students who took it upon themselves to play the game until everyone won. It was astounding to witness that kind of attitude and to observe their teamwork skills. In the same class, the first grade teacher (Hi Sherry!) told me that another group of students, who had trouble all year working together, worked together so well during the Gingerbread Jam game. I love hearing those types of stories! It makes me feel like my work really has value and makes a difference!

Stories on Board Residency: Dianne teaching story mapping 4-1-08

My third through fifth graders worked on story mapping. Again, they analyzed the stories beautifully and contributed some wonderful vocabulary words such as “mischievous,” “devious,” and “persistent.”

Today was a somewhat somber day for many of the teachers and students. On Christmas Day last year, one of the third grade teachers, who had been at the school for many years, passed away suddenly. Today was her birthday so they had a memorial service for her and planted a tree in her honor to celebrate her life. She was one of my favorite teachers, always enthusiastic about my classroom visits. Because many of the teachers attended the memorial, parent volunteers watched many of the classrooms. During the memorial service, I was teaching fifth grade.

One of the students’ grandmothers was in the class with me. She asked to stay because she had heard I was a “fantastic storyteller.” The class chose “Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby” as their story, which I performed for them. We mapped the story and had a great debate about who was really the protagonist of the story – Brer Rabbit or Brer Fox? After I finished, the grandmother approached me and asked if she could attend my next class with the students because she was enthralled and fascinated with my work. What a great feeling!

Another fabulous day! I look forward to tomorrow… Until then, Happy Tales to You!

Warmly, Dianne