To date, 37 states and the District of Columbia have voluntarily adopted the Common Core State Standards. Many teachers of writing are nervous about the adoption of the Standards since there is a fear that students will mostly be writing non-narrative pieces. While this fear isn’t unfounded,we have to remember the Standards are a guide for what children need to know by the end of each grade level. They’re not a curriculum by any means since we (i.e., educators) must continue to create our own curricula using the standards as guide.
Myth: The Standards tell teachers what to teach.
Fact: The best understanding of what works in the classroom comes from the teachers who are in them. That’s why these standards will establish what students need to learn, but they will not dictate how teachers should teach. Instead, schools and teachers will decide how best to help students reach the standards.
(Retrieved from a document about the myths vs. the facts about the CCSSI on 10/31/10.)
Last Tuesday, I attended a workshop at KSRA led by Martha Hamilton and Mitch Weiss about storytelling. The Ithaca-based storytellers facilitated a dynamic session about the importance of storytelling in elementary school (and beyond). They helped participants understand the power behind teaching the art of storytelling. They also highlighted excerpts from their book Children Tell Stories: Teaching and Using Storytelling in the Classroom. In this day of teachers questioning how everything will meet standards and prepare kids for the test, Hamilton and Weiss provided a handout on the many ways storytelling helps to meet the standards. (Click here to view the handout entitled “Sampling of Storytelling Activities and a Few of the State Standards They Meet.”)
My notes from Hamilton and Weiss’s session follow below. I hope they’ll inspire you to incorporate the art of storytelling into your classroom’s culture.