“One Halloween night there lived a vampire who had sharp fangs for can opening…”
That was how one of my students began his narrative story about Halloween.
An interactive game helped inspire elementary school students to write narrative stories about Halloween. The students used a series of dice to help them tell stories that had a beginning, middle, and end. One of the tools used for the exercise are Rory’s Story Cubes, a storytelling game that uses dice and pictures to spark one’s imagination and encourage creativity.
A group of ten students on IEPs were tasked to write narratives that have a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events with details, one of the Common Core Content Standards for the primary grades.
Since I first started working to promote media literacy, I have been passionate about using storytelling and interactive games as a teaching tool to inspire and motivate my students.
This Halloween story is part of my ongoing research to prove that creativity and storytelling play an important role in the classroom and learning environment.
Nearly every student demonstrated much progress and growth. A rubric with the following criteria was used to assess the students’ level of understanding: minimal understanding, partial understanding, adequate understanding, and thorough understanding.
Seventy percent of the students demonstrated that they now have adequate understanding or better. In addition to their improved ability to communicate their thoughts and ideas, they have shown an increased level of motivation and have expressed excitement about their stories.
While, the students were still not yet at grade level, their progress and work demonstrated knowledge and understanding of some of their basic grade level Common Core Standards such as the ability to write a narrative about an imaginary event using details and event sequences.
This particular activity demonstrated that the use of creativity and storytelling helps motivate students and improves their ability to communicate their thoughts as they are given them an opportunity to learn by doing something they can make connections to.
When I first met the student quoted earlier, he demonstrated only a partial understanding of the learning goals established by the Common Core Standards. In addition, he exhibited autistic behavior and was classified as an English Language Learner. He was very passionate about video games and loved to share the stories that he learns from them. I encouraged him to share those stories and to create his own.
Utilizing his passion for video games was an effective way to motivate him and get him to communicate through writing.