Wednesday, June 8, 2016

End of the Year...

Another year has ended.  It always amazes me how quickly the time went.  I love the end of the school year for the obvious reasons, but I also love it because it is a time of renewal and growth for me.  I  have some personal goals ( which always include exercising more and losing weight!) and some professional goals.

This year, one of my professional goals is to learn to become a great storyteller.   My brother in law is a one of these people.  It's common knowledge that Mike can tell a great story, so what is it that makes it so great?  Here's what I think…

First of all, when I say a "story" I am really just talking about his everyday life.  He can make something mundane and ordinary sound hilarious and exciting.

He includes great details that make you think you were there.  When he describes something he uses his whole body to do it.  His voice changes to convey mood or thoughts.  He has different voices for characters.  He uses hand motions and facial expressions.  He includes his inner thoughts when he tells about an event.  He knows how to include the good stuff and leave out the boring stuff.  Or maybe it's that he makes the boring stuff sound like the good stuff.  Whatever it is, people are captivated by his retelling of events.

I see storytelling as the foundation for great writing.  Anything that is written was once spoken or at least thought about in words.  For my students, I know if they can't tell it, they can't write it.  This is why I want them to learn to TELL a great story first.

I usually start the year with some storytelling, but I feel that this is an area where improvement is needed.  I need to be a better model.  I need to use the gradual release of responsibility with storytelling.  I also need to give my students more opportunities to do it.

These are the questions I am asking myself:
Am I giving students enough time to talk and share thoughts and stories?
Am I modeling this process and including them in it?
Am I sustaining this practice throughout the year?

What are your thoughts and reflections about your year?  What goals do you have for the summer?

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