Making Curriculum Pop

This week I am working with my first grade ELL's developing their own story lines. We have already talked about a story having a beginning, middle, and end and about question words. This week, I combined these ideas into a lesson meant to prompt story development practice.  It went well, so I thought I would share.

First, we read Mr. Zinger's Hat by Cary Fagen. The book tells a story about a young boy, Leo, meeting an older gentleman, Mr. Zinger. Mr. Zinger's hat flies into the wind and Mr. Zinger wonders why. He looks into the hat and realizes that a story is trying to get out of the hat. Leo and Mr. Zinger work together to create the story. Later in the book, Leo does the same process with his baseball cap and another child.

The illustrations are great and the kids loved the book.

Next, we made our own hats to help us think about our own stories. I got some plain 11x17 paper and we folded it into a hat using basic instructions. We decorated our hats and, the kicker, glued question words with reminder pictures (who, what, why, where, how) inside to help us think of questions to ask ourselves and others when developing a story.

After making our hats, we used the hats to ask each other questions to prompt a group story. Then we worked in pairs to do the same. Finally, students worked independently with the hat to prompt their own story development. 

While not everyone is completely independent, I was impressed how far students have come in developing their own stories!

If you have any ides that would complement or extend this lesson, I would be happy to hear them!

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Joan - this is a great narrative game from MC POPPERS and authors Jess Able and Matt Madden - you will need to adapt it for elementary kids but I think you'll find it to be a really cool drawing based narrative extension...

Activity: panel lottery, an exercise in narrative juxtaposition and...

Ryan -

You're right, this is a great idea. Thanks for suggesting it!  I think it would tie in nicely with the questioning we have already done. And my students do love to draw.

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