The Storytelling School
Handbook for Teachers - 2nd Edition
Chris Smith, Ph.D. & Adam Guillain
Foreword by Pie Corbett
A step-by-step guide to becoming a storytelling school and using storytelling to teach your students
Storytelling Schools Series
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This handbook describes a revolutionary way of delivering primary education. In a storytelling school all children learn to be storytellers, retelling and improving stories from memory as a way of learning both language and subject content across the curriculum. Children graduate with a repertoire of their own stories to tell. This approach has been shown to raise standards and fire imaginations in schools throughout the UK.
Chris Smith and Adam Guillain show you how to make this happen in practice. The handbook draws on more than ten years experience researching and developing this way of teaching. Piloted, researched and up-dated, this second edition includes new chapters on non-fiction teaching and cross-curricular integration across the school. It is packed with practical activities, examples, theory, charts, diagrams and photocopiable pages. It explains step-by-step how to become a storytelling school including how to:
- Tell stories to your class
- Develop and innovate on a learned story
- Invent new stories
- Link storytelling to improving writing standards
- Apply the method to non-fiction teaching
- Plan across the curriculum using the Storytelling School approach
The Storytelling Schools approach has had a transforming effect on our approach to literacy and the teaching of writing. In a relatively short time the impact on writing outcomes, pupil motivation and teacher expertise has been profound – it’s an approach that every school leader will want to know more about.
- David Lewin, Head Teacher, Wood Farm Primary School, Oxford
Storytelling, taken as seriously as this, delights pupils and teachers alike and provides a foundation for the most remarkable growth in pupil confidence and competence in writing. All the evidence I have seen is that it also extends the skills of teachers.
- Sir Tim Brighouse, former Schools Commissioner for London
147 Traditional Stories for Primary School Children to Retell
Storytelling Schools Series, Volume II
Chris Smith, Ph.D.
Inside spiral bound
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In England, a group of innovative educators created the idea of Storytelling Schools, primary schools where storytelling is the key way that children learn. By which is not meant only learning to listen to stories, but to actually learn the stories by heart, learn to retell them, learn how to adapt and change them, and finally learn to reassemble different elements from different stories as an entirely new story.
In the course of all this, these children find sure footing in language skills, organizing their thoughts, clear communication, and develop not only the self confidence that comes from really truly learning something, but they also learn the foundations of learning and thinking themselves.
Over a period of ten years, Storytelling Schools throughout Great Britain have become a revolutionary way of delivering primary education. In a storytelling school retelling and improving stories from memory is a way of learning both language and subject content across the curriculum. Children graduate with a repertoire of their own stories to tell. This approach has been shown to raise standards and fire imaginations in schools throughout the UK, and it can do the same for any children you teach.
147 Traditional Stories for Primary School Children to Retell was written and compiled as a comprehensive reference for teachers in search of stories to teach their class. The stories range from very simple tales for first graders all the way to long, complex stories for students in Grade 6. Altogether, the collection is rich and masterful.
Included here is an introduction that gives concise and meaningful guidance for using these stories to teach students the art of storytelling. Additionally, the Introduction is simply inspiring: any teacher reading it will find him- or herself energized and empowered to carry out this approach to education itself.
Personally, I think that this method is a 'next step' that would enhance and focus Waldorf education for the modern world. I can't think of a better addition to Steiner's curriculum than incorporating this active element into it. When children are taught to do what the see and admire adults doing, they are drawn away from media-centric, advertising-ridden elements in our culture and toward wholesome creativity and confidence-of-place in the world. In short, children become too interested and too busy with the joy of what they learn to feel much like bothering with something less. The invention of Storytelling Schools was an act of educational brilliance - I only hope that they and their impulse continue to thrive and that teachers everywhere in in every sort of school incorporate this method into their classes.
Recommended without reservation and with much hope!
and All the Letters A to Z
Poems by Howard Schrager
Illustrations by Bruce Bischof
Hardbound, large format
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LMNOP is a beautiful book which should be both an inspiration and an enormous help to everyone who has heard about the Waldorf approach to teaching the alphabet but has never witnessed it. It will also be inspiring to every teacher who has taught children with this approach but has not had a chance to observe many other teachers at work.
In addition to an very valuable introductory essay which makes clear many things about this creative approach (and offers suggestions for variation and direction), each letter of the alphabet is presented with a full page drawing of luminous color and its own very special poem.
The thought of even more children joyfully commencing their journey into the written word in this way is a very warming one - it's a great pleasure to be able to offer this book!
Working with LMNOP (and All the Letters)
An A to Z Manual for Parents and Teachers
Stories & Activities in Poetry, Music, Movement, Speech, Drama, & Drawing
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I am so excited to be able to share this book with you! Years ago, when Howard Schrager first published LMNOP, we spoke and wrote at length about the beauty of LMNOP, its value for children, and the need to make more people aware of just how to use the pictures and poems to teach. Howard took up the challenge and has produced what is nothing less than one of the best curriculum guides I've ever seen: Working with LMNOP (and All the Letters)
In it, you will find the most creative, energetic, enthusiastic, wise and do-able lesson plan suggestions for each and every letter! the author suggests a story for each letter that relates to the images in LMNOP; he goes on to suggest a delightful list of activities that build a variety of skills; and then explains how to draw a main lesson book figure for each letter, one that captures the heart of the picture in LMNOP but keeps it simple enough for a child to follow successfully.
As a manual for LMNOP, Working with LMNOP is exactly what any parent or teacher would want; as an example of what lessons in a Waldorf school can really be all about, it is sheer brilliance. This book is so good and so useful that in itself it is a seed for the future, well beyond just teaching the alphabet and reading. Thank you, Howard Schrager!
Recommended without reserve!
A Knife and a Fork and Bottle and Cork . . .
That's How You Spell New York
Illustrated by Sarah Madsen
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Howard Schrager, author of LMNOP, brings us another delight for classroom, home, travel, or just about anywhere you find yourself with a little time and a wish for something fun to do with someone else.
A Knife and a Fork . . . is a collection of riddle rhymes each of which leads to the spelling of the name of a US state. They can become a delightful part of geography lessons, sparking infectious laughter as they stimulate creative thinking and correct spelling.
In these original riddle rhymes, Schrager often goes in several directions at once, leading and misleading all at the same time. For instance, in the title rhyme, the first three clues all point to the shapes of letters (N, K and Y), but the final clue is a hint of the spelling of the word itself (. . . ork). Altogether, it adds up to New York, but the mental journey to getting there just woke everyone up and created an adventure that will make not only the spelling of the word unforgettable, but will bring a smile everytime you hear it, too.
Howard will be coming out with more riddle rhyme books in the near future. For now, we welcome you and your students and children and grandparents and friends to a new world of word games that will have you all laughing and spelling away. Very highly recommended.
The Wise Enchanter
A Journey through the Alphabet
Illustrated by Krystyna Emilia Kurzyca
$15.00Add a review
I can't begin to describe how much I love this story and the fact that Shelley Davidow has so much insight and such an understanding of children that she created it. The Wise Enchanter actually makes me wish that I could go back to the time before I learned to read and enter the magic world of words through this rich and wonderful door. I especially love that the story is so very like the worlds I created for myself in those pre-written-word days, yet carries with it the assurance that there are depths of goodness in the world and that searching for them is a worthy, yea, necessary thing to do. What could be a better way to introduce our written language to a child? This book is a beautiful creation and a gift to treasure.
Here's a small sample, from the Prologue:
[The Wise Enchanter is on his magical island, and is troubled. He has called his daughter, Gadrun, to him.]
Gadrun ran to her father. A frown creased her brow. "Dear father," she said, "I see that you are worried."
"I am getting old," he replied. "Without Wisdom, there can be no new Enchanters after I am gone. No children have come to my island for many years. It is happening just as I feared. Wisdom is fading in the world. Words are disappearing. The brightness in the sky is vanishing and the dark Cloud of Ignorance has grown suddenly dense. A new darkness is looming. Someone is being created in the deep. He is growing stronger every minute. If he is not stopped, he will grow immense. If he grows strong enough, he will rise up and devour every word and sound. The earth will become a cold, silent place, too terrible to imagine."
"Who are you talking about?" Gadrun whispered.
"I do not like to utter his name," her father whispered. "But I will say it for you. His name is the Master of Ignorance and Shadows. His name is Urckl!"
Gadrun grew pale and silent at the mention of Urckl. Once, some time ago, Urckl had found enough strength to send one of his messengers to the end of the world. Something terrible had happened then in the Enchanted Islands and Gadrun's heart had been broken.
And thus, the adventure begins.
I should add that The Wise Enchanter is filled with soft black-and-white drawings that you can easily transform into main lesson drawings for the child(ren) you are teaching to recreate as each letter is rescued from darkness.
This is a wonderful, vibrant, masterful book -- may your journey through it be rich and rewarding!
An English Grammar
The Language before Babel
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This is an incredibly fascinating, lively, original, and in many ways, the most memorable English grammar I've ever seen. It is also perhaps the best example of the sheer usefulness of employing Rudolf Steiner's method of understanding things by approaching them as threefold, fourfold, sevenfold, etc. entities. When Schmid applies this to conventional English grammar, the structure of the language springs to life and, because it is placed into relationship with other aspects of human experience, it becomes much easier to grasp and remember and use correctly. Anyone teaching grammar to any class, whether in a school or at home, will find that using this approach opens vistas of understanding - for teacher as well as students. Very highly recommended!
An English Manual
Compiled from Lessons in the Elementary School
$14.00Add a review
A classic guide to teaching English language arts in the elementary grades. Contains a master teacher's suggestions for presenting English grammar, punctuation, and composition for grades 2-8. Includes sample lessons.
The Power of Grammar
A Phenomenological Approach
Compiled and largely presented by Anne Greer
Proceedings of a Colloquium of Waldorf Teachers
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This is an energetic and exciting compendium of questions, answers, practical approaches and deeper understand - in short, it is everything anyone who is in love with language and wishes to teach it well could wish for.
Between two modest covers you'll find both food for thought and examples to be emulated. This was truly a colloquium where minds met and understand and purpose developed. Anyone engaged in teaching English grammar will find many years of resources in The Power of Grammar, whether that teaching is in a classroom or a home. The Power of Grammar is a powerhouse in and of itself.
Very highly recommended.
The human foundations of speaking, writing and reading
$27.00Add a review
Michael Rose makes the case that the very life and nature of language are breaking down under the pressures of modern society. I couldn't agree with him more -- I hope many people will read his book and be inspired in a thousand ways to make changes to reverse the slippery slope of this trend.
In Living Literacy, he attributes these threats to inappropriate electronic media and to fundamental flaws in modern educational systems, while examining what really works in teaching and preparing for literacy.
Living Literacy investigates the nature of literacy and how it relates to child development. It explores how teachers and parents can prepare for the transition to literacy through conversation, story, song, and play, followed by relevant and living ways to introduce reading and writing formally.
- Part 1 Seeing the Picture
- The Great Divide
- What is Literacy?
- Literacy in the World Today
- The Emergence of the Alphabet
- Lessons of Development
- Part 2 Making the difference
- Tuning to the Mother Tongue
- Animating the Word
- First Writing and Reading
- Developing Literacy as Faculty
- Further Suggestions for Practice
- Literacy and Learning Differences
- Part 3 Closing the Book
- The Three Persons of Literacy
- Harvesting the Word
- The Future
The Art and Science of Teaching Composition
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This small but insightful book explores rich and stimulating methods for the teaching of English composition skills in Waldorf elementary schools. It offers writing exercises and examples. Compact, it is filled with wisdom all teachers will want to apply.
The Spirit of the English Language
A Practical Guide for Poets, Teachers and Students
John H. Wulsin, Jr
$35.00Add a review
Here is a fascinating journey through the English language and its literature, born of John Wulsin's lifelong interest “how sound works in English and American poetry.” Wulsin traces the many changes, both subtle and radical, in how English has sounded over the past thirteen centuries, while also showing how those changes are related to the evolution of human consciousness in Western, English-speaking peoples.
The Spirit of the English Language is never dry but filled with the textures of the lives and works of the great English-language poets. Wulsin describes the evolving activity of poetry in the biography of each poet, beginning with the Old Anglo–Saxon in Beowulf and the later works of Chaucer, and following the spirit of the English language through to the nineteenth century’s “primal/modern” language of Gerard Manley Hopkins and Dickinson’s diamond-distilled language. Along the way, we discover how the very sounds of English have changed the ways in which not only poets think and express themselves, but, more important, how sound works and changes our human consciousness. The author also discusses specifically how, in teaching poetics, stages of the developing English language quicken corresponding stages of thinking in maturing adolescents.
Twelve years in the making, The Spirit of the English Language is the fruit of John Wulsin’s thirty years of teaching language and literature to adolescents. The book is further informed and fructified by the author’s fifteen years of teaching poetics to adults, as well as decades of writing poetry and participating in numerous poetry workshops.
This practical guide will become a classic for all poets, teachers of poetry and language, and students. It is a beautiful resource for anyone interested in English, its development, its effects on consciousness, and how sound works in poetry.
- Part I
- A Language Is Born
- Old Anglo-Saxon
- Evolving Language in Evolving Adolescents: Ninth and Tenth Grades
- The Norman Conquest
- Chaucer’s Middle English
- The Language Wakes up, Renewed
- Elizabethan English: Shakespeare
- Expansion and Contraction: King James Bible
- Part II
- Lyric Activity in Metaphysical Poetry: John Donne
- The English Epic: Milton
- The Eighteenth Century and Blake
- Elizabeth Barrett Browning
- Robert Browning
- Gerard Manley Hopkins
- Eleventh Grade(Ages 16–17)
- Part III
- Alteration of the Early American Mind
- Poetry in American Prose: The Novel
- Emily Dickinson
- Twelfth Grade(Ages 17–18)
- Contemporary American Speech
- Speech and Drama in High School
For the Love of Literature
A Celebration of Language and Imagination
Christy MacKaye Barnes
$19.95Add a review
These authors give us all an antidote to the decline in cultural literacy and general "dumbing down" that has been noted in all education: namely, they help us to remember how very much we love literature and everything about it.
This is a book that can help parents and teachers pass along a love of literature to the students they teach -- and in so doing, it can help uplift the world we live in.
- Christy MacKaye Barnes, nine essays, including: “Can the Imagination Be Trained?” “The Crisis of the Word Today” “Why Write?” “Schooling Capacities through the Study of Great Authors” “Backgrounds for Russian Literature”
- Adam Bittleston, “The Future of the English Language”
- L. Francis Edmunds, “Literature in the Upper School”
- Linda Sawers, “In the Footsteps of Dante”
- Isabelle Wyatt, “Chaucer and the Modern Consciousness”
- A. C. Harwood, “Fair Mountain and Fine City”
- Adam Bittleston, “Shakespeare’s Troubled Kings”
- Ursula Grahl, “In Quest of the Holy Grail”
- L. Francis Edmunds, “The Trials of Parsifal”
- Hugh Hetherington, “Grail Mountain and Garden of Marvels”
- Eileen Hutchins, “Wolfram and Wagner”
- Adam Bittleston, “Christopher Fry and the Riddle of Evil”
- Susan Demanett, “Questing toward a True Understanding of Grammar”
- Dorit Winter, “We Love Grammar”
The Language of English Literature
How English Sounds
$14.00Add a review
In Part 1, Wulsin explores the language of poetry in English as it developed from 800 AD thru the 1800's AD. His key question is "What do changes in the language reflect or suggest about changing consciousness in English-speaking peoples?"
In Part 2, he reflects on the relationship between the evolving stages of the English language and the developmental stages of adolescents. How might the evolution of English poetry both reflect, and especially affect, the development of a teenager? How can the Spirit of the English language best help adolescents in their development in the context of a Waldorf education?
Laws of the Living Language
John Wulson, Jr.
$7.00Add a review
Waldorf high school English teacher John Wulsin examines some common contemporary errors of speech, the significance of the correct forms, and what parents and teachers can do to help students regain their footing in the spoken word.
The Australian Word
A Resource Manual for Teachers of English and Anyone Who Loves Language, Its Body, Soul and Spirit
$24.95Add a review
Don't let the title fool you! This is not a manual peppered with "g'day mate" and other aspects of language unique to Australia. Save that many of the stories take place in Australia, The Australian Word could as easily be titled The Universal English Language. It is an excellent guide to teaching the wonders of the English language in story and rhyme. Included are: speech, humor, the novel, names, mime, poetry, Aussie slang (ok, so there is a chapter that covers "g'day mate"), St. John, a story workshop, the short story, 19th Century Australian poetry, sound and hearing.
Splinters of the Sun
Teaching Russian Literature to High School Students
$18.00Add a review
Betty Staley passionately loves Russian literature and deeply believes that it holds many "splinters of the sun" - many loving pieces of light that illuminate the souls of readers as they speak of a world that is and vastly different in history and outlook from that of the Anglo-European worlds. It is this combination of beauty and cultural landscape that makes the great works of Russian literature so very appropriate for high school students.
Anyone wishing to teach this literature will be helped enormously by Splinters of the Sun. In it, Staley picks key authors and works and explores them through the windows of history, culture, biography and literary content and style. It is in many ways like walking through a park where the trees are stories planted by authors of genius. I believe that lovers of literature have good reason to rejoice at the coming of this book.
Study Is Hard Work
Acquiring and Keeping Study Skills through a Lifetime
William A. Armstrong
$12.95Add a review
This is one book I truly wish I had had when I was in high school and college. Although I managed to develop a method of study that proved effective, if I had been able to read this book first, I would have faced the task of studying with a confidence and surefootedness that I entirely lacked. Years of uncertainty and anxiety might have been transformed had I known then what Armstrong lays out so completely and clearly.
Study Is Hard Work was published too late for me to use, but not too late for today's high school and college students. It is already required reading in numerous prep schools, and hailed by college educators as fostering the best kind of academic success -- that founded on a love of learning and an ability to work hard and thoroughly.
I can't recommend this book highly enough. It is a truly great tool.