Dear Teachers and Homeschooling parents, We understand that emergency remote teaching and learning is a challenge. We want to help. My student, Sarah Freeman, and I have prepared a remote unit for you based on the Ontario curriculum expectations for Language and Drama. It features personal and traditional storytelling as a means of building community, self confidence and self expression. This 10 module unit includes 16 original videos, many hyperlinks to sites and traditional stories from around the world, and 3-4 activities for each module. You can assign the entire unit or pick and choose whichever modules you think are more suitable for your students and children. All modules are student friendly and can be read by them independently. The unit was designed for students in grades 4-6 but the unit is very family friendly so siblings and parents can also be involved.
We know how much you care for your students and how hard you are working. Parents, we know how hard this is for you, especially if you are also working from home while trying to cope with disengaged children. We hope this unit relieves you of some of this enormous burden. We also sincerely hope your students and children love doing this.
Click on the Junior Storytelling Unit page at the top right to get started! (Menu top right on a smart phone). Primary unit is yet to come.
Please, stay safe. Be positive. And smile. We are getting though this together.
Dr. Cathy Miyata and Sarah Freeman
Last month, I (Cathy) was invited to present a workshop on literacy and the arts in Gotha, Germany, for a group of educators. At the beginning of the workshop, one of the teachers admitted, “I really don’t know what literacy means.” I wasn’t really surprised as interpretations of literacy are so varied. When a few others also admitted they were not sure, I invited them to find a matching-shoe partner and share with them what they thought literacy meant.
Once the discussion was opened up to the whole group, it was interesting to hear what they came up with. They started off with the traditional reading and writing interpretation and we decided together these were forms of communication. From there, the definition really expanded. One participant suggested literacy included reality, while another suggested emotion. As we probed deeper the idea literacy was a view of the world was introduced. Eventually I asked them to look around the room at the fabulous paintings hanging on the walls. They were painted by local school children and they were emoting wonderful narratives. Yes, they decided, the paintings were also literacy. Throughout the rest of the workshop we explored ways to use storytelling and drama as literacy.
It was exciting to witness the development of a deeper understanding of an enormous concept like literacy. I like to think this encounter helped these teachers to see meaning-making in a new way. I wonder how it will affect their use of literacy in their classrooms. On the chart we created together, it was also suggested literacy was fun. It was. Hope it is for their students too.