My project proposal had been to extend Story Workshop in my classroom to the outdoors. Story Workshop is a structure developed by the teacher-researchers at the Opal School in Portland that supports language and literacy learning playfully through the arts. It is something I was introduced to when the VRC brought teacher-researchers from Opal School to speak for a professional development opportunity in October 2013. I have been dabbling in parts of it for the past couple years. The VRC grant allowed me to purchase materials that were place-based, real-world, and lent themselves to story creation outdoors. We did not get outdoors for Story Workshop on a regular basis, as I had hoped, but I do feel that the changes I was able to make (partly based on the new materials) to the way I structured Story Workshop in my classroom were positive and moved me toward a more Reggio-inspired approach when it came to the storytelling (oral language) and writing programs in my classroom. This year during Story Workshop I observed more collaboration amongst the children (co-construction of knowledge), the continuation and building upon of stories day after day (long term project-based learning), and stories that explored natural environments or man-made structures in their community (being grounded in place). In my presentation, I will outline my starting point for Story Workshop (my program last year) and describe the changes I made this year and how I have observed that it has evolved as a result of the new process of documentation I am using for sharing stories, the new materials, and the new structure in my classroom.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier Annex