The children love to say, “Tell us a story.” This is where I pick something from nothing and weave an interactive story filled with wonder, and lots of sillies. I always make it up and it usually has something to do with whatever we are learning about, including social-emotional well being. The following is a version of a story I created from a backyard photograph and a few classroom props.
Once upon a time there was a mama and papa bird, and they needed to find a home for their babies.
They found a branch and discovered many twigs on the ground to start building their nest. They used short, thin and long twigs. Early the next morning the sun peeked through the branches and said,
“Hello, are you new here?”
Mama and Papa Bird looked up from their nest and said, “Yes, we arrived yesterday and have been collecting twigs to build a home for our family on this tree branch.”
“Welcome,” said the Sun, “I will try to peek through every morning to greet you.”
“Thank you, we love your light and your warmth. We look forward to your morning greeting!”
As Mama and Papa Bird went about their nest building they encountered many forest friends along the way. All of them were friendly and welcoming.
They were all curious as to what was happening and continued to watch the bird family create their home. The animals wondered how birds could make such a beautiful home with just their beaks. They wondered if the nest would fall out of the tree on a windy day and they wondered how long this new family would stay. Would they fly away like other birds? They watched and wondered. Then, before they knew it, the nest was complete.
Mama, Papa and their baby birds moved into their new home. They chirped and sang every day until one by one each of the birds flew away to make a new home in the trees. Then, one day, there was nothing left but an empty nest.
Questions of wonder…Why did they leave? Where did they go? What kind of nest was it? Tall, short? Small? How many birds could fit in that nest? How high does a tree branch have to be to hold a nest? Will other birds come to visit? or attack it?
The discussion begins, inquiry and exploration follow. Children begin to create and investigate….
- We go outside and create a nest of our own with sticks and other loose part findings.
- We make daily observations to see if any birds visit our nest.
- We use technology to investigate different nests and see if they match the one in our picture.
- We read picture books on birds and their homes.
- We ask if any children have seen nests in their back yards and can they compare them to this nest.
- We play bird family, sun and forest animals in the dramatic play area.
- We build nests inside the classroom in our building area.
- We draw, create and shape in our art center.
- We question the meaning of “empty nest”.
- We use science and math to see how many birds can fit in our nest before it breaks.
- We journal all our findings.
- We begin to inquire about other animal homes..
If you are wondering where the follow up documentation is, I must confess that this lesson has not yet happened. I took the picture and imagined that this is how it would play out in the classroom. I have every intention of following through when school starts up again in the Fall, however if the children take this in a different direction than I will follow where ever they may lead. Thats how my classroom flows.
So what’s your storytelling thoughts?