Pythagoras Academy Story Studio
Author: Michelle Dall
Pythagoras Academy is excited and proud to announce the opening of our beautiful Story Studio space. Over the spring of 2020, inspired by professional development with Misty Patterson, teachers worked with the administration to plan a new space in our school. Thanks to the generous funding of the Pythagoras Academy Parent Organization we were able to create a unique Story Studio space in our school. While many teachers in B.C. use the Story Studio workshop model in their classrooms, Pythagoras Academy is one of only a few schools to have a dedicated space where all teachers can work to integrate this learning cycle into our curriculum.
This October, students in Grade 2 were the first to visit the bright, open and sunny space to begin exploring and creating their own stories. Using a variety of natural materials and loose parts, the students were encouraged to “find a story” in the materials that they had individually selected. Inspired by the sharing of the story “What Story Lives Here”, the Grade 2 students were given the opportunity to transform their understanding, their connections and their ideas into their own story. They were encouraged to play with the materials, and to revisit their creations over time. This process is helping them use their experiences and their individual learning to express their own personal narratives.
In the Story Studio model, students are led through a hands-on experience by their teachers. This process follows the Inspire – Create – Share cycle. Students are inspired by the stories that they listen to, read or tell and are connected to the curriculum and the big ideas that they are studying in class. The stories that they create in the Story Studio grow from the tradition of oral story-telling and can be inspired by a math lesson, by a science inquiry or by their own personal experiences. Students use loose parts and story mats to create settings, characters and other elements of their story. They use these materials to remember the details and plot as they move into the sharing stage of the learning cycle. In this final phase, students have the opportunity to tell their stories orally to their peers, their parents or their teachers. These stories might be recorded and transcribed for them, or students may engage in the writing process as they begin to record their story in words, photos and drawings. This process can be continued to a final edited and published product.
Our Story Studio space is valuable in the way it connects children deeply and personally to the creation process and frees them to express themselves through the connection of visual arts and literacy. The teachers and students at Pythagoras Academy look forward to continuing to explore the rich literacy and creative opportunities that our beautiful, new Story Studio offers in the years to come.