Monday, April 3, 2017

What's Your Story?

   I am sure everyone here has heard the groans from students when told to "pick up their pencil and write/tell a story". Many kids have become reluctant writers and creative story tellers, but why? There is nothing scarier than a blank, white piece of lined paper staring you in the face when you know you have words to write. Often times we give our students specific tasks to write about, which leaves out the element of creativity. 
 About a year ago, I was able to attend a Lego conference in High Point, NC that completely changed my view on Legos in the classroom. I am not going to lie, I was a little skeptical about this whole "Lego thing" when I first arrived at the conference. Upon doing our first task of creating a duck with specific traits, I was immediately humbled at the difficulty to create such an object. My attention was hooked from that moment on!

   We began to discuss kits called Lego Story Starters. These kits were fascinating as you could use them for any subject area and virtually any grade level. I particularly like that these kits lent themselves more the ELA and Social Studies topics. With these kits students can build predictions, summaries, settings, mood, re-create scenes, etc. In addition, writing becomes a major component of these kits. Students can write a creative story about what they built, create a comic strip, or create an expository news report. The sky is the limit!

   After trying these kits out in a few classes, I was beginning to see excitement and enthusiasm on the kids faces. They were able to build according to the standard taught and explain their build in great detail down to the reasons certain colors were picked. When asked to write about their builds after, I honestly did not have one student not know what to write about. The scariness of the blank, white piece of paper was gone! I had a third grade teacher at Pinehurst Elementary School tell me that her student, we will call Jacob, wouldn't write more than a few words all year. After this activity he had a two paragraph story! 

   Lego story starters are a great tool to get your students engaged in an activity and reinforce the skills already taught. You can purchase the kits at the Lego Education store and I typically use one kit to four students. Let creativity and story telling come to life with the Lego Education Story Starter Kits! Happy building!

~Deanna Boesch

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