Thursday, July 22, 2010

Montessori Storytelling: True Stories in the Elementary Environment

We often forget that imagination is a force for the discovery of truth. The mind is not a passive thing, but a devouring flame, never in repose, always in action. ~ Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind


Storytelling with Montessori elementary students helps open up to a world of public speaking, drama, and performance. Storytelling is a way to make Language Arts come alive. This can be especially helpful with students that are not naturally drawn to the Montessori language materials. Also, storytelling can assist in nurturing the development of a student’s self-expression through public speaking, drama, and performance.

Just as with early childhood Montessori students, elementary students enjoy hearing true stories told by their teacher. You can share true stories from your life or tell a true tale of one of the students and allow other students to guess who the story is about. You can also “quiz” the Montessori students on the story that was told.

Montessori Storytelling: True Stories in the Elementary Environment

Pair students or create small groups of students and ask them to “act out” the true story (or the student’s story if that is what was shared). They can create their performance in their pairs or small groups and if desired, share their performance with other groups or with the Montessori class as a whole.

These activities can be repeated often as transition activities, as consistent storytelling work or practice, as an extension of literature and other language activities, or as theme work. To further extend these storytelling activities, your Montessori classroom can have a public speaking day or “competition.” Challenge your students to create (and practice) a speech that shares a true story from their lives. You can offer categories for humor, stories with a moral, etc. Guide your students to practice with one another and offer helpful critiques. If your students could have appropriate fun with it, pass out scorecards for the final speeches.

Another extension of storytelling in a group circle is for students to create plays from their true stories. These plays can be written and edited with peers, practiced in class, and performed for other classrooms and parents.

Telling true stories and sharing storytelling with your Montessori students will create a life of its own. Your students will develop their own amazing ideas for incorporating storytelling into the Montessori curriculum.

See our related blog:
As much as possible, NAMC’s web blog reflects the Montessori curriculum as provided in its teacher training programs. We realize and respect that Montessori schools are unique and may vary their schedules and offerings in accordance with the needs of their individual communities. We hope that our readers will find our articles useful and inspiring as a contribution to the global Montessori community.
© North American Montessori Center - originally posted in its entirety at Montessori Teacher Training on Thursday, July 22, 2010.

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