-Jonathan Gottschall’s The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human.
Why do we do Monday Morning Meetings? It is a crazy time of the week. Monday morning, we all are tired. Students are transitioning from the excitement or trepidation that the weekend experiences may have brought and teachers and staff are anxious to get the week's activities and learning off to a strong start. With all this, we still take the time to come together as a community.
Throughout history the oral tradition and story have been powerful aspects of passing on values and deepening community. Knowing this, we take the time to tell a story every Monday morning. There are skills taught through the storytelling process; visualization is enhanced, the process promotes listening, the art of public speaking, acquisition of language skills, to name a few. Most importantly, the stories give us focus and a common experience. Many of the stories, skits, acts and books we share as a community have a social message that help bring us closer together and create a more emphatic environment. We make a conscious effort to connect the precepts of the story with our ROAR rules (Respect Yourself, Respect Others, Respect All Learning, Respect Property) and use the stories as springboards when interpersonal conflicts arise between students. These stories provide a reference and an opportunity for reflection around other choices we could make when solving problems.
Storytelling is an easy and fun way to share literacy with students at home as well. Reading a book, collaboratively telling a story or retelling of a classic tale, a family memory or making something up, can be an awesome shared experience with your children. Here is a link for some ideas around sharing stories with children.
The above video was taken this Monday morning. While I enjoy reading a book or telling a story to the student body, nothing is more magical than when a group of IAA staff come together to deliver the storytelling experience.