- School/institution: University of Jyvaskyla, Agora Center.
- Country: Finland.
- Source: Database of educational practices maintained by the Finnish National Agency for Education (practice submitted by the City of Tampere) in IO_Manual of best practices of digital storytelling in early childhood (2017). European Project STORIES. (pp.106-110).
- Age of children: 6 (preschool) and 7-8 (first or second grade); this is a joint practice between pre-school children and older, school-aged children.
Main characteristics of the practice
Using story-crafting (see Karlsson, 2013) as a collaborative practice between younger (preschool) and older (first or second grade) children. The younger child tells a fairy tale, facilitated by the older child. The older child types out the fairy tale, verbatim, on a word processor.
General goal of the practice and specific objectives
- To develop the logical narrative skills of the preschool child.
- To develop the writing and typing skills of the older child.
- To familiarise the children with the narrative structures of stories and fairy tales.
- To enhance collaborative skills.
- To enhance ICT skills
Time required: approximately 90 minutes.
For bigger groups of children, it is better to divide the group in two. This requires two different classrooms/spaces and supervising teachers. Each pair of children, consisting of a pre-schooler and a schoolchild, needs a computer (or a tablet device) with word processing software.
Description of procedures and methodology
Before the actual story-crafting session, the children are taught in class about certain types of fairy tales (e.g., animal fables). The teacher reads fairy tales to the children, and they analyze the narrative structure of fairy tales together (the elements of the story arc). The pre-school children create storyboards of familiar fairy tales in groups.
At the beginning of the story-crafting session, pairs formed by one preschooler and one schoolchild are formed. Each pair sits together at a computer. The teacher reads one fairy tale of a specific type (e.g., animal story). After this, the whole group creates a new joint fairy tale with the aid of story-crafting: the teacher is the facilitator of the story-crafting process, encouraging the children to keep telling the story, and typing it out at the same time. The text is projected on the wall to share it with others.
After the joint story-crafting, the pairs of children start their own story-crafting, the older child being the facilitator for the preschooler and typing out his/her fairy tale. When the story is finished, the text is printed out (if tablet device is used, this may not be necessary), and either the older child or the preschooler (depending on their reading skills), reads the fairy tale aloud to the whole group.
In some cases, the groups have continued working on their story crafted fairy tales and made them into animations by using the MovieMaker application or a document camera. The animated characters have been created by drawing or by using small toys or Lego blocks.
PC/laptop equipped with word processing software: each pair of children (a preschooler + a schoolchild) needs one for typing out the story told by the preschooler. For this purpose, a tablet device can be used as well although the practice description does not explicitly mention it.
Computer, data projector, and printer: the teacher needs these for printing out the finished stories and/or displaying them on the wall, so the children can read their stories to others. If a tablet device is used, a printer may not be necessary.
Optional: Document camera, a computer equipped with the Movie Maker application, or tablet device with a stop-motion app (or equivalent). If the process further continues by making animations based on the finished stories, these tools can be used to create animated videos.
- Storybooks (or equivalent), in order for the teacher to read examples of fairy tales to the children at the beginning of the activity.
- Paper, pencil, various art supplies for: 1) creating storyboards of existing fairy tales before the actual story crafting session and/or 2) creating pictures of the characters if the finished fairy tales are later made into animated videos (optional).
- Optional: Small toys, Lego blocks, etc. to represent the char-acters if the finished fairy tales are later made into animated videos.
Description of the final product
The final product is a short fairy tale/story created by pairs of children – a preschooler telling the story and an older child typing it out (and facilitating and encouraging the Storytelling pro-cess).
There is no explicit mention of assessing/evaluating the outcomes in terms of the extent to which specific goals were achieved, but the activity aimed to develop the logical narrative skills of preschool children, and familiarise them with the narrative structures of stories and fairy tales. The children also had a chance to develop their collaborative skills by working as a pair with a different-aged child.
How children took part in the practice
The practice description does not provide an explicit subjective assessment of the activities, but it can be inferred from the content that the practice has been successful.
Parents’ involvement is not mentioned in the description.
Strengths and critical points of the practice
The main strength is the collaboration between children of different ages to create stories together, which empowers both children (the younger child can create a fairy tale while the older child can take the responsible role of facilitating the story-crafting). As each pair needs a computer or tablet device of their own, the availability of technology may be a challenge if the group is very large.
How the practice fostered children’s narrative competence
In terms of narrative competences, the practice focuses on familiarising children with the narrative structures of stories and fairy tales and developing their skills in creating a logical narrative.
INCLUDED – Digital Storytelling for Inclusion