- Partner: Universidad Europea, Psise Madrid & Scuola Italiana di Madrid.
- Country: Spain
- Source: School practice.
- Age of children: 6-7 years old (2nd grade)
Main characteristics of the practice
Support storytelling and social skills in primary school students through the expression of student’s inner world into a shared story. Rotating groups were expected to promote relationships and inclusion within the class group, talking about specific emotional, social and inclusive topics, with the facilitator and teacher guide.
General goal of the practice and specific objectives
The aims of the practice were three:
- Promoting the inclusion of students with behavioral and learning difficulties, mixing periodically class subgroups using the Sociogram technique and participant observation.
- Promoting narrative and collaborative skills through small-group shared storytelling.
- Working on emotional, social and inclusive issues through small-group and class debate.
Students, teachers, and facilitators spent 20 sessions of 75-90 minutes each, weekly for 6 months.
Tables grouped in groups of 4 desks inside the classroom, at a sufficient distance to avoid interruptions and distractions between the groups during the collaborative story-making phases.
Description of procedures and methodology
Small group settings
All pupils were divided into groups of four, based on the Sociogram procedure and one-week participant observation of the class carried out by a psychologist/facilitator. Every 4 sessions, after a new sociogram administration, different group configurations were set.
For the first Sociogram, 4 questions were proposed to students in paper form (“With whom do you like to play?”, “With whom do you dislike playing?”, “With whom do you like to do homework?”, “With whom do you dislike doing homework?”). For the following Sociograms, only 2 questions were proposed (“With whom do you want to stay in a group?”, “With whom do you want to stay in a group?”).
The phases of the Story Factory Laboratory
In each Story Factory session (75-90 minutes), the small-groups were asked for a collaborative story, bringing inspiration from a picture on the digital board, representing social or inclusive issues. At the end of the session, each group had to choose a representative for telling his/her group’s story to the whole class.
Following the study “Storytelling and cooperation in kindergarten and elementary school” (Iandolo, 2011), the Story Factory Laboratory was divided into 8 phases.
- Phase 1. The facilitator introduces himself to the class, explains that he/she will ask them to divide into groups of four (with the help of the teacher), placing the tables so that they form a square.
- Phase 2. The facilitator places on the class digital board a picture with an emotional, social and inclusive content.
- Phase 3. The facilitator gives each group a cardboard toy microphone and invites each child to introduce him/herself to peers, passing the toy microphone.
- Phase 4. The facilitator explains the task and says: “It is time to tell a story. Think about how you can invent a story about the picture on the digital board. We will use these materials to help us invent a shared story. In this picture, we can see … (the facilitator describes the image in detail). Now you can discuss with your groupmates and think about how you would tell a story. Then I will also ask you to choose one representative of the group to tell the story to the class. ”
- Phase 5. Group Discussion (I). Five minutes for each group to begin developing a conversation on the subject, taking care that the tone of voice was not annoying for the other groups.
- Phase 6. Group Discussion (II). After five minutes the facilitator says: “Well, you can still keep thinking and talking about the story, remember that then I will ask you to tell a story about the picture, a story with a beginning, a central part and an ending.”
- Phase 7. Storytelling to the class. After the second five-minute period the facilitator says: “Well, it’s time to tell the story about the picture.” “Have you chosen the representative? If you haven’t done it, do it now, so let’s listen to the story of each group. ” In this phase, each representative told the story to the class while the other groups listen to it.
- Phase 8. Public awarding of prosocial behaviors. Finally, the last 10 minutes of the Story Factory Laboratory is dedicated to awarding the students through a token economy digital system (class-dojo). Only positive social behaviors were publicly recognized and rewarded using the digital board and class-dojo system.
Emotional, social and inclusive thematics as stimuli on the digital board
A stimulus image was presented on the digital board in each Story Factory session (75-90 minutes). Twenty social, emotional and inclusive thematic images were chosen for the 20 Story Factory sessions.
- Family using The Bear Family Test – Image Format.
- Group inclusion and exclusion.
- Problems and solutions.
- The different.
- Lies and truths.
- New Year’s Eve.
- The sadness.
- Arguing and making peace.
- Empathy and friendship.
- Family using the Family of the Martians.
- Family using the Family of Kings.
- Saying bye-bye.
- Digital board to present stimulus pictures.
- 1 karaoke microphone with speaker.
- An Internet connection and a class-dojo account.
- 20 social, emotional and inclusive thematic images (one for each session).
- 6 cardboard toy microphones for the groups’ story-making phase.
- Sheets, pencils and colored pencils.
Description of the final product
Different collaborative stories about social, emotional and inclusive thematics. The time available for the representative to tell the group’s story to the whole class (with a beginning, a central part, and an ending) was a maximum of 5 minutes.
Relational pattern changes were registered using the Sociogram technique and participant observation each four laboratory sessions.
During the laboratory sessions, students improved their narrative skills, creating even more sophisticated stories with a central topic. The final group’s story always showed a structure with the beginning, central part with a core problem and an ending, with a solution, often positive.
Furthermore, changing groups every 4 laboratory sessions, students had the chance to meet, share and collaborate with all classmates.
How children took part in the practice
Children expressed attention and interest in the activity, especially in the punctuation system (class-dojo), thanks to which they were awarded points based on their prosocial behaviors.
Parents were interested in the laboratory, despite not making a final presentation of the stories to the families.
Strengths and critical points of the practice
An important strength is the support of children’s narrative, social and collaborative skills. An added value is easiness and flexibility of the Story Factory laboratory, accessible to different needs/themes depending on the age, characteristics, and difficulties.
How the practice fostered children’s inclusion
For all students, and especially for those with learning and behavioral difficulties, this kind of activity is a powerful opportunity for improving personal image, social role, and self-esteem. The promotion of a positive and playful environment can allow reconstructing relationships and developing a positive self-image through social exploration and experimentation, mediated by the facilitator and the class teacher.
INCLUDED – Digital Storytelling for Inclusion