Try a New Story Telling Trick

Hi and welcome back to Attention-ology for K – 5 Teachers!

Is your weekly visit to the media center/library like most elementary schools -scheduled as a “special?” Special is an apt adjective for many of the strategies that media center specialists/librarians use to help kids get on task quickly when they visit the wonderful world of books and computer-generated programs. Class periods in the library or computer lab fly by; media specialists want to make the most of their time with students. No wonder they need attention-getters!

Attention-ology tools and tricks that librarians use can also be implemented effectively by teachers in their own classrooms. Meet Sarah Luvender, a K – 5 Media Center Specialist, shown in my blog pic below. See what you think of her trick.  She welcomes K – 2 kids to a magical space with a colorful pond-design rug, complete with cattails at the pond’s edge where the children sit for story time.

Library friends get ready for story time.

Ms. Luvender helps the children get ready to focus on the book of the day with a poem that she sings more than she recites. She teaches the poem to early readers at the beginning of each track-in session. (She works in a year-round school.)

Ms. Luvender begins the poem and the children respond, first to her welcome, then to each question before Ms. Luvender says it’s time to get started. As she and the children sing the poem aloud they gently act out the lyrics. This activity especially helps squirmy kids settle down for the story to come.

You can use Ms. Luvender’s poem too; just make up your own tune and substitute your name! You might also want to change your poem title to Welcome Story Friends. Ms. Luvender’s poem title is Welcome Library Friends. (Note that the bold print is Ms. Luvender’s voice.)

Welcome. welcome, my library friends.

Hello, Ms. Luvender, we’re ready to begin.

How are your legs?

Nice and crossed.

What about your hands?

In our laps, so they don’t get lost.

What about your eyes?

Right on you.

What about your lips?

Closed tight like glue.

Now I see you’re ready to begin,

So let’s get started my library friends.

It’s a no-brainer that taking children to the library is a great way to help them learn to love reading. I always tell my students, those in grades 2 – 5, that good readers make better writers. I also encourage kids to run “spell-check when they write,” either manually with a dictionary or on a computer when they typewrite, before “saying that your work is COMPLETELY DONE!” Well, if insisting on correct English spelling is something that has slid in your classroom because of time restraints, take heart in the following Internet piece – author unknown. This might be something we DON’T want to share with students…

Subject: Amazing

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmaabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae.  The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm.  Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Petrty amzanig, huh?

Well, some at Oxford University, home of the revered Oxford English Dictionary, might beg to differ, or at least regret the spelling mish-mash. Then again, maybe not. Intentionally mixing up words or creating whole new words is a proven attention-getter for the K – 5 (and older) set.

One of England’s own, Daniel Radcliffe, aka “Harry Potter,” has had to master mixed up, mysterious sounding words in his role as a wizard for more than a decade. Radcliffe spoke about the emotional power of words in a recent interview published in Parade magazine. He talked about how he loves to write poetry. Do you suppose that Daniel Radcliffe had a teacher in his early years who read stories to him like Sarah Luvender reads to her young students?

Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in instructional settings!

Talk with you next week,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet

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Posted in Attentionology for K-5 Teachers
Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
Quick tips for common classroom conundrums: K-5
Situation: Students are having trouble writing connecting sentences between the beginning, middle and end of a story.

Solution: Show toy airplanes, pretending to make them "take off" across notebook paper. Explain to the class that stories, like airplanes, require clear "flight paths."

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