A Chicago print and radio journalist recently visited GEMS World Academy – Chicago to help third-graders consider the different ingredients that go into a successful story.
Robin Amer, the news editor at the Chicago Reader and a veteran radio producer, talked to the students about story components like character, plot, setting and theme. Her visit was part of the third-graders’ ongoing unit on storytelling, which will end with students recording their own personal stories and uploading them to a podcasting site.
Robin began by asking students a basic question: What is a story? Students immediately called out key story ingredients:
“It has to have a problem!”
“There should be some feelings in it!”
“It should have a beginning, middle and end!”
Robin then told a story from her own life. She recounted the time that a valuable watch originally owned by Robin’s beloved great-grandmother was lost, only to be returned by a stranger. Students commented that the story touched on multiple themes, including family and having trust in other people.
In preparation for the students’ upcoming podcasting experience, Robin provided some tips on how to recite stories for live or recorded audio. She demonstrated correct posture and microphone position, and then led the students through a few vocal warm-ups she goes through before speaking on the radio.
The third grade’s storytelling unit is part of a broader inquiry into how we express ourselves, one of the six overall themes in the International Baccalaureate’s Primary Years Program, the curriculum in place at GEMS World Academy – Chicago.
See pictures from the visit, which included an introduction from GEMS Technology Coordinator Peg Keiner, below.