Performance Task For Storytelling – Collecting Stories

May 9, 2007 at 9:40 am | Posted in best practices, elementary, investigation, Open Court, performance task, strategies, writing | 5 Comments

I would like your help, opinions, and critique of this performance task that I designed. This is my first time creating something of this magnitude and with such careful planning. I want to know if this is a task that is worth doing.

As an Open Court teacher, I have always struggled with the Investigation part of every unit. I have never understood it. Oh, I understand it, and I understand the rationale. I just never understood how to implement it cohesively in the classroom. The investigation always fall apart about three weeks into the unit.

This performance task is something that I can get my mind around. I understand, truly understand this task because I designed it with my students and standards in mind. The performance task will require a lot of learning and higher level thinking from my students. It will require that my students take an active hand in their learning. It is also highly motivating as it is a series of real-world task.

Can it be a substitute for the Investigation portion of the Open Court unit? More to the point, can it BE the Investigation portion of the unit?

My students will be investigating what is needed to make a good story and oral history in their community. They will be asking questions and revising questions, coming up with conjectures and revising their conjectures as they interview members of their community. Finally, they will be producing a quality product that will show their learning.

Open Court teachers, what are your opinions?

Visit for the performance task design pdf that I wrote up for this storytelling task.

Collecting Stories Student Task Prompt

You are an author collecting family and community stories for an oral history anthology. You must interview family members to collect stories and decide which stories are most important to share in order to write a chapter for the anthology and then present the anthology to other classes to convince them to purchase the book to add to their libraries.


Storytelling Ideas

May 6, 2007 at 10:23 am | Posted in free resources, IWT, Open Court, performance task, third grade, Workshop | 3 Comments

I’m getting ready to teach Unit 5, Storytelling. I did a quick search using google and found this amazing website with hundreds of storytelling ideas. I will scour the site, but I thought I should share first!

Story Arts Online

Here’s another one that I find useful.

National Storytelling Network

And author Aaron Shepard’s site on storytelling is amazing.

-Edit- has amazing resources for Open Court teachers.  One that I’m using is “Tell Me a Story” by Emily Fuhr.  I’m using it as part of our unit opener.  I’ve developed a short performance task that uses the poem.  We will work on this performance task throughout the first few weeks of the unit during Workshop time. Take a look at the pdf that I created for the performance task.

The performance task is:

You are a poet getting ready to perform a new poem with feelings.  You must listen to and read the poem.  You must sequence the parts of the poem in order to create a flow map and then perform the poem to the class.

Standards-Based Classroom

May 1, 2007 at 4:29 pm | Posted in best practices, education, elementary, inner city, performance task, standards, strategies, technology in education | Leave a comment

What are standards?

Standards are statements by national organizations, states, and local school districts to clarify the expectations for student learning. They state what students are expected to know and be able to do with that knowledge when they reach a benchmark or exit the system.

– ( Barbara Benson, How to Meet Standards, Motivate Students, and Still Enjoy Teaching!, p. 2)

More significantly, I believe that standards are the written expression of what our society wants for our future, through the education of our young ones. Which makes standards very important indeed.

Every state has its own standards. The California Content Standards can be found at the California State Board of Education website.

What are the new demands placed on students?

A quick look at the standards reveal common words and themes across curriculum: apply, real-life, problem-solve, inquiry, pose questions, integrate, explore, relate, interpret, make decision, etc.

It is no longer enough that teachers teach just content knowledge. Yet, many teachers are still focused on doing just that, teaching the facts and testing with questions that merely demand that students recall. In fact, it is now written into the standards that students must be able to transcend content knowledge, to inquire, to apply, to synthesize, and to create.

Have I truly examined the standards and really understand what the standards demand of me and my students?

Continue Reading Standards-Based Classroom…

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