In this sheet we will talk about enhancing the storytelling quality by using visualization techniques.
Age range: 5-11 years
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
Creative visualization is the first thing the listener does in his mind while listening to a story. And here is where the magic starts. The more captivating the narrator is, the brighter and more captivating the images and the notion created in the students’ imagination are. A “film” is created in the imagination. In order to create it, the listener will be a scriptwriter, a director and an actor. He has to imagine the setting and the images of the characters, and all this depends, to a large extent on the narrator and the suggestions he makes through his intonation, body language, the additional materials he uses to illustrate the story. In order to create rich visuals in his audience’s minds, it is useful for the narrator to visualize everything himself before and during the storytelling sessions. If his “vision” is not complete or coherent, it may get the listeners out of the story due to illogical or clashing elements.
It is good to have a good mental image of the story before telling it in front of an audience.
Some external elements that may be attached to the story may help the children to construct their mental images.
A story that will be presented and visualized in front of the children; narrated by a narrator, with, or without supporting visual elements (decors, finder dolls, shadows, images, toys, kamishibai, etc.) Some of the elements can be created with the pupils beforehand. In this case, the materials for making decors and dolls (cardboard, colored pencils, printed images, suitable toys, finger dolls, kamishibai stage, suitable music, scissors, glue) need to be prepared in advance. The use of self-made elements in the storytelling session may enhance motivation from the pupils and involve them in the storytelling process, even if they are not telling the stories themselves yet.
Having the pupils motivated and attentive is always an important element of the storytelling session.
First thing to do is preparatory work to tidy the room and create a suitable environment.
Some elements can help stimulate the imagination of the pupils in the room:
- Drawings hanged on the walls – scenes from popular children’s tales and stories;
- favorite characters – as part of the drawings or in the form of paper dolls and puppets used in theatre;
- books with illustrations;
- places for role-playing games.
Storytelling time is not meant as a source of pressure. Sometimes, some pupils will not want to participate in the storytelling itself. It is important to not pressure them into telling stories, but also, they should still be included in the activity in some way. In order to do that, some steps may be taken. Here are some examples of alternative activities in order to help with visualization of a tale and stimulation of the imagination.
OTHER OPTIONS IN CASE THE CHILDREN REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE ACTIVITY
- They are offered to be spectators, but with a pre-set task connected with the characters, their actions, the performance of the artists;
- Arrange a puzzle related to the story;
SPECIFIC ACTIVITIES RELATED TO FAIRY TALES:
- Talk about learned or favorite stories, presented through drawings-illustrations; exhibition of children’s books; multimedia presentation; showing the characters with the help of puppets; presenting a moment of the story through facial expressions and gestures.
- Narration by a narrator-teacher, student or audio recording of an artist’s performance.
- Talk about the situation, the characters, the moments in the development of the story, visualized through drawings of the moments from the plot development. Mind maps can be drawn or used as well to illustrate the story and help with the chronological visualization.
- Working in groups and creating a visual identity for everyone in the group or class with the help of a name, badge, sign related to the tasks performed.
- Making dolls from cardboard and sticks, from children’s socks or gloves, making masks, decors.
- Choosing a suitable musical background.
- Presentation of the story by children or students through dramatization, role-playing, storytelling through visualization with the homemade figures and decors, presentation through kamishibai, for older students (9-10 years).
- Making a PowerPoint presentation.
- Evaluating their own and others’ work through visualization – emoticons, appropriate facial expressions, applause, drawings, color cards.
According to each child’s individual experience and emotionality, the same story will be interpreted through as many “films” as there are children in the group or class. It would be interesting for them to present their visions of the situation and atmosphere – nature, buildings, colors, aromas, sounds; and the characters – appearance, clothes, manner of speaking.
Realizing the possibility of creating their own film themselves in their imagination, children will have an increased desire to read and tell stories, rather than being satisfied with already existing films, something that is unfortunately very common nowadays.