Led by the necessity of improving the quality of teaching and student’s motivation to learn English as a foreign language, this group of teachers in South Brazil, mentored by Professor Sulany dos Santos, developed two Storyline topics. The Farm was the theme for the county schools in Ijuí, Brazil, for 10-11 year-old students. The next step was the Storyline Topic of The City, developed for 11–12 year-olds. The experience has been awesome! Besides making students more participative in class, the inclusion of deaf students has been made easier through Storyline and its visual and hands on activities.
To contact us: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Members of the Team: Andressa Felipin, Simone Schmitt, Liane Risso, Zelir Schneider, Ângela de Jesus, Márcia Schmalz, Irmgat Nielsen, Ana Betine Mueller, Maria Luíza Luccese
Study Tour from Denmark
From 25th to 28th May 2009 the group of Danish Nurse Educators pictured below visited Scotland on a study tour.
Dr Linda Schumann Scheel, the leader of the group had made a previous visit to Strathclyde University ten years ago to meet with Steve Bell to explore the use of Storyline as an approach to learning and teaching in the training of student nurses in Sonderborg Hospital in Southern Jutland. On that occasion she was accompanied by three tutors from the training centre.
On this visit she brought a group of four friends who are all linked by their common interest and enthusiasm for nursing at a senior level but who are engaged in very different aspects of care within the Health Service in Denmark. During their visit they attended a one-day Storyline Seminar given by Sallie Harkness & Steve Bell, visited Kinnaird Primary School in Falkirk District to see Storyline in action and also spent time at the Caledonia University in Glasgow to explore the Nurse Education programme there. Since their return to Denmark they have been busily engaged in writing about their experiences and in discussing how they may develop Storyline for their purposes.
Back row: Alice Meng, Steve Bell, Linda Schumann Scheel, Edel Thomsen
In front: Bente Reggelsen, Merete Værge
Course at Summerhill Centre
Hester Beattie, Arts Education Team,
Aberdeen City Council
On Friday 22nd May, Summerhill Centre played host to Steve Bell and Sallie Harkness from Storyline Scotland who led a CPD day for Aberdeen City teachers.
Almost 130 staff (mostly from primary schools but some secondary staff and some Drama teachers) took part in a practical workshop session following the Storyline method. By coincidence 27 members of Staff from Møhlenpris School in Bergen, Norway, were on a study visit to Aberdeen and were delighted to be able to join the course.
The large group split into two, one for lower primary and one for upper primary to secondary, and each were given a theme ~ “Capital Tours” and “Holiday Journey”. Both groups were actively involved in creating their families and environment and they enjoyed the exchange of experiences towards the end of the day. It was clear to those present how well the Storyline approach can address the aims of The Curriculum for Excellence and the one day course was received most favorably by all in attendance.
There had been a very high uptake for places on the course and it is hoped to be repeated sometime in the future for those who were disappointed not to get a place. Many thanks to Steve and Sallie for a most worthwhile day.
23rd & 24th March 2009
Magnea Ósk Böðvarsdóttir and Kristjana Jónsdóttir, teachers working in Grindavik Primary School, Iceland, made a study tour to Scotland on 23rd & 24th March 2009.
The programme started with an informal Storyline seminar at Ross Priory, University of Strathclyde, and then an afternoon visit to Killearn Primary School, Stirlingshire, where they were welcomed by the headteacher, Pat MacCowan, and given a conducted tour of the classrooms followed by a discussion session with the principle teacher, Catriona Mackenzie.
On the second day they had an opportunity to visit Kinnaird Primary School and Pamela Adamson, headteacher, in a brand new school in Falkirk District where they were most impressed at the lovely new environment that had been created for staff and pupils.
There main interest was to see Storyline in action and they indicated at the end of their visit that they were returning to Iceland fired with enthusiasm.
Request for Storyline Videos
Several Storyline contributors have requested that they illustrate their activities and news items not only with photographs and text but also with video and sound. For this reason Storyline Scotland has decided to establish a YouTube Page. Please contact me at email@example.com with any contributions you would like to make to help make a success of this exciting development.
First Storyline in Slovenia
Lea Nakrst, A student teacher in Slovenia spent last year studying in Sweden. While there she attended a one-day pre-conference Storyline workshop and the Nordic Storyline Conference held in April 2008 in Gothenburg. This experience inspired her to study the approach in more depth and she decided to write her dissertation on Storyline. She was greatly helped by her 3-months long practice at Fyllingeskolan in Halmstad, Sweden. On her return home she felt that she needed to experience using it in a classroom by herself and so, with the wonderful support of the staff of Osnovna šola Janka Kersnika Brdo she worked with a class of 7 & 8 year old pupils over several weeks using a Topic Outline which she herself had designed – Life on a Tourist Farm. She was thrilled with the results and describes her experience on a ‘pdf’ file which can be reached by clicking here. Congratulations Lea!
at Strathclyde University
1. B Ed3 students took part in a short Storyline Workshop run by Sallie
Harkness as part of their course on 'Sensitive Issues in Health'.
Working in groups the students were invited to create imaginary
families. Each student made a small figure representing their
particular family member and wrote a brief biography of their
character. The families were introduced and their homes located on a
small community frieze.
Working with Sallie and Monica Porciani, Lecturer in Health Studies,
the student groups explored incidents linked to the theme of
sensitive issues and told the stories of how their family dealt with
problems and difficulties.
2. Student Teachers attending courses at the University of Strathclyde
Jordanhill Campus were introduced to Storyline recently in a series
of lectures and workshops presented by Sallie Harkness of Storyline
Students taking the Postgraduate Diploma in Primary Education were an
attentive audience at two mass lectures on Storyline. The morning
presentations introduced the Storyline approach via the 'New
Neighbours' topic then looked at Storyline principles in practice.
In the afternoon the students visited the 'Enchanted Forest' Storyline
developed at Aberfoyle Primary by P1 teacher Lynda Bancroft.
Creative Sparks Conference
Edinburgh Corn Exchange
On 27th February 2009 the Scottish Book Trust held the Creative
Sparks Conference at the Corn Exchange, Edinburgh. Keynote speakers Ninive Caligari and Michael Rosen spoke on Igniting
the Desire to Write and Read.
More than 50 delegates chose to attend seminars on how to use the
Storyline Approach. The presentation began with Fergus McNicol,
Storyteller, relating the tale of the 'Three Donalds', followed by
Sallie Harkness suggesting how this story could be used to plan and
deliver a book-based storyline. Finally Steve Bell talked about how
other Storylines could be developed in the classroom. This input
attracted much interest and we have already been contacted by a
number of teachers who are keen to implement Storyline approaches in
Storyline Scotland is grateful to the Scottish Book Trust for providing
the opportunity to showcase Storyline at this important event.
Greek Storyline Website
Ifigenia Iliopoulou, a PhD student in the University in Volos, has recently created a Storyline website at ifigenia-istoriogrammi.blogspot.com Ifigenia took her Master's degree some years ago in Strathclyde University, Glasgow and hopes to complete her Doctorate this summer. She is the author of the first Storyline Book in Greek and has used the approach in her PhD studies.
Storyline Talk at Alford Academy
As part of our ongoing commitment to developing partnerships and easing transitions for pupils, we recently hosted a visit by Steve Bell, an Educational Consultant with Storyline Scotland. He presented an overview of Storyline, an alternative teaching approach that encourages study in the context of a strong narrative. This informal twilight session was well attended by staff of Alford Academy and Alford Primary. Mr Bell led a discussion that challenged and enlightened. Many who attended felt that there was some potential in this approach and we now plan to explore storyline as a possible additional teaching strategy.Steve Bell’s visit was facilitated through the SpeyGrian Trust; www.speygrian.org.uk
Storyline in Lithuania
Ona Leonaviciene, seen in these photographs with her classes, is an English teacher in a secondary school in Marijampole, Lithuania. For many years now she has been using Storyline to teach English as a second language. She presented her experiences at the 3rd International Storyline Conference in Glasgow in 2006 and has been invited to do the same at the 4th International Storyline Conference to be held in Portland State University Oregon in August 2009.
Children in a Sustainable City
Winner of the Dogme 2000 Prize
Lisa Adelsköld and Lisa Petri
We are proud to announce that the Storyline ”Children in a Sustainable City” has been rewarded with an environmental prize from Dogme2000. Dogme2000 is a co-operation between 7 different municipalities in Denmark and Sweden whose aim is to be leaders in the fight for a more sustainable society. They perform at a local level. Every year Dogme rewards a project which, in a successful way, works with environmental issues together with children and young people. Within the framework of Save the Children, Lisa Adelsköld and Lisa Petri developed a Storyline with the ambition to create a method for realising a learning situation where you study, create and live in a sustainable development. By doing this the method itself had to be sustainable and democratic in its structure, which Storyline is. By using this democratic and participatory method the children were teaching themselves how to interact in society. We combined this democratic vision with environmental questions where the children created a space were they themselves could decide how it should be organised in the most sustainable way. By the end of the project we wrote a book that is to be seen as a guide for ‘pedagogs’ (educational care workers) who want to work with learning for a sustainable development, but who maybe have a hard time finding enough time to plan and come up with all the pedagogic ideas. So within the book they have the possibility to use this Storyline and within that framework with the themes and exercises that suit their particular class the best. The prize will be used to continue the Storyline work in Sweden.
BEd 4 Storyline Elective Course
At the invitation of Barbara Frame the BEd (Hons) Primary Co-ordinator for Moray House School of Education, Edinburgh University, Sallie Harkness and Steve Bell were invited to work with the final year students who have chosen Storyline as their special study.
Storyline – Education for Sustainable Development in Entebbe, Uganda
From the 10th to 19th of October 2008
I had the privilege to visit the fantastically beautiful and hospitable country of Uganda. The purpose of my visit was to give a full day workshop on how Storyline can be used to reach learning for sustainable development. The workshop was part of a conference for head teachers from Uganda and Sweden. More information...
Rendsburg Storyline Workshop
20 - 21st October 2008 for foreign language teachers of primary and secondary schools in Schleswig-Holstein
Gisela Ehlers IQSH-Kiel, Course Director
The workshop started on Monday with the creation of the story setting “Our Street” including houses, shops and a beach area. The very attractive frieze that was produced became the focus for lively discussion about second language teaching possibilities in primary as well as in secondary schools. While the teachers then created the characters who lived and worked in the street they became aware of the many opportunities for differentiating the language tasks for their learners. They were convinced that Storyline is not only an ideal strategy for developing language in an authentic context but also a good way for teaching in heterogeneous classes. This first course was led by Steve Bell and Tina Stute On the 21st and 22nd Oct. 2008 the IQSH offered a two day follow up seminar in which drama was explored as an additional element in Storyline. Through a practical workshop linked to the storyline frieze the participants experienced the wide variety of ideas and language tasks. Drama activities relate easily and effectively to such a context and establish a rich learning environment. The second course was led by Hannelore Tait and Gerhard Schroda.
News from Norway
Åse Paulsen Skiftun
Kvinesdal Upper Secondary school, Norway
Earlier this year I wrote about some projects going on in Norway using the Storyline-toolkit in teaching. It is very nice for me to tell you that this co-operation project with The University of Agder has been a great success. The Storyline-toolkit was used in the Didactic-Programme. The Toolkit was used to aim at one of the five main-goals of the Programme: Preconditions of teachers and students (the human-beings). The evaluation from the students was ” This is exciting!! ” Birte Simonsen and Kari Wigstøl, both from the Department of Teacher Education at the University, have been interested in the Storyline-method for a long time. They are so fascinated by the Toolkit, that they want to continue this co-operation until next Autumn. An application has been sent to Norway Opening Universities for money to do so. We are also still working towards an English version!
Since 2003 Yvonne McBlain, a Creativity Support Teacher for Falkirk Council Education Department has been encouraging teachers as part of a Creativity Inservice Team. This has involved her in exploring and developing thinking skills, creativity and Storyline. Recently, and supported by Quality Improvement Officer Liz Rose, she has published a record of the development of their Storyline work with teachers. This has proved to be of great interest to teachers not only in their own area but also in other council areas in Scotland.
“A Classroom with Six Languages”
Comenius Project creates Storyline for pupils of special schools from six European countries
Schule am Meer in North Germany’s Cuxhaven was the venue for the latest gathering of the Comenius funded “Stars Project”. From 22-26.October 2008 the group, involving schools from Germany, Denmark, Belgium, Hungary, Estonia and Ireland met for the 5th time, although it was the 3rd meeting to include pupils who all have special learning needs. Through the medium of modern technology, the teachers had already planned a storyline about an international song contest before meeting. The pupils brought the collage figures of the characters along. Together they drummed up the name “Stardust of Comenius” for the show. On the third day of the meeting they had the opportunity of experiencing the next stages of the storyline method under the watchful and very helpful eye of the invited guest, Ulf Schwänke. He was surprised by the motivation of the children and the high quality of the representations produced by the pupils – one of which was the stage for the song contest. Though most pupils had no knowledge of the English language communication worked amazingly well with the teachers serving as interpreters for the children from their countries. All were convinced that it was a very successful meeting and a lot was learned and achieved by both teachers and pupils alike.
New Storyline CD
Glasgow City Council Education & Social Work Services
Ruth Barr, Quality Improvement Officer in Primary Education with the above Council, has been instrumental in a new initiative to produce a CD which provides rich Storyline resources for teachers at the upper stages of primary school. The very experienced authors, Lesley Dunlop, Creative Arts Link officer in Glasgow and Sallie Harkness of Storyline Scotland, have produced outlines for three topics – The Tropical Rainforest, Scotland: onTour, and World War II, (The Clydebank Blitz). These Storyline topic plans are supported by background information and relevant photographic material which provides the teacher with specific evidence for research purposes. Material like this should prove to be of tremendous benefit to teachers in their Social Studies planning.
Within the Tropical Rainforest topic an early attempt has been made to identify the Social Studies outcomes in A Curriculum for Excellence that would be experienced by the children.
The CD can be purchased through the Education Improvement Service
Catalogue at www.glasgowcurriculumpublications.org.uk
Book Launch in Aberdeen University
On Saturday morning 27th September 2008 a very successful Storyline Book Launch and Seminar was held in the MacRobert Building of Aberdeen University. The attendance was larger than expected and was supported by lecturers and students as well as teachers. Sallie Harkness made a presentation describing the use of Storyline for teaching in the Early Years, while Steve Bell followed with a description of the wide range of contents in the book. Many thanks are due to the committee of Early Education, Aberdeen Branch who organised the morning in conjunction with Aberdeen University.
Royal Danish Ballet Teacher Education
Cecilie Falkenberg is this year engaged in designing and conducting an educational course for those of the Royal Danish Ballet's dancers who teach ballet by using their rich experiences to help pass on their knowledge and skills to younger performers. Cecilie and her colleagues in KLEO, University College Copenhagen, have designed a new education that will provide the ballet teachers with a certificate on how to teach. The first week is designed as a Storyline project about an excellent ballet school in a small country with a famous ballet corps! During the second week some of the teaching philosophy necessary to understand children's learning is emphasised - with themes such as situated learning, tacit knowledge, reflective practice, intuitive expertise, appreciative inquiry, constructivism and similar important concepts. The education continues as an action learning project to support the changes in practice each participant ballet teacher would like to make by supervising, followed by a dialogue. To date the idea of using Storyline in the first week to open all the relevant pedagogical challenges for the ballet teachers has proven a great success. Cecilie (pictured centre) is finding it a really exciting challenge!
Courses in Germany
From 9th to 13th September 2008 four courses were presented to German primary teachers and probationers who teach English as a second language. From February 2009 all class one pupils in the primary schools in Nordrhein-Westfalen will be introduced to English. Gisela Ehlers, IQSH Kiel, director of a highly successful Comenius project using Storyline for this purpose and Steve Bell, Storyline consultant, led these inservice workshop courses. The first three – in Gemeinschaftschule Steinenbruck,Gummersbach (Mr Koster), Sparkassen Akademie, Münster, (Christine Gross & Stephanie Stecker) and in Albert-Schweitzer-Schule, Menden, (Lisa Hinse) were sponsored by the publisher Spectra and the final two-day event in Hotel Schweinsberg, Lennestadt Langenei was offered by Brigitte Stäsche and her Kompetenzteam. All the courses proved to be lively and interesting because of the interest and enthusiasm of the teachers.
Brigitte Stäsche and Gisela Ehlers
Book Launch in Edinburgh
Wednesday 3rd September
A very successful book launch was held in the Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh, last Wednesday. Twenty-one participants attended from a wide variety of backgrounds. Guests Joan Parr, Director of Education for the Scottish Arts Council and Tim Wallace, Scottish Government Educational Adviser were joined by teachers, headteachers, advisers, lecturers from Edinburgh University and also members of the education unit of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. The editors Steve Bell, Sallie Harkness and Graham White were joined by David Betteridge, the proof reader of the book to staff this event.
Education Study Visit
13 members of the Danish Education Committee visited Scotland this week from 26th to 29th August to find out more about the new Scottish Curriculum for Excellence and also about Storyline. On Wednesday 27th August at LTS headquarters in Glasgow they had a presentation from members of the Learning & Teaching Scotland team. They also heard from Marie Dougan and colleagues about GLOW the intranet support provided for Scottish teachers and pupils. It was a pleasure and a privilege for Sallie Harkness and Steve Bell to then have the opportunity to present on the Development of Storyline. In the photograph of the group Christine Antorini, Head of Delegation, is seated on the left next to Steve, Sallie and Marie Dougan, Director of GLOW.
“Stepping Out of the Picture”
Marie Jeanne McNaughton shows how the Storyline approach may give Drama practitioners an added dimension to their work. This article is based on her paper published in Storyline – Past, Present & Future ed. By Bell, Harkness & White and published by Strathclyde University.
Also contained in this edition of the journal is a very thorough review of the new Storyline book by Jane Thomson. She ends by saying “Storyline is clearly a powerful learning tool and this timely book will help academics, researchers and practitioners further their understanding of Storyline and learning.”
Storyline in South Korea
Sulany dos Santos is a Brazilian Lecturer who worked for many years as a teacher of English as a Second Language (ESL) in a university in South Brazil. During this time she had introduced Storyline into her teaching. Because of her husband’s work she moved with him to live in South Korea and was invited to teach at an ESL summer school organised for children of employees by the Company. For the first time this summer she designed a programme using a Storyline topic. Here is what she says about the experience:
“‘R’ Island – a Storyline of Hope – was the theme of an English Summer Camp held in Seoul, Korea, for 12 to 18 years-old students in July this year. The results were amazing; the lively environment created through Storyline helped the students to interact in English and have fun. Although we have much to learn as to how to use Storyline for teaching ESL we were very encouraged by our first experience.”
The teaching team in the photograph are from left to right - Alicia Beking, Ray Kim, Jieun Kim, Sulany dos Santos and Boyeun Ho
23 May 2008
Wendy Emo, an Academic Advisor/Instructor in the College of General Studies of South Dakota State University recently met with Sallie Harkness and Steve Bell for an informal Storyline seminar in Glasgow.
Wendy is a doctoral student working at distance with the University of York in England. At the end of a study visit there to meet with her educational supervisor she managed to include this Scottish visit.
Some years ago she attended a Storyline course presented by Elaine Smith and Colleen Vallerga in Culver near Bend in Oregon. Since then she has moved to a school in Washington State where she taught Storyline to 2nd and 5th grade students. “One really great thing that happened was that I had the same students in 5th grade as I had had in 2nd grade three years earlier and was amazed at the factual details they could recall about the topics we had studied. My own boys, now teenagers, did a few Storylines in their elementary years and still remember details from these. This kind of recall is so amazing!”
She continues that “Being such a Storyline fan I want to incorporate into my doctoral studies how writing their own curriculum affects teachers – if all goes as planned, I will be following this idea through those who attend a Storyline workshop.”
Storyline in Alaska
We are delighted to learn from Ken Brown that he was selected as a Wal-Mart & Sam's Club Teacher of the Year in 2007 for Interior Alaska. He says “ I am certain that my use of the Storyline Method in the classroom was responsible for my nomination and selection for this award.”
Ken and his wife have spent 9 years teaching in remote Eskimo villages in the Alaskan Bush. These villages are only accessible by small airplanes. He explains “As you can imagine, it is difficult for children to experience the rest of the world when many of them have not even visited the nearest village 18 miles away. The Storyline Method is particularly useful in these remote areas, where you can't hop on a bus to visit a museum or historical site. I was able to give my Eskimo students the opportunity to experience life outside of the village by bringing the world to them through my use of Storyline.
I've also been able to use Storyline to teach my Eskimo students about their own culture, land, and language. One of my favorite activities was spending the night with about 20 third graders, in winter, inside a traditional sod house built into the side of a hill about 7 miles from Chevak, Alaska. We traveled by snowmobile and sleds to the sod house, cut firewood, and ate traditional foods prepared inside the sod house. My students left with a real understanding of what life had been like for their grandparents and great-grandparents just 100 years ago. But it was the Storyline Method that prepared them for that culminating event, and made it much more meaningful to them.
Click on ‘more info’ to read a newspaper article about my recent use of Storyline in Fairbanks, Alaska (ironically, it was printed during my visit to Glasgow for the Third International Storyline Conference).”
Storyline in Norway
The Storyline-method is growing in popularity in the Upper Secondary School system in Norway
Åse Paulsen Skiftun,
Kvinesdal Upper Secondary School, Norway
I was recently participating in the Nordic Storyline Conference in
Gothenburg, which was, as usual, very interesting.
In one of the coffee breaks I met a Norwegian colleague. “It is really
quiet about Storyline in Norway now”, he said.
I have been thinking a little bit and I am not quite sure about that.
It is a bit quiet in the Primary School just now, perhaps, but in Upper
Secondary School it is quite the opposite.
Kvinesdal Upper Secondary School is giving several courses every year to teachers in other secondary schools. The topic is: How to use the Storyline-method in Upper Secondary School?
In Norway the new curriculum emphasises documentation and evaluation of
each student’s learning. We have the experience that we can do this in a good way with the use of
the Storyline method and especially with using the interactive Storyline-toolkit.
By joining the National Learning Network (Lærende nettverk) we have been
given the opportunity to teach the topic “Social studies” according to the new subject Curriculum.
The first-year students of Lyngdal Upper Secondary School have been
working all year using the Storyline-toolkit with very good results. And
perhaps the most important thing: the students enjoyed working in this way.
Recently, we have finished the work of adding a topic in the Natural
Science Subject Curriculum into the Toolkit: “Eco-systems and sustainable
The Students tell us that it is more interesting to learn together with
their own imaginary characters and it is easier to understand the “connections to real life”. Wonderful to hear!
Currently, we are starting a very interesting cooperative project with
The University of Agder. One of the teachers in the Practical Teacher
Training programme (PPU) wants to use the Storyline-toolkit in his
teaching in didactic topics in Autumn 2008. Exciting!
The Kindergartens in central parts of Oslo are also doing Storylinesl!
In March 2008 about ninety employees were gathered to learn about this
method. Åse Paulsen Skiftun and Bente Rom Øysæd from Kvinesdal Upper
Secondary School were the leaders of the course together with two teachers
from the preparatory school - Laxens fõrskola.
Most of them became very enthusiastic about this. A few days afterwards we got
a message from them : now we have started!!
Nordic Storyline Conference
Storyline – Learning for Sustainable Development
11-12 April 2008 Gothenburg, Sweden
315 delegates from ten countries attended this Second Nordic Storyline Conference which was organised by Storyline Sweden. The theme Storyline - Learning for Sustainable Development provided a very creative target for all involved, whether keynote speakers or workshop presenters. By general consensus the two-day event was a big success. Everything had been so carefully planned – from the ‘Seek & Find’ wall which encouraged participants to involve themselves in networking to the show of work from the pre-conference courses which provided a colourful visual display of related topics. The exhibition hall buzzed with interest at each break. Teaching materials, books and examples of classroom work were studied with care. The English speaking delegates were amazed at the flexibility of programming that allowed them to feel at home in their choices of workshop – a credit to the planners. Even students from the Further Education College which was situated in the building used as the conference centre became eager helpers as they explained that their course was in tourism and that they welcomed the opportunity to work with international clients. They acted as guides and were always available to answer questions or solve problems. Congratulations are due to the team Storyline Sweden seen below – Mait Adegård, Eva Marsh, Ylva Lundin & Sanna Ranweg (from left to right)
with Storyline Scotland
Joanna Bremner Smith
On 18th February 2008 the Scottish Storytelling Centre welcomed Steve Bell and Sallie Harkness of Storyline Scotland to a day-long education event exploring Creative Teaching and how storytelling skills can help bring to life the Curriculum for Excellence. The event brought together 30 teachers, storytellers and community workers from across Scotland to the storytelling hub on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile. Also contributing to the event was Judy Paterson, storyteller and designer of the Scottish Storytelling Centre’s Storyboxes, and Elaine Kent, a teacher and former Cultural Coordinator from Renfrewshire who has pioneered storytelling approaches in her local authority area.
The Scottish Storytelling Centre believes that the Curriculum for Excellence can achieve its goals only through imaginative teaching. The aim of the day was to explore, through a series of workshops and discussions, different ways of supporting children’s learning in the classroom through interactive activities, storytelling skills and approaches. This included a focus on communication through stories, storymaking and cross-curricular story-lines. Storyline Scotland’s dynamic approach coupled with its imaginative tools helped to make the day a great success.
The Scottish Storytelling Centre is now planning to work together with Storyline Scotland on a full agenda ideal for the Curriculum for Excellence. Use of the Storyline approach will feature as part of the Scottish Storytelling Centre’s CPD event, Scottish Culture in the Curriculum, taking place on 27th October 2008. The event will explain how a confidence in our own cultural diversity makes for outward looking, confident learners through the primary and secondary stages.
Comments about the Creative Teaching event on 18th Feb:
“Inspirational, practical, interesting and good fun!”
“The Storyline workshop was superb as was their presentation! Adored it, so full of ideas.”
“I found the workshops informative and inspiring.”
“At last, something useful and practical to use in class.”
The Storyline Journey Begins
Kinnaird Primary School
The opening of a brand new school has provided a rare opportunity for the staff of Kinnaird Primary School to make fundamental decisions about what they want to teach and how they want to teach it. They believe that ‘Storyline’ will be extremely useful in helping them implement the major curricular change happening within Scottish education at this time, particularly in relation to curriculum flexibility and cross-curricular working.
Steve Bell and Sallie Harkness began their Storyline journey by delivering a one-day course for the whole staff on 15 February 2008. Teaching and non-teaching staff alike thoroughly enjoyed their day and are already putting what they learned into practice.
The school was keen to ensure that parents also had an understanding of what Storyline was about. Headteacher, Pamela Adamson, delivered the same one-day course for parents on 7 March 2008.Their evaluations highlighted their enjoyment of the day, and the benefits to them in supporting their children’s learning at home through their increased understanding.
Visit of Student Teachers
from The Faroe Islands
Carol Omand, Headteacher, Gartconner Primary School, Kirkintilloch
Everyone at Gartconner Primary School was delighted to welcome Sonja Jacobsen and Oda Friduflotum, two student teachers from the Faroe Islands who travelled to Scotland to spend the month of January at the school to study the Storyline approach. Headteacher, Carol Omand said that it was such a memorable experience for the whole school. We learned a lot about the Faroese way of life and also about their education system. Sonja and Oda spent the majority of their time in a Primary 3 class where the children thoroughly enjoyed their involvement in the Storyline work they were doing. The students said that they had learned a great deal during their month’s visit and they plan to take this experience back to inform their continuing studies. Our final day with Oda and Sonja was very emotional as we had grown extremely fond of them. We were treated to their most beautiful singing as part of their farewell. We have all learned a great deal from this experience and we send our warmest wishes to Sonja and Oda for a very happy future. We hope our paths will meet again.
Storyline – Past, Present & Future
Our new book is HERE!
Published by Strathclyde University
Apart from the introductory chapters this book contains papers presented at the Third International Storyline Conference held in Glasgow in late October 2006. Academic texts and articles on the implementation of Storyline are reasonably extensive in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Germany and the United States but the literature is less well developed in its country of origin – Scotland. Now this anomaly has been redressed and this publication is being introduced at a time of exciting change in the Scottish Educational System with the aims of the Curriculum for Excellence matching significantly with Storyline principles.
Publication order form
For more information about postage & packaging click on
Storyline Courses in Thailand
Sallie Harkness & Steve Bell
At the invitation of Mr Noppadon Hor-thong, Director of The Institute for Resource in Education Development, Sallie Harkness & Steve Bell were invited to present three two-day Storyline Workshop courses in different centres in Thailand. We extend our sincere thanks to him for providing us with this marvellous opportunity.
It should be noted that our arrival in Thailand was shortly after the death of the King’s sister, a highly respected Princess. Our courses coincided with a period of official mourning and it will be noticed from our photographs that all involved in the courses wore either black or white as a token of respect.
The first course on Saturday & Sunday 12th & 13th January was based in the Nakhon Sri Thammarat Rajabhat University situated on the southeast coast of Thailand and was organised by a team from their Faculty of Education. The Vice Dean Dr Aphinphorn Sathitpakeekul, acted as our interpreter and we were greatly supported by several willing assistants and especially Waradee Lertgrai and Chiraporn Nhoorit. The topic selected for all three courses was Animal Rescue Centre – very topical in modern Thailand. On this course it was interesting for us also to meet three teachers of ‘ English as a second language’ coming from America, England and Canada.
The second course on 17th & 18th January was based at St Antony’s School in Chachensao, 70 miles to the east of Bangkok. It is a large private school with some 3,000 students run by the St Paul of Chartres Congregation. The school principal Sister Karnchana Soddprasert and her staff organised the course very efficiently and we were very grateful for the tremendous support from Noi & Anne. We were delighted that an old friend Dr Walai Panich from Chulalongkorn University was able to be our interpreter on this course.
A sister school, St Joseph’s in Bangkhla, Bangkok, was the centre for our final course on 19th & 20th January. Around 120 delegates participated which made this the largest course of the three but the spacious accommodation and the wonderful resources meant that the workshop ran very smoothly. On this occasion our interpreter, Indi, was an English teacher at St Antony’s School and Noi and Anne were also present to add their support.
Sister Somjit Chompaisarn was a gracious hostess and deserves sincere thanks for her hospitality. We would like also to thank both principals for the generous gifts we received.
A special mention must be made of the wonderful help and assistance rendered to us over the second and third courses by our friend Patchara Poomachati. She was our guide and supporter throughout.
Methode Glasgow Lernen in Handlungsfeldern
10 November 2007
At the invitation of the Primary Teachers’ Association for Schleswig Holstein Steve Bell presented a one day course for 60 teachers in Bickbargen Primary School. Halstenbek/Krupunder. Several members of the organising committee are experienced in using Storyline and had attended courses in their home state over the last twenty years but for the majority the approach was new. A Christmas Market was the topic selected and great fun was had in the building of the setting and the construction of the stallholders and customers. As usual the activities led on to reflection and much discussion about the theories involved. It will be interesting to observe what happens now in the participants’ schools. The committee members were Beate Blaseio, Bent Hirschelmann, Andrea Klimmek, Michael Lorbeer-Andresen, Susanne Rink, Jutta Schweitzer & Sabine Jesumann.
Storyline in Second Language Teaching
A four day course for a group of German study leaders and primary teachers was held in Martinshaus Conference Centre from 17th to 20th October 2007. The event was organised by Gisela Ehlers and colleagues from IQSH Kiel. Steve Bell led a workshop course for the first two days and then presentations were made by invited guests including Prof. Werner Bleyhl and Verna Blandford from the Institute of Education in the University of London. Gisela chaired the whole course and Hannelore Tait organised English film entertainment on two of the evenings. The last day was spent in designing new Storylines for language teaching purposes. It was a very productive and enjoyable experience for all.
Storyline Curriculum “Palliative Care”
The Storyline Approach has been increasingly used with adult learners. An outstanding example is a curriculum on palliative care developed by the German Robert Bosch Foundation. The idea was to create a course for nurses and auxiliary staff in nursing homes. Due to the demographic change in Western societies more and more people spend the last months of their lives as residents of nursing homes. So it has become most important to train the staff in dealing with life-limiting illness, dementia, pain, and other distressing symptoms. The aim of a palliative approach is to improve the quality of life for individuals and their families by reducing their suffering and their physical, psychological, and spiritual needs.
The one-week-course on palliative care uses a Storyline, in which an old woman moves into a nursing home and lives there for some time. Then her condition worsens, she suffers from a number of physical symptoms as well as from dementia and eventually she dies. In following this narrative the participants of the course get to know the main aspects of palliative care. These do not only include the relief from pain and the offer of support for an active life until death. Even more important is the fact that palliative care is an attitude of empathy towards the patients and their families.
An article describing the curriculum in more detail was recently published:
Klapper, Bernadette/Kojer, Marina/Schwänke, Ulf (2007). Palliative Praxis – Ein Curriculum zur Begleitung alter Menschen am Ende des Lebens. In Heller, Andreas/Heimerl, Katharina/Husebø, Stein (Eds.). Wenn nichts mehr zu machen ist, ist noch viel zu tun. Freiburg (3rd ed.) p. 445 – 456
10 - 11 October 2007
One hundred Norwegian student teachers met Steve Bell and Sallie Harkness at the Pearce Institute in Govan. Lecturer Marit Storhaug and her colleagues from Oslo University College were visiting Glasgow together with their students for the third time. In the Lithgow Theatre at the Institute, Steve and Sallie gave their introductions to the Storyline approach. They visualised different Storyline principles and how a Storyline can be designed through engaging the students in different examples and typical Storyline tasks. Many of the students had already heard of and were fascinated by the Storyline method. It was therefore a great pleasure for them to meet the Storyline founders. The student and their teachers had an interesting and playful morning creating families visiting the capitals of Europe. Steve and Sally gave vivid examples of Storylines for different age groups and learning situations. The students, who will have training in schools in January and February, went home with new inspiration and ideas.
Nordic Storyline Conference
Friday & Saturday, 11th & 12th April 2008 in Gothenburg, Sweden
Intending participants and conference presenters can now view the full programme for this conference by going to www.conference.storyline.nu and clicking on 'programme'. Each of the days can then be viewed in detail. As can be seen, the organisers,Storyline Sweden, have designed a very full and exciting choice for the international delegates. Note - those presenters who have not yet sent their photographs for inclusion can do so by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Battlefield Primary School, Glasgow District Council, Scotland
Battlefield Primary School in Glasgow incorporated Storyline Planning across the school from January to March 2007. The staff were allocated additional hours for the brainstorming and planning of the term’s curriculum through an integrated topic. Catriona Brown, Principal Teacher, had attended the Storyline Conference in Glasgow 2006 and was able to share with colleagues the storyline approach. The approach was not entirely new to the school with several teachers having used it pre1990 and was welcomed with open arms.
In Primary 4 the main environmental studies topic was set as Minibeasts. Catriona decided to teach the term’s work using Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach for inspiration and line of development. An emphasis was also put into the big visual display, an important element of storyline, with James and his friends prominently displayed.
Even from the outset the story lent itself to integration across the curriculum. The term’s Personal and Social Development included James when he was orphaned and sent to live with his cruel aunts. The Community Policeman was able to include child cruelty sensitively and meaningfully as he used James as his way to capture the children’s attention. Research into mini-beasts, their characteristics and their habitats were taken on with gusto when the children made paper mache large beasts, environmentally friendly bug catchers for the playground and mini-beast hunts in the local park. Children were encouraged to use KWL grids to record their discovery progress. Talking, listening and writing tasks flowed throughout each chapter with the children making predictions and writing their own telegrams to the queen!
A highlight of the topic was making
wormeries and the children working
in their teams to collect worms.
An additional positive outcome
was the increased co-operation
and confidence in the children.
This very memorable project ended with a celebration of work. Every child contributed to their small group and visited another class in the school. Props and work from the topic were shared. Of course the class also enjoyed eating peaches – for some their first time.
Very Early Warning for 2009
International Storyline Conference 4
Portland State University & Storyline Design, Oregon
It is with great pleasure that I am now able to give early warning that Storyline Design and Portland State University in Oregon, USA, will host the next International Storyline Conference 4. Jeff Creswell has just informed me that the reserved dates for this will be from Friday, 7 August through Sunday, 9 August with a preconference day on Thursday, 6 August 2009. The planning has now started. The conference will be held at Portland State University, a large state university in downtown Portland. The university has a lovely campus which includes a park. The site is centrally located to all the attractions in the city as well as being close to the Willamette and Columbia Rivers and the snow capped peaks of the Cascade mountains including the majestic Mt. Hood and the active volcano, Mt. St. Helen's. Portland offers many opportunities for sightseeing before or after the conference including the Columbia Gorge Scenic area, Crater Lake, and a spectacular coastline on the Pacific Ocean, all within a few hours drive.
Grange Primary School, Falkirk Council
Grange Primary School in the Scottish town of Bo’ness is celebrating its centenary this year. To enable pupils to appreciate and participate in this event more fully, from September 2006 until June 2007, they worked on a special project using the Storyline method. This project was co-ordinated by Falkirk Council Creativity Support Teacher Yvonne McBlain who supported the staff through co-operative planning and delivery.
The main character in the storyline is a little boy called James who actually attended Grange Primary on the day it opened in August 1907. To reflect the industrial heritage of Bo’ness, James came from a coal-mining family and lived very close to the school.
The whole project was orchestrated to allow pupils to discover and explore their own community past and present through James and his family. This involved a wide range of activities including many opportunities to go out into their local area to study the changes 100 years have made.
The pupils of primary 4/3 took James and Janet out for a wee walk around Bo’ness
This highly successful project ended with a whole school celebration day during which most staff and pupils dressed in Edwardian style and took part in a range of Edwardian school activities.
On Celebration Day the pupils each invited a guest and gave them a tour of the whole school storyline display.
This adaptation of the storyline approach used real characters and the historic setting to pose key questions about everyday life past and present. It enabled pupils to collaborate across all stages in the school by passing their research and discoveries about the characters from one stage to the next.
Sallie Harkness joined Jeff Creswell of Storyline
Design, Portland, Oregon to teach a Storyline Reunion course on Book-based Storylines. Teachers attending this three day course were all
experienced Storyliners who came with an exciting selection of books.
In addition to sharing information about the Storyline work completed.
In 2006/7 participants had time to work together on planning a book-based Storyline for use in their classrooms in 2007/8.
The popular Storyline 1 class was held once again in Park Rose High
School. This year's topic was 'Farmers' Market' and the teachers
began by listing the stalls they thought would make a good market.
Pairs signed up for the stall of their choice and began to create it
using a shoe box and various junk materials. Stall holders were made
in the form of 'little people'. Following an episode considering a
variety of tasks for the stall holders the teachers created customers
and then suggested a series of incidents likely to happen at their
'Busy Bee' Market.
The first part of the course is very practical as the teachers
experience a Storyline example. Later in the week they are
required to reflect on this experience, to undertake a curriculum
analysis and listen to practitioners describe their classes'
Storyline experience. After that participants work in small
groups to plan a Storyline for their own classes.
Attendance at both these classes along with successful submission of
the required paperwork will bring credit from Portland State University.
Nordic Storyline Conference
Gothenburg, Sweden, 11th & 12th April 2008
Ylva Lundin and her colleagues in the organising committee have asked me to inform
all interested that the Storyline Conference, planned as a Nordic event with the
theme of Sustainable Development is proving to be rather popular with many English
speaking educators and that there will be possibilities for those with English as
their first language to follow a reasonable programme over the two days. For more
information about the programme and how to apply please click on
Mait Adegard & Steve Bell
At the invitation of the school management team Steve Bell was invited to present an
end-of-term Staff Development Storyline course over Tuesday and Wednesday 12th &
13th June 2007 in Björkhagens skola, Johanneshov, Stockholm. A total of 66 teachers from
both primary and secondary stages attended and participated with great enthusiasm.
An atmosphere of ‘serious fun’ meant that all involved seemed to appreciate the
aims and objectives of this teaching philosophy.
The Rock & Roll Café
Lynn Wilson & Gillian Lumsden
Gartconner Primary School, East Dunbartonshire
As was mentioned in a previous news item the Storyline Topic entitled the Rock &
Roll Café proved to be very popular with pupils in class P 4/5 of Gartconner
Primary School. The official opening ceremony followed a whole class presentation at
a school assembly with staff, children and parents on 23rd March 2007. Here are some
of the photographs from that happy day.
New Topic in German
by Ulf Schwänke
German teachers looking for Storyline topics now have another choice. The Zoo is the second booklet of a series called ‘Storyline practical’ (the first one was a topic on the Fire Brigade). It was written by Ulf Schwänke, lecturer at the Hamburg University and author of the teacher’s book ‘Die Storyline-Methode’.
The new booklet aims at Primary classes 1 and 2. It contains a short introduction to the Storyline approach, the topic outline and additional information for the teacher.
The book was published in June 2007 by Auer Verlag, Donauwörth, Germany.
High School of Glasgow Junior School
a Welcoming School Community
Geraldine Low, Singapore
As part of a 6-month “Leaders in Education Programme”, 6 Vice-Principals, 1 Principal and a lecturer from the National Institute of Education, Singapore, visited the High School of Glasgow Junior School on 21 May 2007. Steve Bell had very kindly made the arrangements for the school visit and he and his Storyline colleagues, Sallie Harkness and Graham White, as well as the Head Teacher, Karen Waugh welcomed us warmly when we arrived at the school.
to Falkirk Council School
Gunnel Sköld and Åsa Eriksson, Antnässkolan, Luleå, Sweden
In early May 2007 we spent two very interesting days at Larbert Village Primary School in Falkirk, Scotland. We were invited by their headteacher Mrs. Pamela Adamson as a consequence of a meeting at the Third International Storyline Conference held in Glasgow last November 2006. Both our schools work with Storyline and it was very interesting to exchange experiences about that work and to meet with Steve Bell. We also got the opportunity to see the children at work and we realised that we have a lot in common. We hope that this visit is the start of future and closer contacts.
In a recent article by Douglas Blane in the Times Educational Supplement Scotland (Friday March 30th 2007), Helen Glen, headteacher at Springhill Primary in East Renfrewshire, described how she had identified a problem with a P6 class as being caused by cyber-bullying. Pupils were using mobile phones and computer chatrooms to bully other children in the class. What could be done to deal with this dreadful situation? "We went back to something I had used many years ago which was developed at Jordanhill College, by Steve Bell and Fred Rendell." she says. "We got the parents in to work with the children on creating a community, with houses, shops, and people with all their individual histories. The initial aim was to get the class to work together on a creative project, with lots of chat and constructive engagement. But there was more to it than that. The people who lived in the street all had names and personalities. The kids called it Cherry-blossom Lane. They built a frieze and put it on the wall. Once they had done that and were really involved with the people in the street, I sent them for a bite to eat in another part of the school. While they were away I 'vandalised' Cherry-blossom Lane. When they came back and saw what had happened there was a stunned silence...... We got them to talk and write about those feelings of hurt and how we can prevent it from happening." The next session will focus on cyber-bullying.
Article in Finnish
Björkell-Holm, who works for the Inservice department of the Åbo
Akademi in Vasa, Finland, has written an article about the creative
activities involved in working with a Storyline topic. This is published
in the Åbo University's Educational Journal which is interestingly
named 'Hett Stoff' translated as 'Hot Stuff'. The publication is dated
3-4/2002 and is available from email@example.com
Previous issues can be reached on www.vasa.abo.fi/fc/hettstoff
on Storyline in Sweden
a new and interesting development Luleå University, in the north
of Sweden, is offering an award bearing course on Storyline. The Course
will take the form of workshops, seminars, preparatory reading and discussion.
It carries an award of 10 credits. The course is taught by Grethel Guthlein,
the course leader/examiner, and Sanna Ranweg. For more information please
using Storyline in Denmark
Mosegaard has been appointed as an educational consultant to a group
of teachers who are being specially trained in Learning Support. Finn
has been working in this area for many years and has developed a very
interesting way of combining the use of Storyline and ICT to help pupils
who have problems with reading and writing. Now, he has been invited,
together with colleagues, to form a support team to train teachers who
are working in seven schools in Spøttrup Community. One of his
first courses was held in September '02 in Lem School. The Development
Project is due to run until the end of December 2003. It is hoped that
the experience gained will then be used to expand the service to other
classes in the area and to create a network to communicate information
and ideas using e-mail and the internet. During this process Finn with
be employed half time by Spøttrup Community and the other half
as a consultant based at the Teachers' Centre in Skive.
Fausganger, a lecturer in the College of Education in Stavanger, has
written a paper in this journal entitled 'Storyline - with Mathematics
inside or outside?' She presented an outline of her paper at The Golden
Circle seminar in Iceland in May and it was enthusiastically received
by the participants. She gives very clear examples of the variety of
ways in which Storyline can provide the context for the teaching of
mathematics - either within the story or on the periphery.
The Journal is published in Norwegian by Universitetsforlaget,
ISSN 0029-2052 and is dated 4/2002
Courses in Stockholm
successful Storyline courses have recently been run in Sweden. Mait
Adegård, vice principal in Skarpnäcks skolan, organises several
courses annually, and her school has become the Storyline centre in
Stockholm. Skarpnäcks has a website which shows a selection of
photographs from these courses over the past few years. Eva Marsh and
Ylva Lundin are the organisers of the courses in Gothenburg and their
website is also illustrated with many examples of work by participants.
for more information and website links.
News from Huamin
Primary School, Singapore
Jessie Siva a teacher working with 12-year-old pupils in Huamin Primary
School recently contacted me to describe her enthusiasm in working with
Storyline. Jessie attended a workshop organised by the Ministry of Education
in January this year. Since then she has, with the support of her Headteacher
Mrs Rashidah Marican, put the ideas into practice and she reports that
the pupils have really enjoyed their involvement in the 'Letter' topic
and have produced the most amazing quality of creative work, full of
ingenuity, which has also delighted the parents who have visited the
of classwork. On 5th August the classroom was visited by Parliamentary
Secretary (Ministry of Education) Mr Hawazi Daipi. The group photograph
shows Mr Daipi with the P6A1 class who worked on the topic. Also in
the picture (from left to right) are Mrs Rashidah Marican, Principal
of the school, Mrs Esther Mok, superintendent of North 2 Cluster, Mrs
Jessie Siva, Level Head for English, Mrs Chris Shie, English Head of
Department and two Japanese guests.
Other teachers in
the school have also been working with a Primary 2 class on the Storyline
topic 'Market Place' with similar success. Please
click here for a gallery of images
New Swedish Brochure
Skolbarn, the educational publisher, has produced an informative brochure
to up-date parents about school developments in Sweden. The articles
describe the latest advice on curriculum development, on the use of
Portfolio for assessment purposes and on the Storyline approach to integrated
learning. The authors, Helena Moreau and Steve Wretman, are deeply involved
in offering courses on these areas of educational interest and regularly
organise inservice courses and conferences for teachers who wish to
know more about these topics.
ISBN: 91 7091 162 2 Art nr:6133
Publications in Denmark
the success of the 'Storylinebogen' published in 2000, a new series
of five booklets has just been produced by Kroghs Forlag. Each booklet
describes one Storyline topic in depth - Trucks, The Pet Shop, Tracks
through Australia, A Bridge to Trading and The Trolls of the Forest
of Seven. Cecilie Falkenberg is the general editor. Detailed information
about the books and authors can be found by clicking on: www.kroghsforlag.dk/storyline
Antoinette Camilleri Grima, a senior lecturer in Applied Linguistics
and Maltese Language Teaching at the University of Malta, has recently
met with me while attending a Reading Conference in Scotland. She had
attended a lecture on Storyline at the conference 'A New Vision for
Primary Education in Malta' held in her university in the early nineties.
Now she is closely involved with the European Centre for Modern Languages
(ECML) based in Graz, Austria. "The aim of this centre has been
to offer - generally through international workshops and seminars -
a platform and a meeting place for officials responsible for language
policy, specialists in didactics, teacher trainers, textbook authors
and other multipliers in the area of modern languages. Antoinette would
now like to see Storyline applied to the teaching of intercultural awareness
through their programmes.
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