short history of Storyline in the USA
80s and 90s the Central Bureau for Visits and Exchanges which
is responsible for organising teacher exchanges and study tours
used members of the Jordanhill tutor team to give courses for
visitors from abroad. Many of these programmes were held in Edinburgh
and Glasgow but one course was in London where a young American
teacher, Kathy Fifield, immediately responded by enquiring about
a follow-up study visit. This was arranged for her and she spent
one week visiting courses and schools in Scotland during her school
holiday period. Two years later in 1988 she returned as an associate
tutor on sabbatical to shadow the author throughout that session.
This included memorable visits to Denmark.
her return to Portland, Oregon, Kathy Fifield created a consultancy
called Storyline Design that she developed very successfully over
the next five years. Tragically, Kathy died at the age of forty-one
in the summer of 1994. She left Storyline Design in the capable
hands of two very experienced colleagues Jeff Creswell, a teacher
in Portland and Eileen Vopelak, an adviser from Santa Barbara,
California. They are supported most effectively by Shelley Othus
who administers the office and produces the Storyline Connection,
a quarterly magazine for teachers. Course programmes are organised
throughout the year and Scottish tutors are invited to join the
summer institute presentations that offer credit from Portland
State University. Amongst these very successful and innovative
courses are the first organised especially for administrators.
has recently written a book about his experience of Storyline
in the Heinemann Teacher to Teacher Series called Creating
Worlds, Constructing Meaning. In March 1995 he also led a
very successful study tour to Scotland for 35 American teachers.
tutors from Oregon and California were also presenters at the
first International Storyline Conference in Denmark November 2000.
In 1990 a
professor of education from Seattle University, Margit McGuire.
attended an international social studies conference in Dillingen,
Bavaria at which I made a presentation. She immediately recognised
that this approach could be adapted for Social Studies teaching
in elementary schools in the United States and has since written
a series of books published by Early Learning under the title
has played a significant part in at least two doctoral programmes
from universities in Washington State.
A. Cooper wrote on 'The Cognitive Engagement in a Sixth-Grade
Social Studies Class' and Dr Rosalie M Romano has published her
thesis entitled 'Forging an Educative Community: The Wisdom of
Love, The Power of Understanding, and the Terror of it all' now
published by Peter Lang.
In 1992 when Prof. McGuire was President of the National Association
of Social Studies Teachers, Steve Bell and Ian Barr, Director
of the Scottish Consultative Committee on the Curriculum, were
invited to the National Conference in Washington DC to give a
two-day pre-conference Storyline course. Ian and Margit continued
to give courses in the Seattle area over the following years.
- latest at the top
A Storyline Trip
teachers, Lorna Karetnyk, Ian Taylor, Gareth Sleightholme and Simon
Johnson from Kirkbymoorside School, North Yorkshire, left Manchester
Airport on Saturday 22nd October 2005 to spend a week in Oregon observing
and working with teachers delivering Storyline. Todd Stewart-Rinier
was our tireless host who gave us a most educational and entertaining
week in his school, Irvington Elementary, in Portland. During our visit
we were able to observe Storyline work on New Neighbours, The Borrowers,
The Farm and an historical topic based on Lewis and Clark. We were also
fortunate enough to meet with Rebecca Plaskitt and Jeff Creswell of
Storyline Design quite an
experience. It was a very enlightening visit that has increased our
knowledge of Storyline and has inspired us to write our own Storyline
around the setting up of a Victorian Museum. It also allowed us to immerse
ourselves in the American culture. We intend to continue our links and
hope to take a party of teachers to the next International Conference
in Glasgow where we can meet up with old friends and make new acquaintances.
visit was arranged and funded through the Specialist Schools' Trust.
We were able to set up the visit because the two schools have had links
since our meeting with Todd at the last International Storyline Conference
in Elsinore, Denmark, in 2003.
to Scotland diary
February I had the privilege of travelling along with my five sisters
to England and Scotland. We were visiting one of my sisters who is working
with Mercy Ships in Newcastle, England. When I realised in our travels
to Scotland I would not be far from Glasgow, I decided that it would
be wonderful to visit Sallie Harkness and Steve Bell. I had met both
Steve and Sallie years earlier while taking a Storyline Design Class
in Portland, Oregon. They had both inspired me with their positive attitudes
and insight into integrating this method into subject matter. I have
been using the method for about 10 years now. It had been a few years
since I had taken any Storyline classes and I wanted to visit with both
Sallie and Steve and talk about education, Storyline, and the joys and
struggles that we face in teaching today.
1 Summer Course in Oregon
Storyline 1 course is validated by Portland State University. To gain
credit the participants have to attend all five days of the course,
keep a reflective diary with an entry for each day and turn in a storyline
plan for their grade level. This five day programme has been running
for a number of years and has been designed to combine practice and
theory. During the first two and a half days a storyline example is
developed. The storyline plan is then analysed in terms of curriculum
opportunites. On the morning of day four experienced storyline practitioners
share their experiences with course members and in the afternoon grade
level groups look at the required curriculum and consider which topics
might be taught in a Storyline. The fifth day is devoted to Storyline
planning. Participants are encouraged to adapt the Storyline they have
experienced for use with their own classes or to plan a Storyline with
a similar structure. This year thirty two teachers took part in the
course. Most of the participants said they had heard about Storyline
from colleagues and were interested to learn more about this way of
working. This positive attitude made it easy for the course tutors to
start work on the chosen topic which was New Neighbours.
the Second International Conference on Imagination in Education
& Sarah Creswell of Storyline Design, Oregon, USA, were delighted
to be involved in running a workshop this summer at the above conference
in the Coast Plaza Hotel, Vancouver, Canada. One of their colleagues
Carla Wilson, a professional musician and Storyline enthusiast was also
on the programme. This has become an annual conference organised by
the Ierg (Imagination in Education Research Group) at Simon Fraser University.
Around 350 delegates attended from all over the world. Sarah and Jeff
were pleased that the Storyline courses were clustered together giving
a strong Storyline presence. Not knowing how many participants may opt
for their workshop they planned for 25 with an idea that it could reach
40. However, they were amazed to find that 80 educators had selected
their presentation. With some difficulty and a lot of co-operation everything
worked out well. Both presenters and participants seemed happy with
the results. Carla's workshop also created a lot of interest. It seems
that the delegates were very interested in how the strategies in Storyline
matched the philosophies of Kieran Egan's philosophy of imaginative
Summer School 2003: Portland, Oregon
summer Barbara and John Frame of Edinburgh University were invited to
work with Jeff Creswell to run two courses at Parkrose Community School
in Portland, Oregon, from August 13th and 22nd.
The first course was the alumni course, specially organised for experienced
Storyline teachers and held over three days. The focus this year was
to explore the nature and use of key questioning. During the course
participants also produced articles for the Storyline Design newsletter
and designed topic outlines for the forthcoming semester. The newsletter
articles were broad ranging and stimulating and were indicative of the
depth of Storyline thinking experienced by the participants.
The second course was held over five days for teachers new to Storyline.
For the first two and a half days the participants worked on a restaurant
theme, bringing to life a whole mall of varied and stimulating eating
places. The remainder of the course was devoted to reflecting on learning
and teaching, examining their curricular targets and planning their
Both courses were characterised by high levels of enthusiasm, commitment
and creativity amongst the participants. Good humour was also in abundance.
Success of Storyline
Magnet Schools in Central Oregon
the Spring issue of the 'Storyline Connection' Elaine McCaul Smith describes
the successful development of two Magnet Schools in Central Oregon using
Scottish Storyline as their main concept for education. Elaine is a
teacher in Highland Elementary School and, together with a close colleague
Colleen Vallerga, was instrumental in initiating the idea. Highland
has grown from three classes in 1999, to six classes in 2000 to eight
classes this year. It is hoped that the school will continue to grow
by one class a year until the school's enrolment is over 350 students.
Tumalo Elementary School has been a K-5 school until this year when
a 6th grade class was added to accommdate those students who want to
continue with the Storyline method.The class has been so successful
that adding a 7th grade class next year is presently being considered.