For the past four years Ifigenia Iliopoulou has been introducing Storyline to students and teachers in Greece. Her contact with this approach developed from a special study for her master’s degree taken at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. She is particularly interested in working with pupils at the early stages and especially in the area of environmental studies. She tells an interesting story of her experiences which you can read by clicking below.
Storyline activities in Greece
In 2000 Steve and I were invited by Professor Kriwas at the University of Patras to introduce Storyline to educators and students of all the levels of the educational system. The topic was “The Sea”.
In 2001-2002 I taught at a school in Aegena – a Greek island – where I implemented the Storyline approach. Our topic was “Aegena: yesterday and today” which I designed according to the Storyline principles and to the guidelines of the National curriculum for the preschool age (4 to 6). The general goal was my children become aware of their island and the problems associated with it – how it developed from the old times till today and how these changes influenced their lives. More specifically my aims were the children become familiar with the old way of living – when their grandparents were children – with the old occupations, the old houses, feel their tiredness of producing the goods for their living, experience some elements of the life in the past. To attain these aims we created a frieze – the port of the old Aegena – we created a family whose life we discovered, doing things they used to do, interviewing, doing field trips and playing roles. The crucial event of the story is when the boy of the family dreams that he travels to the future (today), he comes up with all the changes in the way of living he knew and this event gives the chance for further discussion which ends up to a list with things we must do and things we mustn’t do in order to save energy and use it logically.
In 2001 I was invited by a Center of Environmental Education in Kastoria to introduce the Storyline approach to teachers.
At the same year I introduced Storyline with the same topic “The Lake” to teachers at the Center of Environmental Education in Karditsa and a different result was succeeded. Unfortunately, a few photos can’t show the dynamic of the groups and the richness of the feelings and the results.
In 2002 follows an invitation by the Responsible of Environmental Education in Kavala with the topic “The Forest”.
In 2003-2004 I implemented the Storyline at my school with the topic “I discover myself: my body and the hygiene nutrition”. I cooperated with my three other colleagues with a great success and the presentation of this program took the form of a theatrical play and of an exhibition of photos and pedagogic material which had been produced during the program. The first episode had to do with the shops associated with the nutrition and ended up with a visit to such a shop – every class went to a different kind of shop. When we returned, we tasted what we had bought, we grouped them etc and shared our goods with the other classes giving a party all together.
Episode 1: “The shops in our neighbourhood”
Episode 2: Creation of the members of a family and their figures.
Episode 3: “A research at school” We asked the children to help the young child of our family to fill in a paper with the food preferences of every member of the family. In addition we must write if they drink enough water, if they rest, if they do exercise. We read a story about the results of eating the same food every day and the children created a book. The parents were asked to participate answering questions about their child’s food preferences and daily habits. The children experienced the daily life of the characters they created playing roles in the shop and in the house. The shop in the class transformed by the children to the shop they had visited.
Episode 4: “A research at the super market”A family does its shopping. The teacher has the role of the representative of a food company and the children are the members of the family and clients generally. She gives a product to each client and asks him about some characteristics. The child writes a x in a table under the characteristic that presents the specific food. The importance of the package is discussed in details here. The company offers them a ladder and snake game as a gift that is relevant to the good and bad nutrition habits.
Episode 5: At the restaurant Something unpleasant happens to the father of the family at the restaurant, where he went with his family to have a dinner. What happened? After writing down the children’s ideas, we reveal that the father had a stomach ache. What could provoke such a result? The children express their hypotheses. Then we suggested them to listen to a similar story to see what happened. Indeed, we read a relevant to the journey that the food follows in our body and what happens when we don’t eat properly. The children dramatised the story and created a collage called “The enzymes make a protest”
Episode 6: The toothache Another event happens to the family. At this time the young daughter has a toothache. What happened? What can she do in order to stop suffering? The children suggest various solutions such as to visit a dentist or to brush her teeth. “How can we learn more about a toothache?” “We can ask a dentist, to read a book” were some of their answers. We read a funny story about Kolotuba’s toothache and what her friend Upsidedown advised her to do in order to have her mouth in a good condition and how she implemented these pieces of advice till the moment she understood them correctly. At the end of this episode we invited one child’s father, who is a dentist
Ending episode The ending episode was the presentation of two theatrical plays called “The marriage of the Prince Lemon with the beautiful Onion” and “Secrets for an Hygiene Nutrition”. At the same time an exhibition had been organised with the products derived from this program.
Evaluation As regards the children’s progress we used activities in groups such as the creation of a Snake and Ladder game relevant to the bad and the good habits in our nutrition or a week menu using the pyramid of the Mediterranean Nutrition or the creation of the Pyramid. In addition, a personal paper with a body design had been given to each child in order to write down his/her height and weight at the beginning of the topic and update it at the end of the topic. In addition they were asked to design whatever they remembered that exists in their body. They also drew some foods and showed the organ each of them profits. We asked children to tell us what they enjoyed more and what learned about their body and their nutrition. The parents were asked to answer to a questionnaire regarding the changes of their child’s behavior and knowledge. As regards the evaluation of the program we are very satisfied that we brought it to the end even though some unpleasant incidents happened. It’s true we would add or stress more on some elements in the program such as the insurance and the nutrition through art. Indeed, we feel read to work next year more successfully based on our new knowledge and experience.