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Empowering parents to empower their children (www.totthoughts.com)

Storytelling is a tremendous

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Storytelling is a tremendous way to empower children! It allows them engage their multiple intelligences and imagination at their own level and to use it to connect with others in a meaningful way. This simple exercise teaches children that they have the ability (regardless of how that ability compares to others) to impact others and the world around them. What's interesting about integrating differentiation into a storytelling setting is that it not only allows learners to embrace their differences as opportunities to develop unique and original content (shifting from viewing differentiation as a way of "remedying" subpar skills) but it allows for a collaborative learning experience insofar as the audience's feedback contributes to the development of the storyteller's skills (that is, it isn't simply a teacher or mentor giving guidance). This kind of collaborative experience is especially powerful in a virtual learning system.

Virtual storytelling is something in which I am particularly interested. I recently launched a virtual global art and storytelling initiative designed precisely to empower children through collaborative creativity. The project is called Rock Thoughts (www.rockthoughts.com) and essentially provides a virtual space where children can explore their creativity based on other's creative output and feedback. This dynamic generates a process where participants work to inspire each other to improve their individual skills.

What makes this concept powerful is that it puts the learning and development in the hands of the creators and it gives them a collaborative space in which to develop these skills. The effect is to inspire children to take ownership of their learning. Storytelling is a very valuable teaching tool and efforts to encourage it should most certainly be applauded. Thank you for writing this piece!

3rd Grade Teacher and Founder of Luria Learning

I think it is so important

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I think it is so important that we reach each student where they are. One thing that I have started doing is video taping my mini-lessons. That way, instead of teaching the mini-lesson to the whole class, I can assign a lesson when the student is ready. After the student watches the video, we can talk about it an conference. This way my time is spent really talking with the student, not explaining the same skill and ideas over and over.

Here is one of my mini-lessons on creating more interesting sentences.
http://luria-learning.blogspot.com/2011/04/soba-sentences.html
Sacha

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