Storysharing in Schools is funded by the Paul Hamlyn foundation. Openstorytellers are aware that children build personal identities through sharing stories about themselves (often through social and ‘new’ media): we are looking at how this works for young people who need support to communicate.
Storysharing celebrates the little, everyday, reportable things we see and do – placing value on peer groups, active listening, and self-esteem.
How the project is run
Over three years, class-based Storysharing interventions will be brought to 60 students with complex needs. Staff and teaching assistants will be trained in Storysharing techniques, and students will work across year groups to support each other’s learning. Storysharing is delivered during class time. Curriculum overlaps include English, Speaking and listening, ICT, art, and PSHE. Students build on their skills in recall, narration, listening, recording and sharing of their own experiences. Storysharing uses multi sensory approaches, signing, communication aids, objects of reference, sound, music and technology in addition to the spoken word. Stories are recorded using a variety of techniques including collages, scrapbooks, ‘story clouds’, comic strips, animated apps, pop up story houses, paintings, memory boxes. These archives create a student-centered record for each class.
Storysharing is power!
The young people bring their stories to their annual reviews, part of a person-centered approach that gives the student a voice at a time when choices about the future are very important. ’Storysharing ambassadors’ use story in decision-making situations such as the School Council.
Families are invited to join in. Story gathering sheets are sent home – all sorts of funny, exciting and important stories are sent back to school for everyone to share. We work closely with some families, making visits and encouraging Storysharing at home. The project provides a ‘Storysharing iPad’ and a mini video camera for families to borrow and use for recording stories.
Thanks to an additional grant from the Rayne Foundation, the Storysharing in Schools project is experimenting with new and emerging technologies as tools for capturing, recording and sharing personal stories. iPads are proving popular, as they are easy to use. New apps such as ‘Our Story’ and ‘Puppet Pals’ give the students opportunities to make records of their favourite stories, with the minimum of adult intervention.
The legacy of the project
It is a privilege working for three years in the same school. Openstorytellers are monitoring and evaluating the progress of this project to see what difference Storysharing can make to the school as whole, and to the individual young people as they make their journeys towards adulthood. We hope to be able to show that through Storysharing, young people who need the most support can feel more confident about showing others who they are and what they like to do. Final reports will be available by the end of 2014