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Interesting Narrative Helps Students Connect

They say that necessity breeds ingenuity.  There is truth in that.  I was terribly bored when the whole idea of teaching the curriculum through the narrative hit me.  As the drone of the “professional development” presenter faded into the background of my thoughts,  I started to wish that I had chosen a different session. Suddenly, I realized that I often do the same thing to my students.  I bore them.  If I wanted to learn from this session, then I needed it to be relevant, engaging and connected to my teaching practice.  That got me thinking, what if this presenter were presenting me with the same information, but it was presented through “story”.  Then I would be interested. Suddenly, there it was; the entire concept for Quest Teaching.  What if… I  could craft a story that would connect many curriculum concepts throughout the narrative, for my students.

Then the teacher in me came out and I started to think about the criteria for the story. This is what I came up with:

1. It would have to be good literature; not filled with contrived dialogue imparting knowledge to my students, but rather a fast paced exciting quest that would hook them into the learning before they knew what was happening.

2.  It would have to have all the elements of good literature: well developed characters with which the kids could connect, action woven throughout an intricate plot, interesting vocabulary to increase their love of words, use the variety of literary techniques that I teach them to use, and of course, be centered around a problem that was curriculum related, but kid relevant.

curricularconnections

Click to see all the topic/chapter curricular connections!

3.  I wanted the story to provide jumping off points for lessons in science, social studies and language arts at a minimum, and   hopefully link to other subjects, too.  Could it provide a hook to learn about mapping while it also led into a lesson about rocks and minerals? (Can you tell I’m a theme teacher at heart?)

Could this be done?  I’ve always loved writing, so was I crazy enough to try?  The answer is yes!  I planned the story and it all came together. All the skills and concepts I wanted them to learn could be embedded in the plot!  I started by modelling the writing process with my class. Each week I would share the new chapter that I wrote, after planning and marking, of course.

The response was magic! They loved it, and begged for more.  It really worked better than I ever imagined. My students identified with the characters, and rooted for them while they were taken through the story and they loved the page- turner endings of most chapters. But, the best part was – the story gave me a way to connect all their learning. The “remember when…” factor provided me with the jumping off point for lessons that I was seeking.  As the students identified with all that the characters had gone through, they connected it to the classroom lessons and therefore, they were immediately interested and engaged.

The_Ultimate_Treasur_Cover_for_Kindle (2)

Click here: Now available on Amazon

Today, one year and one month later, I received the first shipment of the paperback novels. I am now a published author and I am now thrilled to offer this exciting quest to other teachers, parents and anyone who loves a good story and loves helping others learn about the wonderful planet we live on.  It is my quest to help you take youth on a Quest that will incite them to find the Ultimate Treasure of Learning!

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