Just So Stories
HOW IT WORKS
Just So Stories is an interdisciplinary,
interactive student-centered program that taps into the
Multiple Intelligence philosophy and allows
students to excel in a variety of activities.
Students read and discuss Just So Stories by
Rudyard Kipling, an English writer well known
for his unique style and originality of ideas.
Spending most of his childhood in India, the
author was always fascinated by its amazing
fauna. This program invites children to study
animals of our continent and create original stories
with accompanying poems and illustrations done in Kipling’s style.
It starts with a trip to the museum and
continues in the classroom where, with the help of
technology, groups of students conduct research on selected animals and produce
reports featuring these animals. They also study
Kipling’s biography and analyze his prose,
poetry, and art. Then, working with a partner,
students create and illustrate their own original
stories. Sharing, editing, and peer- and self-evaluation
take place simultaneously. Finally, the students publish
their stories and make their own books.
Using technology as a tool and a resource enables students to achieve remarkable results.
The software applications Animals, San Diego
Zoo, and Animals in their World, as well as web
sites related to the specific topics, enable
students to find information in an efficient,
productive way. A camera and a video camera are
desirable components of the program since they help document the steps of the learning
process. The photographs and videos are great
illustrative additions to the written and verbal
reports and presentations.
This program was initiated in grade five of a
dual-language gifted class, but students of all
grade levels with varying technology back-grounds
and learning styles can participate. Groups, individuals,
or full classes can work throughout the school year.
Karina Maceczek has been teaching bilingual
and ESL classes at P.S. 200 for nine years. She
is currently teaching the Globe Program, which
is designed to meet the intellectual, social, and
cultural needs of gifted Russian bilingual
students attending District 20. Karina is presently
involved in curriculum writing for the Globe
Program and for the Board of Education. She also
contributes to the Action Research Project and
the D&D Project conducted by Brown University.
WHAT YOU NEED
The program requires a class trip to the Museum of Natural History. In
the museum, students will need worksheets for note taking,
paper for drawing (12” x 24” in order to make
pages for a Big Book), and charcoal pencils.
A camera and video camera are a plus for
documenting the steps of the creative learning
process. A class set of Just So Stories is also
required, and students need access to research
software and at least one classroom computer
and a printer. This project can be also done in cooperation
with the school computer lab. Software
applications include Grolier’s Encyclopedia, Animals,
San Diego Zoo, and Animals in Their World.
This program offers a great opportunity to teach
students how to create original fictional stories
and poems, and how to illustrate and publish
them. The close links between subject areas
make the learning process meaningful and
valuable. The program exposes the students to
innovative strategies and methods of teaching