Reflections On My First Attempt At Story Telling/Story Acting In A Pre-K Classroom
I’ve read about Vivian Paley’s Story Telling Story Acting (ST/SA) curriculum, but I am not too familiar with it. Moreover, I never had attempted to implement it in my classroom.
This past year was my first attempts at implementing ST/SA in my Pre-K classroom. You can get an overview of how ST/SA is implemented here: http://bpsassets.weebly.com/uploads/9/9/3/2/9932784/storytellingstory_acting.pdf
Overall, there was a lot that I probably could have done differently to make my class’s initial attempts at ST/SA go smoother. In the following paragraphs, I’ll describe my class’s experiences with ST/SA so far and then reflect on how I think I could make it go smoother in the future.
Before, getting any acting done, I had to collect a story. One morning during free play time, I approached a few children individually and asked them if they wanted to tell me a story. I explained that I was going to write it down and we would get to act it out later on during circle time. The responses of the children were no, no, no, no, no ext. This of course makes sense. The children were all very engaged in various free play activities and thus had no motivation to break up their fun play time. I most likely should have known this beforehand, but in the moment I was still a little surprised when they all turned down the offer of telling a story. I decide to table my attempt to get a story and try again another day. This time I would change my strategy and try to get a story during a different time. In my class’s routine, when children are finished with lunch, they then go to the rug to look at books while the rest of their friends are still eating. I figured this would be an opportune time to get a story. There is always one boy in my class who speed eats his lunch while his friends barely make a dent in what they are eating. As usually, this day he was done way before anyone else and on the rug looking at books. At this time, is when I asked him if he would like to tell me a story again explaining that I would write it down and we would act it out later. I also made sure to let him know that the story could be about anything he wanted and could involve pretend characters and or real life characters. The boy agreed and this is the story he told:
“Once upon a time, a little fairy went into a room and crashed into 2 monsters. Then a kitty went into a well. Tiger came and crashed into a snake and the snake died. Then Ghostbusters came and zapped everyone.”
I read the story back to him and asked if he wanted to make some changes and if he wanted to give it a title. The answer was no on both accounts. I then made sure if he was ok with his friends acting out the story after we all woke up from naptime and he said yes. However, when asked he said he did not want to be in the story and liked the idea of his friends acting it out instead.
During nap, I put the tape down to make our stage. Then when all the children were awake and gathered on the rug, I explained to the children that instead of reading stories like we normally do before going outside, that this time we were going to act out a story written by one of their classmates. I asked if the children knew what “acting” meant many hands shot up and gave answers that acting was like pretending to be something you are not. Another child pointed out that acting is what they do in movies because movies are no t real. I ran with the not real comment and talked to the children that when we were acting we could use our imagination to pretend to be different persons or things. Before acting we went over the stage rules about hitting and staying off of the stage space unless it was your turn to act. Finally, I made sure to let them know that acting was optional and they could say yes or no when asked but that I would go around the circle. We seemed ready, so it was time to act out the story. 
Our actors had a mixed range of behaviors in regards of what it meant to be actors. Some like the fairy or the dying snake appeared to get into their parts. Others, like the monsters stood up but mostly listed to the story instead of trying to attempt to be monsters. Our “Tiger” did not crash into the snake in the moment which confused the snake slightly who still gamely attempted to die on command by lying down. At the end, the actors portraying the Ghostbusters made an interesting choice of deciding the “break the 4th wall” and zap the audience.
 Note, this is where the short video I sent starts.