In Summer 2017, MindScribe visited a first grade classroom in Santa Barbara, California, and helped children tell stories to creatively explore their geometry lessons. Children rotated in groups during their math hour: First they had a math lesson with their teacher, then they drew pictures using manipulatives composed of 2D and 3D shapes, and finally they talked with our MindScribe stuffed animal to tell a story about their shapes. Each day, the children’s stories became increasingly complex as they added to their previous works and composed intricate books. By our final visit, several groups of children had self-assembled into groups of 2-4 to build their stories and collaboratively tell their tales.
In Spring 2017, MindScribe began collaborating with a local branch of Boulder County Head Start—a child development program for low income families and children with disabilities—to support storytelling in both English and Spanish. We are working closely with 7 students (ages 3-5), their teachers, and center staff to develop a storytelling system that contributes to the goals of the preschool classroom and the preschool students. We are learning a lot from this community of expressive, talented children.
In Spring 2017, MindScribe began a collaboration with CU Children’s Center to support storytelling in the classroom. CU Children’s Center is an early childhood center serving the University of Colorado Boulder system, and they have over 22 home languages represented in their classrooms! We have been connecting with teachers and staff to gain insight on how we can drive communication across language communities, and are incorporating their feedback into our design. In March, we co-led a workshop with the center’s 20+ teachers on how storytelling can support children’s social, emotional, cognitive, and language development. We look forward to continuing our collaboration this summer.
Understanding 4-dimensional geometry is really difficult for most adults, so we wondered if children might be able to start early and develop their own intuitions. In December 2016, we paired with Sophia, an 11-year-old, to see how MindScribe storytelling methods could help her explore 4-dimensional shapes. To culminate the lesson, Sophia taught her mom what she had learned. As they worked together to understand the complexities of dimensionality, they crafted a 3-dimensional Schlegel diagram of a 4-dimensional hypercube. We couldn’t be prouder.
In Winter 2016, we travelled to California to pilot our system of storytelling with a talking stuffed animal. Seven-year-old Mia gave us a lot of feedback on our design. She’s hoping to save her story until she’s older so that she can turn it into a “real book” with “lots of pages, not just one page.” She’s going to add illustrations to each page and she’s thinking her book might win a medal. After telling her story in English, Mia translated our algorithm into Vietnamese to help her younger brother tell his own story!
In Spring 2016, we visited Bixby School’s preschool classroom to invite children to tell stories about their drawings. We facilitated storytelling by asking the children (ages 3-5) questions and writing down their words. We gave each child their written story and they eagerly shared them with their teachers and parents. At Bixby School, “children are viewed and responded to as individuals having their own unique abilities, interests, and needs,” and at MindScribe we agree!
Children’s House Preschool is home of the Storybook Journey, a preschool curriculum by Sue McCord. MindScribe’s founder, Layne, got her start teaching preschool at Children’s House under the leadership of Elaine McCarthy and Michael Knuckey—both of whom were named “Educator of Year” by Boulder County’s chapter of the Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children.
In Spring 2016, Layne and MindScribe revisited Children’s House Preschool to help children tell stories about their creative play. Over several visits, children told stories about their watercolor paintings, their 3D models of gardens, their clay snails, their buildings, and their dramatic play. We wrote down their stories so that they could share them with their school and home. MindScribe is so thankful to Children’s House Preschool for continuing to teach us the many values of storytelling. Read the children’s stories here.