Mindful Storytelling at Primary School

A while back I went into a local primary school and conducted a one day workshop, where I visit 5 classes and each class has different focus and lesson.

The first lesson of the day was well received by an exuberant bunch of preps! They were amazingly enthusiastic and creative ! I felt really grateful to be able to share this program with them!

My classes are always a bit like stepping into the unknown because the students really drive where the story goes.

Here is my lesson plan and at the end I have include a super encouraging email from a parent and a teacher regarding Mindful Storytelling.

Alice and the Magic Yarn

yarnLinking Drama and Movement with the Reading StrategyVisualization

Learning Intention: We are learning to use visualization to help us to create a picture in our head.

Props: a box, a letter, a ball of yarn and imaginary back packs

We are going to be moving around the room so it is important that we think about Safety: Although, this is a big room with lots of space we do not run around. We are moving in a way that keeps everyone safe. If you are dancing try to be aware of those around you. We do not touch or bump into our friends.

 Mindful Moment:  Mindful (belly) breathing (Follow this link for mindful breathing instructions) Throughout the lesson you will be asked to do some belly breathing at different points. Taking a breath break will help you to stop, calm down and re-focus.

 Warm up:  Superhero Stance: Think of your favourite hero or character from a book. What do you love about them? How do you think they would stand? What would it feel like to be them? Did you know that social scientists have found that if you stand like this for 2 minutes a day for 21 days you will turn into a superhero…Well o.k. maybe not a superhero but you will increase your super human powers. It’s true social scientist, who are super smart people, like investigate how to help other people be the best that can be. And have found that if you do this you will be happier, more confident and feel unstoppable.

Check out my Workshop Superhero Themes to get 50 minutes of this!!!

Learning Intention Intro: O.k. superheroes let’s talk about today’s lesson. Today, we are not going to have the pictures so we are going to use our imaginations. Sometimes when you are in your classroom you may have seen this word visualisation. Can anyone tell me what it is? It is one of the strategies we use to help us understand what we are reading. Can anyone tell me what they think it means?

Excellent, well today we are going to be visualizing. We are going to using our imaginations and our ability to visualize to help us tell a story. We are also going to use our prior knowledge to help us visualise.

Main Lesson: Ask opened questions through out the lesson to encourage the students to use their own unique creative ideas. For example; Can anyone hear anything? What kind of extreme weather are we about to face? What are we going to need? etc

Open a box and read a hand written letter that sets the scene.

Hi! My name is Alice. I am 7 years old and I love traveling. My kind of travelling is a little different than you may be used to. In this box, is a ball of magic yarn. If you make a circle out of it, the circle will turn into a wormhole. The wormhole will take you to magical lands. If you have this letter it means that I am stuck in one of the worlds and can’t get back. Please come and find me!


P.S. I forgot to tell you each land has different forms of extreme weather!!!Don’t forget your Magic Backpack!

We need to be brave. This is a hero’s journey we are the heroes and we have to save ALICE! One thing I know about the hero’s journey, is that there are always problems…and we are going to have to solve them!

Let’s sit in a big circle! (start constructing the wormhole with the ball of yarn )

As I set up the yarn something amazing always happens. A backpack will emerge behind you. The backpack is extremely important. It will give you whatever you need while we are on our journey. You only have to think of what you want and it will appear in the bag.

Backpacks on! You hear that (cue wormhole music), that’s the sound of the wormhole.

Time space Worm hole travelers!!!  We will know we have arrived when the wormhole music stops. The moment we step out to the new world you will hear the perfect  music to help us visualise what the world looks like.

I invite you to dance, if that feels right for you, or move in a way that suits the situation.

O.k. it’s time to go! One last thing before we jump, we need to say at the same time…

Take me to Alice!

Then we jump into the wormhole!

Here we GO! Take me to Alice!

Song for the wormhole: didgeridoo music

Song 1: Snow: What’s in the bag? What can help us in the snow?

Song for the wormhole 

Song 2: Rain: What’s in the bag? What can help us in the rain?

Song for the wormhole

Song 3:Wind: What’s in the bag? What can help us in the wind?

Song for the wormhole

Song 4: Warm Sunny Days: What’s in the bag? What can help us on a hot sunny day?

I see her she is over there! Finally, We found ALICE!

This time we travel back in the wormhole but we stay seated. Then move on to the activity explanation.

Activity: Think back to your favourite part in the lesson. Describe the picture you had in your head to a friend. What did you visualise? Now, draw or write about it. Later, I am going to ask you what helped you visualize today?

The wormhole, the snowball fight and in every lesson someone usually gets turned into a fairy or rides off on a unicorn.

Guided Visualisation (meditation): Lie down and close your eyes, . We are going to take 5 mindful (belly) breaths. With each breath we can feel our bodies getting more relaxed.

We are now going to use our visualisation super power, one last time. What’s one new thing that you have learnt or enjoyed during this lesson. With our minds we are going to visualise or make a picture in our heads of that moment.

Who was there with you? How did you feel, happy, excited? What did you hear? Were their any other details that you can remember?Think of them now and just feel good as you connect with this moment. Now you are going to put this memory in your pocket for safe keeping.

Next, I want you to visualise a time in the future. I am going to get you to imagine you are talking to someone you care about. And while you are looking at this person you are going to take that memory out of your pocket and you are going to tell them all about this moment. Your favourite moment in the lesson.

You tell them who was there, what you heard, how it made you feel and any other details you think are important. Then you tell them about all the great things that happened at school for the rest of the day!

When you are ready slowly open your eyes, wiggle your fingers and toes.When you are ready come up to sitting.

Email from the teacher…

Hi Cathy!
Just wanted to share the below feedback from a parent re: the Mindful Storytelling session we had with you! I also had HEAPS of verbal feedback from other parents saying how much their children raved about the experience. It was just wonderful! I’ve even used the wormhole activity in my reading sessions so THANK YOU! I’ve also given this feedback to to the Principal.

 Email from a parent to the teacher…

 Hello Sally,
Today after school Abby was all excited to tell me about doing visualisations in her new drama class… Then she proceeded to tell me all about the rest of her day. In detail. She has never done that before. Ever. Even if I try and cunningly prise info out of her she usually can’t remember what she’s done by the end of the day. I’m putting it all down to that mindfulness class at the start of the day, amazing stuff!
See you tomorrow 😊

All of this positive feedback led to the principal requesting that I run ‘The Mindful Storytelling Workshop Series’ for all of term one!!! (Just as update that was 3 years ago and I have returned to the school numerous times since then!!!)
I would love the opportunity to come to your school or kinder. Check out workshop options here

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