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Snails, Snipping, and Stories

May 26, 2021 | Kristen Jordan

Our snail, Slivers, continues to be a great fascination and inspiration; children look for it whenever they have a moment.  In the morning, we often have to encourage them to put down the magnifying glasses and hang their backpacks up before they start observing (or sharing a book with) Slivers!

Children have been honing their cutting skills by working on cutting various shapes of lines. They have been enjoying this practice a great deal.

But how does snipping with scissors relate to the snail?  Children put their cutting practice to good use when they cut some snail slime they had painted into curvy trails, like those a snail might make.

The slime has joined their beautiful painted snails and then the children were drawn to admire their amazing work!

Each child has also made a clay snail so we have a lovely snail gallery to view.  

And in other exciting business in the classroom, children have been acting out the Frog and Toad story “The Lost Button”, which has been so engaging for them!  

Children are practicing listening to the story, dramatizing it, using props, and expressing the characters’ words with their voices.  Drama helps children to build self-control (waiting their turn and listening to others) and self-confidence (speaking their lines). Telling stories contributes to language development and it builds vocabulary.  Acting stories out also gives children practice with expression: verbal expression as well as body language and facial expressions.  All of these things contribute to being a strong communicator.

Children have considered where the story takes place (the setting) and have helped to construct the set using the hollow blocks.  They think about the characters and the sequence of events in the story.  Playing different parts can give children a perspective on the story.  All of this contributes to developing a sense of how narratives work, just as reading to children does.  However, drama is a more active way of participating in the narrative, and for some children, it helps them gain a better understanding of the way stories work.  All of this knowledge and experience will later contribute to reading with understanding. 

They are really enjoying this type of storytelling! 

Kristen Jordan

Teacher, Rivers Class

Kristen Jordan began helping at Mustard Seed School in 2006, after her daughter had been a student in the preschool. She substituted for many years in all grades; in 2011, she returned to the classroom and has been a teacher in The Nest ever since.

Prior to the birth of her daughter Clara, in 2002, Ms. Jordan worked in Brooklyn as a first grade teacher with the New York City Public Schools. During this time, her school collaborated with the Brooklyn Museum, and this work helped Ms. Jordan develop a real interest in the parallels between the process of making art and the process of writing in the classroom. She thoroughly enjoys teaching both art and literacy to preschoolers.

Ms Jordan’s background includes work with the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. While at Teachers College, she trained with esteemed educator and author Lucy Calkins. Early in her teaching career, Ms. Jordan did not think that she wanted to teach very young children but her view has changed! She now really enjoys and takes great interest in young children and their development.

Ms. Jordan enjoys reading, working out, hiking, cooking, and spending time with her daughter and family. Although she has lived on the East Coast for a very long time, as a native of Oregon, she really loves the mountains!

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