I’m a Storyteller

Reading time: 2
Storyteller International


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
Read more about @TeacherToolkit

How do you capture students attention when the weather outside the classroom is unbearable?

This is a blog for every teacher who battles extreme weather conditions; teachers who are working hard to maintain students’ work ethic, whilst external conditions make learning difficult.

“Telling stories improves behaviour. Fact.”

Have you considered how you can grab your students’ attention with a story? Students will be putty in your hands as you drip feed more of the tale as the lesson goes on. Try it

Make sure misbehaviour has no place in your classroom. Lessons that are well-pitched, use imaginative teaching strategies. A colleague once told me to ‘tell the students a story’. I knew this subconsciously; but until I heard it out loud, I’d never really tried to make it part of my lesson planning.

I am showing my age here, but do you recall the introduction to Storybook International, the classic 1980’s television show for children? It was all about the lead character John, getting into the role. The opening lyrics are as follows:

“I’m the Storyteller, and my stories must be told. I have many stories, tales for both the young and old.

I have many voices to describe many places. Many names have I, and many faces…

In Russia I am Ivan; in Sweden I am Jan. In Germany I’m Johan; in America, I’m John.

From my many travels, I have gathered these tales, to teach you good sense, when all else fails…

Sometimes there are tears, sometimes there is laughter…”

Could we all become more like Storyteller John in all of our classrooms? Developing great lessons which are well judged by great and imaginative teaching; using methodologies to engage and enthuse. These can be planned, but typically can be sourced and deployed with confidence, as your experience develops.

How does it work?

As I discovered, the secret lies in delivering the intrigue at the start of the lesson (drip-feeding) and delivering the remaining parts throughout the rest of the lesson. Like it?

 Capture Students’ Imagination By

  1. Dress up in character.
  2. Presenting a bogus email/letter to the class outlining government changes ahead
  3. Puppets!
  4. Introduce news alerts at the end of each lesson – thus engaging students and ensuring they cannot wait for the next instalment.
  5. Pair up with a colleague and ask them to burst into your classroom to re-enact an objective.

Why not introduce a Mr. Benn style portal for a character change or a Jackanory approach to a sequence of lessons?

You can read more here. Let me know how you get on …



4 thoughts on “I’m a Storyteller

  1. I love a good bogus letter. It also gives me an opportunity to model good writing. I’ve never dressed up as a character before. I’m not sure if I’d have the conviction to pull it off. What if the children laugh at me?

  2. All good ideas!

    Incidentally, the original broadcasts of ‘Storybook International’ aired with the theme tune lyric,

    ” In Russia I am Ivan; in Sweden I am Jan. In Germany I’m Johan; in England I am John.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.