A glimpse of the future. Five year olds led the way with collaborative story telling between 2 countries.

We find when writing moves online, the connections between ideas and people are much more apparent than they are in the context of a printed book.

Bob Stein, Institute for the Future of the Book (words in bold for emphasis). Quoted in The future of writing is collaborative




The IDEA and the PEOPLE

Five year olds problem solve how to write a story between 2 countries.

We were approached by a class in Borneo Kinder Pris to write a story together. This integrates with our Language Arts focus on narrative fiction and our Unit of Inquiry,  different ways to communicate ideas and feelings. We knew a little about the class as they are one of our tweet buddies. We have seen their blog and made gifts for them.


Both classes brain stormed ideas for setting and characters. The children shared their ideas on Twitter and the Google doc. These ideas for  communication came from the children. Both classes  connected with the setting of a grave yard. Both classes shared photographs and videos of their field trips to grave yards. In affect they took a virtual field trip across countries and cultures.

These blog post document the field trip in Japan and Borneo

JAPAN:Finding inspiration for our collaborative story at the grave yard.

JAPAN:Collaborative story telling across 2 countries building shared understanding.

BORNEO: The field trip

The children have started to share plot ideas and the writing process has begun. My class are very aware of the other children. They want to take the other classes ideas and rework them. They want them to take our ideas and rewrite them.

We are writing as a class bouncing ideas off of each other. Collaboration begins in the classroom and moves beyond the walls.

This is the story so far…. to be continued


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2 Responses to A glimpse of the future. Five year olds led the way with collaborative story telling between 2 countries.

  1. Avatar of coxm coxm says:

    I’ve been thinking a lot about storytelling this year. It’s always been part of my teaching, but only in certain forms. In my first international school I encouraged Grade 6 to develop their own storytelling skills and invited a local storyteller to the class to offer further inspiration. They later turned their tales into picture books and narrated them to a Grade 4 class.

    It’s wonderful to read your post about younger students generating a truly collaborative, global project. I’m really interested to see how it develops (the next chapter…!) and I hope that in turn, your class can inspire our storytellers in Middle and High School. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Avatar of Clair Wain Clair Wain says:

    Dear Zoe
    I have really enjoyed hearing you talk and write so enthusiastically about your amazing collaborative story writing project. I have an emotional connection to many of the children in your class as they were in ELC last year and it is delightful to read about the ways in which they have grown during their time with you.
    Your project caused to me to reflect on our approach to global collaboration in the ELC. The example you have provided clearly illustrates the value of connection and I have wondered many times whether I am limiting potential learning with my class by not offering explicit opportunities for global collaboration. After much consideration I am still of the point of view that collaboration on a global scale would not have deepened the learning that has happened this year. In the ELC the children are learning to love and understand themselves as individuals, and then to operate as part of a group and to love understand others. This system of relationships then extends to include the E1 children, who share the ELC spaces, and then to encompass the wider community of the school. In building these firm foundations based on empathetic relationships, self-concept and the understanding the value of learning as a group, with and through others, I hope that we are paving the way for an effective journey into the future of virtual relationships and collaborative projects.
    What do you think? Would there be meaning in the children having global connections (other than the natural communication between families through Skype, Facebook etc…) before they come to Kindergarten?
    Thank you

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