Summer Stories (and homework)

“But we all have stories, right? They might be milk-snorting-out-of-your-nose funny ones, or listen-to-how-cool-and-awesome-we-are ones, or come-close-so-we-can-whisper-in-your-ears- juicy ones. They might be old favorites or stories about new experiences. But no matter what, our stories are unique, just like we are.”

That is how Ellen Oh introduces the collection of stories in Flying Lessons and Other Stories that she edited for young people. It captures part of the reason that as human beings we are storytellers and story listeners — stories are a critical way that we learn about the world, make sense of our experiences, and develop empathy.

Summer homework this year is all about stories.

Reading over the summer is essential to avoid a decline in reading skills that often happens over summer vacation. This is the homework that we take most seriously. All children should read and/or be read to often. There are a number of programs to encourage reading. (Children and teens can get a free book by participating in the Barnes and Noble summer reading program. The New York Public Library also offers a summer reading challenge and recommendations for great books.) Middle school students are expected to log the books they read and respond to one book. Instructions are on the school website.

Introducing the first annual PS/IS 276 Story Telling Contest!

 This year, we are also encouraging our students to become storytellers.

 Students can enter our contest to tell stories about what they are experiencing or learning over the summer. The story should have characters, a setting, a problem and a solution. Stories should also include, in some form, a reflection on what was learned: a moral can be embedded into the story, students can write a prologue or afterward, or they can document their learning in some other way. Creativity and clear self-expression is valued.

Story submissions can take multiple forms.

An important goal is that students practice crafting and telling stories of importance. Another goal for this work is that students explore their creative sides and develop interests. Some examples of story format include (but are not limited to….):

Video

  • Stop motion
  • Animation
  • Compilation of images (a la 5th grade documentaries)
  • Performance (get some friends together and act out a screenplay)
  • A video game

Text

  • A graphic novel
  • Fiction (short story or chapter book)
  • Poetry
  • Personal narrative

Audio

  • A song with lyrics performed and recorded (get a band together and record your work)
  • A podcast.

Visual

  • A painting, drawing, collage or series of art pieces
  • Three dimensional work (sculptural, diorama, 3 D printing)

First, second, and third place prizes will be awarded in the following categories:

  First place Second place Third place
Rising 1st – 2nd graders $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble $15 gift card to to Barnes and Noble $10 gift card to to Barnes and Noble
Rising 3rd – 4thgraders $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble $15 gift card to to Barnes and Noble $10 gift card to to Barnes and Noble
Rising 5th – 6th graders $25 gift card to Shake Shack $15 gift card to Shake Shack $10 gift card to Shake Shack
Rising 7th – 8th graders $25 gift card to Shake Shack $15 gift card to Shake Shack $10 gift card to Shake Shack

 

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