Power of Storytelling in 2nd grade : A Classroom Case Study

A UN International School

The United Nations International School in New York City has been educating children about ‘the world we share’ from 1947. The school was originally founded by UN employees looking for a more global education for their children.

The school’s mission statement underlines the strong focus on everything “Globe Smart”:

“Under the auspices of the United Nations and guided by its ideals, UNIS provides an inclusive and diverse learning environment in which rigorous international programs foster academic excellence, innovation, creativity and cross-cultural communication to educate and inspire its students to become an active force in shaping a better world: peaceful, compassionate and sustainable.”

Being an independent international school, teachers and staff are always on the look out for new tools and content to help teach their units.  Last school year, storytelling with One Globe Kids was one of them!

2nd graders share their personal story

In the winter of 2015-2016, all 105 second graders worked with One Globe Kids stories as input for their “The Power of Storytelling” unit. The Power of Storytelling unit was new this year. The team of five second grade teachers and staff collaborated to write the unit through an international lens while still keeping it child centered. This unit focuses on Enduring Understanding: learners understand that their personal stories help to express their identity and place in the world.

The story behind this unit is that people communicate meaning about their lives through story.  As learners conduct this investigation, they will consider themselves and the experiences they have had that have made them who they are today. They will think about their own personal identity and how this fits with their classmates, families and beyond.

As learners investigate these ideas, they will develop the skills of telling stories, emphasizing their own personal narratives and how this has made them who they are. They will also develop their ability to use maps and locate key information. Learners will develop the competencies necessary to write in the narrative genre. This will enable them to explain and present their experiences in an interesting and expressive way. This module will offer specific opportunities to consider other people’s perspectives and to develop their listening skills.

“One Globe Kids was a fantastic resource for this unit!”- Erin Hunter, 2nd grade teacher

Students travel the world from the comfort of the classroom

For about a month, the students used One Globe Kids both on their own and together, on the school’s shared notebooks. The students were able to choose which countries/kids they wanted to visit based on interest and personal connections. They used most of the features offered on the One Globe Kids Online platform and they loved it.

“It was very interesting to learn and explore about different countries.”

“The facts are interesting and seeing where a place is is interesting.”

“Nice to learn how to count and speak in a new language.”

“I like how the boy helped his parents.”

“It would be nice to be able to have a conversation with the kids and ask questions.”

The five second grade teachers really liked that the content of our One Globe Kids stories is about daily life activities. Students ‘visit’ their peers’ for example while they have friends over, go to the movies, go shopping and play. And they let us know they are looking forward to new additions.

“We loved One Globe Kids for this learning experience. It would be excellent if more stories and countries were added.”

More storytelling coming up!

Here at One Globe Kids we are excited to hear that the UNIS second grade teachers will use our materials for this same unit again in the upcoming school year. And they have many ideas to integrate our stories into the unit even more.

Thinking of having our J2 students create a slideshow set up the way One Globe Kids had theirs.”- Francesca Zammarano, technology teacher

Looking forward to see where the UNIS 2nd grade students travel next! And yes, we will work hard to have more friends to visit soon!

Stay Globe Smart, Sanny Zuiderveld


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