Saturday, March 9, 2013

Why are stories important (part 3)

Welcome to Part 3 of our Grade 5/6 inquiry project exploring the essential question, "Why are stories important?" 

During Part 1 and Part 2 of this inquiry, students explored the following key questions:
  • Why are stories told and retold?
  • How are stories told?
  • How do we decide what and whose stories to tell?
As our inquiry project moved into the third phase, we wanted our students to better understand historical perspective

"Taking historical perspective means understanding the social, cultural, intellectual, and emotional settings that shaped people’s lives and actions in the past. At any one point, different historical actors may have acted on the basis of conflicting beliefs and ideologies, so understanding diverse perspectives is also a key to historical perspective-taking. [...]  Indeed, taking historical perspective demands comprehension of the vast differences between us in the present and those in the past." (
Guiding this third part of the inquiry was our central question, "What would this story sound like and look like if someone else told this story?  How did the values, beliefs, and social and cultural settings of the past shape the story?"

We wanted our students to step out of their own thinking.  Rather than presenting the story from our current values,beliefs and understandings, we asked them to take on a historical perspective pertaining to the story of Ruby Bridges based on their understanding of the values of that period of history.  We asked them to think about all the 'actors' involved from protestors, marshalls, reporters, community members, other parents and students, or Ruby and her family.  Then students were asked to tell the story from that perspective.

Students created a VOKI avatar to share this historical perspective.  We were proud of the student engagement and understanding of historical perspective.  As you view, please remember that this is not representative of the values and beliefs of our students today, but those of the year 1960 in New Orleans.

Here is one example of our students' creations.

For further examples, visit our class VOKI webpage

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