Creative Science School

Storyline Approach

All of the teachers at Creative Science School integrate aspects of the storyline method into their classrooms.

“Storyline is a structured approach to learning and teaching that was developed in Scotland. It builds on the key principle that learning, to be meaningful, has to be memorable, and that by using a learner’s enthusiasm for story-making, the classroom, the teacher’s role, and learning can be transformed. Storyline is a strategy for developing the curriculum as an integrated whole. It provides an opportunity for active learning and reflection as essential parts of effective learning and teaching. At the same time, it develops in learners a powerful sense of ownership of their learning.”

—The Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum

Storyline Is Constructivist

  • Presents constructivist theory in a practical form.
  • Uses collaborative story-making: teachers and students work together to devise main characters and often the direction the story develops.
  • Provides a meaningful structure for curriculum integration.
  • Builds up a relevant context for the application of basic skills including the use of technology.
  • Gives structures that provide freedom to develop sequentially to a satisfying climax or conclusion.
  • Encourages students to develop their own conceptual model first.
  • Includes people (characters) and their feelings to blend cognitive and affective learning.

Storyline Is Child-Centered

  • Gets children involved imaginatively and creatively.
  • Highly motivating and meaningful—gives child a sense of purpose.
  • Developmentally appropriate.
  • Values and builds on prior knowledge and the collective intelligence of the group.
  • Allows students to work at different skill levels.
  • Promotes cooperative learning, group work, and partnership.
  • Engages children in thinking, problem tackling, and decision-making.
  • Promotes ownership and responsibility for learning.
  • Values and presents student work attractively.

Storyline Is Reflective

  • Values process as well as content.
  • Provides a range of authentic assessment opportunities throughout the topic.
  • Promotes favorable attitudes towards learning, enhancing confidence and self esteem.
  • Encourages students to engage in self-assessment.
  • Provides children with a variety of audiences throughout the topic.

What You Will See in Storyline Classrooms

  • Problem solving is a clear focus of the program.
  • Children have extended work time.
  • Teachers guide children in identifying questions and problems to work on.
  • A wide variety of materials are available to play/work with during work time. They are available for several days in a row.
  • Most of the materials in the room are somehow related, which encourages children to experience the physical attributes of the objects in many ways and then to form relationships among the materials.
  • A unit of study permeates all activities and parts of the day.
  • The curriculum incorporates processes and broad concepts into the content.
  • Children and teachers discuss the records they make of ongoing work on a daily basis.
  • Cooperation and responsibility to the group are built into the day.
  • Units of study last several months.

Related Links

Constructing Knowledge in the Classroom

Constructivism and the Five E’s

Constructivist Learning Design

Storyline Design

Recommended Reading

Creating Worlds, Constructing Meaning: The Scottish Storyline Method

Jeff Creswell (Heinemann, 1997)

In Search of Understanding: The Case for Constructivist Classrooms

Jacqueline Grennon Brooks & Martin G. Brooks (Prentice Hall, 2001)

The Young Child as Scientist: A Constructivist Approach to Early Childhood Science Education

Christine Chaille and Lory Britain (Allynn & Bacon, 2002)

Circles of Learning: Cooperation in the Classroom

David W. Johnson, et al. (Interaction Book Co., 1993)

The Schools Our Children Deserve: Moving Beyond Traditional Classrooms and “Tougher Standards”

Alfie Kohn (Mariner Books, 2000)

Next you can

learn more about the elementary grades or
find out about the admission process.