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November 18, 2017
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Stillwater News

Students build LEGO scene
Morgan Zuzick (left) and Kelly Powell (right) put the finishing touches on their LEGO scenes.

Students type out story on iPad
Paige Womble (left) and David Wagner (right) type their story on a school iPad.

Using LEGOS to build a story

Third-grade students employ their favorite toys
as a foundation for writing

May 31, 2013 – It all starts with just one colorful LEGO piece. It’s then followed by a group of students working together to carefully construct a LEGO scene complete with characters, props and buildings. The artfully crafted scene becomes the inspiration for an entire story.

“LEGO StoryStarters is such a great tool to use with students because it’s so engaging and hands-on,” said Madison Ramnes, third-grade teacher. “It’s been especially helpful for students who have a hard time coming up with writing ideas. With this program, students look at the different scenes and let their imagination take over. They don’t focus on the act of starting to write as much, they just write.”

Students Morgan Zuzick and Kelly Powell wrote a story together about a guard who watches over the Princess’s room and about King Sus (the princess’s father) who eats a poisoned apple from an evil villager. The story ends with the evil villager sitting in jail—and if you looked at the students’ LEGO scene you’d actually see the villager in the jail.

“Using LEGOS is kind of creative and it’s really cool,” said Morgan. “I like it because there’s no one telling us what story we have to do.”

Classmates Paige Womble and David Wagner wrote a separate story about a king who goes into the forest to find the witches who are trying to take over the kingdom.

“It’s easier to come up with a story idea,” said Paige. “The easiest part is making a LEGO scene, and it’s the most fun.”

David added that he loves LEGOs, in fact, he plays with them every day at home.

After students handwrite their stories, they type them on the computer and use the school’s iPads to take pictures of their LEGO scenes. The students then record themselves reading the story aloud and put the complete package together. Doing this allows students to easily share their stories with each other as well as read, listen and look at the LEGO scenes all at once.

Ramnes’ class was the first to pilot the LEGO StoryStarters program at Stillwater Elementary School. Her class will eventually partner with another third-grade class to teach them the process.

The Stillwater Educational Foundation awarded the LEGO StoryStarters grant to Assistant Principal John Powell. It ties directly to the Common Core Learning Standards, with a focus on reading and writing for comprehension.

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