Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Guest Post by Christine Petrell Kallevig: Learning through Origami and Storytelling

Origami is the topic this week. Origami is fun, motivating and is great for all kinds of learning. Today’s post is written by Christine Petrell Kallevig. Christine is an author and professional storyteller who writes educational materials, children's fiction and Storigami (story + origami). She also makes school presentations to students, plus presents professional workshops for teachers.

Even though Christine travels the globe folding paper and telling stories, she did not learn Japanese paper folding techniques until she'd already written two novels. Origami hit like a lightning bolt, though, and completely changed the direction of her creative work.
Please visit Christine’s website, StoryTimeInk, to find out more.

Skills Enhanced By Combining Origami and Storytelling

1. Listening - All storytelling promotes listening skills. Paperfolding and other props add interest and grab attention, so that listeners are curious and motivated to pay even closer attention.
2. Right cerebral hemisphere visualization - Listeners imagine the scenes described in the stories and understand the symbolic representations of the progressive origami folds. This skill is integral to successful problem solving and all creative endeavors. When a mother asked Albert Einstein how she should help her son become a scientist, he said, “Read him the fairy tales.” When she asked what came next, he said, “Then have him read them again.”
3. Left cerebral hemisphere logic and language comprehension - Listeners understand the words of the story and the sequential paperfolding steps.
4. Multi-sensory, whole brain learning - Visual, tactile, and auditory senses are all combined to provide the right and left hemispheres with input, resulting in efficient and effective learning.
5. Memory - Short term memory is improved through paired associations (story events with folding steps) and multi-sensory presentations.
6. Fine motor - Manipulating paper provides practice for manual dexterity and eye/hand coordination.
7. Spatial relationships - Key components of paperfolding include concepts of direction (left, right, inside, outside, up, down, top, bottom), symmetry, and dimension.
8. Thinking/Problem solving (according to Bloom’s Hierarchy):
a. Knowledge - Learning about origami, the story elements, recognizing shapes, etc.
b. Comprehension - Understanding the relationship between the story and folding sequences, the motivations of the story characters, determining main ideas, etc.
c. Application - Folding the origami model according to the correct sequence, teaching or helping others learn to fold the model, etc.
d. Analysis - Comparing the story events to other situations, defining story elements, taking the origami models apart and rebuilding them, etc.
e. Synthesis - Creating new origami models, writing new stories about the characters, inventing new ways to use the origami, etc.
f. Evaluation - Deciding if the character did the right thing, determining reasons why the outcome was good or bad, explaining why the folding sequence works, etc.
9. Basic Subjects - The stories can be used as part of units related to holidays, animals, social customs or skills, science principals, current events, etc.
10. Math - Besides spatial concepts, origami also includes geometric shapes, angles, proportions, creating geometric solids, geometric concepts (perpendicular, parallel, intersect, bisect, vertex, apex line of symmetry, bilateral symmetry), fractions, measurement, and basic computations.
11. Social/Self-Concept - Helping or teaching origami to others, the joy of achieving a new skill, group cooperation, and learning a positive new hobby are all important to creating a positive social climate.
12. Creativity - Besides visualization and problem solving, new experiences generate new ideas!

Big thanks to Christine for this outstanding list. As I was researching books and information about origami, I knew it had great learning potential. I just didn’t realize how much!

Be sure to visit Christine’s website, StoryTimeInk, to find out even more. While you are there, check out her origami books and DVDs. 

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