Google+ bakers and astronauts: Found Pieces and Storytelling

26 September 2010

Found Pieces and Storytelling

Wouldn't it be fantastic to find a place for all of the little extra things?  The stray puzzle piece, the lego that doesn't fit with the other ones, the nuts and bolts, the picture frames with no glass, what have you?

I'm thinking about a concept that Jules and I talked about when I offered her random pieces for her window display.  She told me to keep them - she always had a big jar of extra pieces that her boys dig into from time to time, and she uses pieces like that for a storytelling table at Turtlewings workshops.  What if we collected those empty pieces and put them in a place where they could be used?  What stories could come out of it?  What would the children design?  Who would use it and how?

I'm thinking of a nice long windowsill in the classroom that is basically asking for something like this.  I suppose this goes along with our abandoning of areas.  Little pieces on a windowsill that is just their height has potential, I think.


  1. I've always been a fan of little pieces on a windowsill. To me, they are like little altars to creativity.

  2. Our outdoor classroom, during these last six months, has become bestrewn with this kind of loose parts. It started with florist marbles, fairy figurines, corks . . . but as we've played out there, the adults and children keep adding all kinds of random pieces both accidentally and on purpose. There are craft sticks, cars and trucks, strings of beads, painted rocks, sea shells, pipe cleaners, lengths of string, miscellaneous small toys, paper clips, shards of terra cotta, and lots of baskets, buckets, dishes, and other collection boxes.

    I love how these objects are important for a day or a week, then recede into obscurity, disappearing between a pair of log rounds or under the sand, only to re-emerge unexpectedly, once more a treasure. I haven't yet used them or seen them used for storytelling, but those loose parts already tell a story of the children who have been playing there. I'm wondering what story they will tell five years from now.

    Thanks for this thoughtful post! =)

  3. I really like this idea Allie. We have a box of bits and pieces in our storeroom waiting for someone to find the time (ha!) to go through and look for homes for them. I wonder what the kids would do with them?

  4. I like the idea of using these for storytelling, too. I may need to add a container of "random objects" to my classroom.

    (When I read your post, I immediately thought of Teacher Tom's outdoor classroom - and I see that he commented about it, too.)

  5. Anonymous27.9.10

    Beautiful Stuff by Cathy Topal and Leila Gandini. You can combine this "treasure" of found materials with almost every art material to tell stories.

  6. Thanks for your comments. Three or four children have visited and revisited the windowsill already this week. I like how you talk about the comings and goings of these little pieces, Tom. There is a radiator next to this windowsill (and the magnet play involved with that is a whole other story), and I think we'll lose and find many objects as we play.

    And I love Beautiful Stuff! Such an inspiration.

  7. Allie,

    So wonderful, that you began a storytelling windowsill. You will now be amazed at how fast your collection of objects grows. Never again will you toss something out without thinking about it's beautiful potential... The children in our Atelier have been playing and redesigning the window display everyday. Last Friday, while they where playing there a small crowd of onlookers formed on the sidewalk. BRILLIANT! Love the engagement of windows.

    Love the video as well! Great way to document their storytelling and it's evolution.



Thanks so much for joining the conversation!

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