The adventures of Bujji

Deepa Kiran

When we think of storytelling in the learning environment, we often think of pre-primary children and language development. Contrary to this opinion, storytelling is relevant for various age groups and varied learning requirements. However, in this part of the series we shall look at using storytelling at the primary level to teach a science concept.

water-cycle Story
Up in the bright blue sky, there once lived a white fluffy cloud called Bujji. She was very curious and really fond of moving all the time. She would go from here to there and there to here.
“Tee dee dum. Dara dum dum” Bujji sang and jumped as she moved.

One day she saw golden raindrops falling from the sky. Tapa Tapaa Tapa Tapaa, the raindrops fell. And she said, “Oh the rain looks so beautiful! How I wish…how I wish I could be the rain! “Just as those words left her lips, something magical happened. Tiding, tiding, ting. Bujji changed into golden raindrops and went falling down, down, down to the Earth. She was so excited and she clapped her hands and laughed in joy. “Oh I am so beautiful! I am the rain!’, she said.

As the raindrops fell on the dry Earth, Bujji saw a beautiful river flowing through the land. Jala, jalaa, jala, jalaa, the river flowed. And she said, “Oh the river looks so beautiful! How I wish…how I wish I could be the river!” Just as those words left her lips, something magical happened. Tiding, tiding, ting. Bujji changed into a long deep flowing river and went flowing through the lands. She was so excited, she clapped her hands and laughed with joy. “Oh I am so beautiful! I am the river!”, she said.

As the river went and joined the mighty blue sea, Bujji saw the sea in wonder, a gigantic beautiful blue sea, with strong waves going wusa, wusaa, wusa, wusaa the waves swept along. And she said, “Oh the sea looks so beautiful! How I wish…how I wish I could be the sea!” Just as those words left her lips, something magical happened. Tiding, tiding, ting. Bujji changed into the deep blue sea and washed her waves across the shores. She was so excited, she clapped her hands and laughed with joy. “Oh I am so beautiful! I am the sea!” she said.

As the sea sparkled Bujji saw the white clouds up in the sky. They looked like fluffy cotton balls. So beautiful! Gila, gilaa, gila, gilaa they floated in the sky. And she said, “Oh the cloud looks so beautiful! How I wish…how I wish I could be the cloud!” Just as those words left her lips, something magical happened. Tiding, tiding, ting. The Sun shone bright and Bujji went up, up, up into the sky. She changed into a white fluffy cloud.

She was happy as can be because she had become the most beautiful thing in the world. She had become herself. She was so excited, she clapped her hands and laughed with joy. “Oh I am so beautiful! I am the cloud Bujji!” she said.
“Tee dee dum. Dara dum dum” Bujji sang and jumped as she moved.

Activity: what and why?
Ask

Did you enjoy this story? What did you enjoy in the story? What did you like the most in the story?

While the aim of this story is to introduce a science concept to the child, it is important to stay with the joy and the imagination that the story offers. Let us not make the mistake of jumping into teaching the water cycle instantly using this analogy. It is important to remember that storytelling in this case offers (apart from many other things) the possibility of learning a science concept and more importantly the language tools required to express science concepts in English.

Child psychologists have observed that children with behavioural issues in middle school and high school often belong to the lot whose language development has not been addressed in the early learning and primary phase. Language learning problems lead to difficulties in comprehension and in expressing knowledge.

Thus, stories like this and their telling help children engage with scientific language in a joyful way. This can also be transferred to the actual science concept. Thus, children understand science and find ways to express their understanding of science concepts through storytelling.

So once the children become totally familiar with the story, you can then connect it with the science concept of the water cycle.

Movement-response
In the previous articles, we looked at how it is important to listen to the child’s responses patiently and without judgment. We also looked at the importance of allowing for art-based response such as drawing activity after the storytelling.

Teachers are encouraged to try this. Here we introduce another interesting alternative. After listening to the story, we can gather the children in small groups. One group being clouds, another rain drops, another river, sea, and the Sun. Each group has to be helped to come up with a small choreography/movement. Once all the groups are ready, the teacher (or child who feels confident and comfortable) narrates the story and according to the narration, each group comes and performs its part. And so we have a ‘water cycle’ dance ballet!

It is quite likely that the children will not forget the learning as they have moved, felt, imagined, and experienced the concept as a story and a dance.

Telling tips
1) Focus on getting the repetitions right because this refrain (like in poetry) adds to the beauty of the telling.
2) Bring out the sounds effects nice and clear and in a sing-song way “jala jalaa”, “tiding tiding ting”, etc. Children love it and it increases the recall value.
3) Look up at the ‘imaginary’ clouds, left to right to indicate a long flowing river, look far and wide with eyes open to show the expansive sea. These build the drama.

Hope you enjoy exploring this story. Do rehearse a few times well before sharing it with the class.
Happy storytelling!

The author is a storyteller, educationist, writer and voice-over artist. She holds storytelling performances with music and dance woven in. She conducts training workshops for teachers on the art of storytelling and using it in the classroom. She is also the founder of Story Arts India (www.storyartsindia.com), an organization that offers storytelling shows and training programs for children, teachers, parents and all storytelling enthusiasts. She can be reached at over2deepakiran@gmail.com. You can also visit her facebook page storyartsindiaofficial or view her storytelling videos on YouTube.