Li’l Stories Launches a Fundraising Campaign for P.S. 43

Click image to hear The Caterpillar Goes Everywhere by 1st Graders at P.S. 43, December 2017

You’ve heard me talk about Li’l Stories quite a bit over the past few years, and many of you have helped me make the project a reality in 2015 via Kickstarter. After developing the language arts framework, the Li’l Stories team has started implementing it through our Labs, one-week storytelling programs at public elementary schools throughout New York City. We now have two teachers who run our Labs at schools and work closely with educators and students.

This past fall we started working with first and second grade classes at P.S. 43, using Li’l Stories for different curriculum units and learning goals. The fundamental skills that our Labs are founded upon are creativity and collaboration. These are not always evident in today’s classrooms, particularly in high-needs settings. Title 1 schools like P.S. 43 are one of the audiences we had in mind when we first developed Li’l Stories.

Children tell stories as a natural activity every day. It’s part of their spontaneous play, and they share ideas openly with each other without hesitation. In the classroom setting, however, the pressure to put ideas in writing often limits the creativity and imagination of young, emerging writers. The storyboarding activity of Li’l Stories is designed to nurture the whimsical nature of children’s story creation process.

The initial storyboards of first graders in our December Labs at P.S. 43 demonstrated that the string of events in children’s stories are often fanciful and outlandish, yet ultimately make sense. In the story “The Caterpillar Goes Everywhere,” a pair of collaborating students sketch the tale of a caterpillar that goes from his home to outer space in the morning, then returns home to watch TV and eat salami for dinner. There’s little concept of time and space, but it’s the students’ story, so why shouldn’t the caterpillar go to space after breakfast?

Teachers were impressed with the results and students had a lot of fun using storyboarding to develop their own visual narratives. We hope to continue our work with the P.S. 43 classes this spring. Contributions to our campaign will pay for materials and supplies (storyboards, Post-its, markers, custom materials), our Li’l Stories teachers, and custom development of our programs and tools. All donations are tax-deductible.

We’ve been inspired every time we work with the kids at P.S. 43, and we can’t wait for Li’l Stories to make more of an impact.

Collaborative Storytelling for Kids

Li’l Stories Lab: Animal Study, P.S. 3, February 2017

First posted on Learning through Stories, a publication by Li’l Stories.

Over the past year, as we’ve continued to expand Li’l Stories, we’ve developed several different collaborative storytelling Labs and worked with teachers at P.S. 3 to incorporate them into their curricula. The Labs are in-class enrichment programs, collaborations with teachers at elementary schools, art organizations, libraries and museums in New York City.

In the workshops, students engage in the collaborative process of creating a narrative, capturing it using the Li’l Stories app, and sharing it with the group. Labs can have a variety of outcomes from oral presentations to written narratives and story videos. The lesson plan of each Lab reinforces classroom topics and nurtures creative thinking, cooperative learning and digital literacy. Read More

Making a Difference in the New Year


Given all the twists and turns of the past few months, we’re wondering exactly what the rest of 2017 has in store. We know we’re not alone! We recently participated in the Women’s March in New York and were overwhelmed by the incredible passion and energy of our fellow marchers. The experience reminded us of the importance of civic engagement and the power that people have when they come together. As we continue to design projects related to education and publishing, we can’t help thinking about this spirit of engagement as a goal for our work. Collaboration is our favorite part of the design process, and good design—with the goal of elevating the lives of its users—is almost by definition democratic. Many of the projects we’ve worked on over the past year touched on these themes, and we hope to build on this aspect of our practice in 2017.

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Learning from Li’l Stories


First posted on Learning through Stories, a publication by Li’l Stories.

Since the launch of Li’l Stories earlier this year, we’ve been busy working on the next twists and turns of the storytelling project. We’ve fulfilled 99% of our Kickstarter rewards and have donated — thanks to our remarkable 144 Kickstarter backers and to you, friends of Li’l Stories — an astonishing 122 story pads to 12 elementary schools (encompassing 25 classrooms) and the Children’s Museum of the Arts.

Now, with students back in class for the fall, we’ve had a chance to see how Li’l Stories is coming to life as it is introduced in classrooms. We’ve learned a lot about how educators and parents are using the framework and would like to share these lessons and how they’ve helped pivot and shape our plans for the future. We hope you enjoy the read and might find a helpful tip if you’re using Li’l Stories with your students or child. Read More

A Year of Beginnings


Once upon a time—specifically, almost a year ago, in winter 2014—we had the idea for an educational framework that utilized the power of storytelling to help teach communication skills to children. A year later, Li’l Stories is being used by educators at several schools around the country. As 2016 begins, we would like to thank everyone who supported the project and helped make it a reality, especially those who backed our Kickstarter campaign, which exceeded its goal and was successfully funded at an incredible 143 percent! Your support has allowed Li’l Stories to reach thousands of students, giving them the opportunity to start the beginnings of their own narratives—as storytellers and lifelong communicators. Read More