As a teacher who is always looking for brilliant stories for assemblies, imagine my delight when I stumbled across a book with exactly that title! Paul Urry, an experienced primary school teacher and natural storyteller, has drawn on a variety of material to produce Brilliant Stories for Assemblies, a book containing 60 stories which aim to capture the interest of 7 11 year olds. After a brief introduction, the book is divided into four sections: Cultural stories; Religious stories; Moral stories; and Historical stories. To support the Cultural, Religious and Historical stories, a list of useful websites is included at the back of the book, providing additional background information for teachers and access to a bank of photos, pictures and maps. Each story concludes with ‘Follow-up questions’, which can be developed into prayers or reflections as an appropriate close to an assembly. By their very nature the stories can also be used within a PSHE programme as they make a positive contribution to the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils. One of the major strengths of this book lies in its ability to appeal to such a vast audience. In addition to attracting those of various religious and cultural backgrounds, and incorporating moral stories which are always a popular feature of assemblies, it is encouraging to see the inclusion of historical stories which have direct relevance to the Key Stage 2 curriculum, reminding us that assemblies can and should be an educational experience. The ‘Religious stories’ include examples from the six main religious traditions, with a focus on the acts, words and decisions of the main figures in each religion. While one would not dispute the importance of Muhammad within Islam, it is interesting that Paul Urry has chosen to use five of the eight Christian stories to focus on the lives of the saints. The central figure of Christianity, Jesus, is confined to only three of these stories, and even then the chosen examples are not those that one would necessarily expect: The rich man and the beggar; Miracle: Ten healed of leprosy; and Palm Sunday. While ‘Moral stories’ are likely to be the most popular choice, the scope of the stories covers a broad range, from the familiar ‘Rama and Sita’ to the more obscure ‘Greyfriars Bobby’. Each is brief and to-the-point, making them ideal to be read aloud to large audiences. One of their main selling points lies in the fact that they require pupil participation, although how much partaking can be achieved with a map or picture is perhaps debatable. Paul Urry recognises the potential of interactive stories as a ‘powerful and immediate way of conveying emotions, situations and information’ (p4). Therefore, props are outlined as a necessary ingredient in the majority of his stories. –Karen Van Coevorden, South Park Primary School, Redbridge and Redbridge
Brilliant Stories for Assemblies contains over 60 stories for 7-11 year olds written by Paul Urry, an experienced primary school teacher and natural storyteller. Paul has the gift of choosing the right words and subject matter to capture pupils’ interest and inspire them. The stories are divided into four categories: * Cultural stories from around the world * Religious stories from the six main religions * Moral stories including bullying, birth of a sibling, racism and disability * Historical stories, linked to the Key Stage 2 history curriculum The stories can be used at specific times of the year, when issues arise or whenever you are suddenly called upon to do an assembly! Many can also be adapted for class assemblies or different key stages. Each story ends with suggested questions, which can easily be refined into prayers.
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Brilliant Stories for Assemblies contains over 60 stories written by an experienced primary school headteacher and natural storyteller. Paul Urry has the gift of choosing the right words and subject matter to capture pupils’ interest and to inspire them.The stories in Brilliant Stories for Assemblies are divided into four sections:Cultural stories from around the worldReligious stories from the 6 main religionsMoral stories including bullying, birth of a sibling, racism and disabilityHistorical stories, linked to the Key Stage 2 history curriculumThe stories can be used at specific times of the year, when issues arise, or whenever you are suddenly called upon to do an assembly! Many can also be adapted for class assemblies or for different key stages. Each story ends with suggested questions, which can easily be rewritten as prayers.