Thursday, March 19, 2015


Kamishibai (kah-mee-she-bye) a form of storytelling, is also known as traveling paper theater.  Kamishibai was a well-loved form of entertainment for children in Japan, mainly from the 1930s to the 1950s. As television become more popular in homes, Kamishbai became a thing of the past. Allen Say writes a great book to introduce young learners to this unique form of writing called, Kamishibai Man.

Using Kamishibai in the classroom can be an enriching experience for all learners. Kamishibai can be used to develop writing skills at a variety of levels. Another great aspect of using Kamishbai in the classroom is that it uses oral, visual and print methods of literacy.

We (my 2nd grade students and I) team up with our 4th grade writing buddies to teach this fun writing unit. We meet for as many consecutive days as our schedules allow, usually for 45 minute time blocks. Our 4th grade buddies introduce this unit to the 2nd graders by presenting some real Kamishibai stories (you can purchase these on The students are divided into groups of 5 or 6 depending on class size. By the end of the unit we usually have 8 to 9 completed stories. The students are exposed to the writing process, from generating ideas, developing setting and characters, using a story mountain graphic organizer, writing and illustrating their rough drafts, to a final typed and illustrated Kamishbai story which they then orally present in front of a large group of students and parents.

practicing how to use the Kamishbai frame

glimpse of rough draft story

rough draft of illustrations/slides

creating the artwork

working on more artwork

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