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Creating & Performing Stories

The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon.-Brandon Sanderson

 

 

Storytelling, like spoken word poetry, allows students to produce a spoken text for an audience of peers and adults. Storytelling is crafted and stories are often personal in nature.

 

Immersion:

Give students plenty of opportunities to listen and discuss great stories, such as the following stories performed for The Moth.

Prom by Hasan Minhaj

Is Your Dad Single? by Erin Barker

The Secret Letter by Paola Ayala

First Kiss by Eve Engel

 

Use these storytelling analysis questions to engage students in thinking critically about the stories and how they are performed. Invite students to also note and collect the techniques used by storytellers.

Creating Stories

Use the production process to brainstorm, draft, edit, and refine personal stories.

Have students choose a Moth story that they particularly like and use it as a mentor text. They might try using a similar structure for their own stories.

A Great Story Must: Here is a compilation of tips for storytelling. Share some or all of these tips with students, engaging them in an ongoing discussion of what they believe makes a story great.

Have students rehearse their stories with the help of the Tips for storytelling Sheet. Offer ample opportunities for students to receive peer/teacher feedback.

Performing Stories

Arrange for live performances, where students can see the impact of their stories on their audience members. Record live performances for secondary sharing and so that students can listen to their stories later. 

Discuss the fertile ground of vulnerability; work to help students see vulnerability as a strength in storytelling, and to value this strength in each other. Students who feel uncomfortable sharing personal stories might choose share a story about a more neutral topic.

Additional Resources:

The Moth website offers examples of stories performed by youth and adults.

Confabulation is a local storytelling group. Storytellers can apply to perform at their monthly events.