The Art of Storytelling as Curriculum

Our humanity is expressed through our stories.

More than ever before educators are in the look for different ways to engage their students by telling their own pieces of stories each class they meet their students, but they are also aiming to help their learners to tell their own stories. By doing that, a transformative type of teaching tend to come on the scene.  A deeper connection among everyone in the classroom starts to emerge with learning in the intersection of emotions, people, content and context. Magic happens then.

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Just this week, I came across this wonderful resource that was made available for free via Khan Academy, The Art of Storytelling by Pixar team. What I love about it is that there is already a established instructional route that can be added to your curriculum, or you can get some of its bits to inspire some new activities in your lesson plan.

I can only envision students developing their creativity and ingenuity by following the suggested sequence of activities. And if you say that there’s no time for such addition in your packed lesson plan sequence, what if you got just one of the suggested activity and adapted it to the tasks you’re planning for the week, like this What If… Activity they suggest in the online course?

There’s no excuse for not reviewing our own curriculum with a dose of new approaches to tasks with such a vast number of free and cool resources we have a click away.

Here are some other resources on storytelling that you might want to take a look to make it part of your class:

https://www.21things4ipads.net/digital-storytelling-7.html – ideas & lesson plans for digital storytelling using apps

https://showwithmedia.com/digital-story/ – Wesley Fryer’s has a nice collection of resources for digital storytelling with links, ideias, apps

https://50ways.wikispaces.com/ – An impressive collection of tools for storytelling by Alan Levine; some years ago he started a project called 50+ web ways to tell a story, which evolved throughout the years into a very useful resource for educators

https://storycorps.org/discover/education/lesson-the-power-of-active-listening/ – Storycorps is an amazing stortytelling project; the audio stories are touching, amazing. Now, they have the StoryCorpsU for schools and here’s an example of a lesson plan that you can use.

https://www.npr.org/series/4538138/this-i-believe – In the This I Believe NPR series, famous people and the unknown shared their core beliefs in their daily lives. Very powerful stories that can be used as springboards for discussions in the classroom. My favorite one? Isabel Allende’s story of grievance over her daughter’s death.

 

Carla Arena

Carla Arena is a social entrepreneur, educator by choice. She left a promising career in the public service to become an English teacher and got the chance to take roles she could have never imagined, such as site content manager at the Binational Center she worked for, Casa Thomas Jefferson. There, she was also the Supervisor of Educational Technology, and more recently Coordinator of Innovation and Technologies. Carla is a Google Innovator and educational technology consultant. Currently she innovates in her own business, AMPLIFICA (https://amplifica.org).

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