Storytelling Classes

Storytelling classes can be a lot of fun, and very educational, if done the right way. When was the last time you heard someone regale an epic yarn? Do you remember those nights around the campfire telling scary stories? Or maybe it was a friend who told you a funny story about their last trip to the grocery store.

10320977_970388956364778_1136815309340050985_oStorytelling is a unique way to blend reading, writing, and speaking together for your students. It can be a very beneficial, creative, and a fun couple of days to create lessons centered around storytelling.

First, entertain your students

You can do this by showing them how storytelling is done. Either tell them a story yourself, read them one of your favorite poems or stories in a book, or play some famous (or not so famous) storytellers online. I recommend ‘The Wasteland’ by T.S. Eliot or ‘The Moth’—a community and collection of amateur storytellers online.

Even if the students don’t understand all the words spoken at least they will hear the range of emotion, tone, and speed and see the facial expression, hand movements, and nuances in language, accent, and body movement in a different culture and language.

Find a fun story, a scary story, a somber story, anything to get them excited!

Get them to begin writing their own stories

Will you set a theme? Maybe show them some pictures? Break them into groups and play an ESL game like the telephone story game, perhaps—one group does an intro sentence, the next thinks of a problem, then finally a solution and end to the story?

Maybe you have writing prompts? Whatever you decide, the students will need to understand the basic structure of the story and elements they need within the story. The introduction, the rising action, the falling action, and the solution.

They will need characters and a setting in the beginning, and something for those characters to overcome together. Maybe you have a story the students can mirror or set up a story map for them to mimic. Once they have a story arc filled out, they are ready to fill in the blanks!

Have them write a rough draft of the story

Get them used to the revision process. Use editing symbols so they can figure out their mistakes and how to fix them on their own. If they are missing parts of the story, ask them what they think and help them write it out.

Students may have problems with knowing what words to use, I always had my students describe the word to me and we would figure it out together. It might be helpful to have a dictionary and thesaurus on hand as well.

Dont forget about fun!

When the students are finished writing and correcting, have some fun! Allow volunteers to the front of the class to read their masterpiece! Get them to read with the same emotion as our sample storytellers, let the class vote on who’s story is the best, funniest, or craziest.

If you have time, let your students memorize part of their story and add actions and more emotion!

Storytelling can be a great culmination of numerous language pattern skills—try a couple lessons with your students!

Have you ever ran a storytelling class? How did it go? Do you have any of your won hints and tips that you would like to add to this article? Let us know in the comments section below.

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