What is Storytelling?

Lesson: 3

What is Storytelling?


Materials Needed:

Videos of Storytelling


Educational Objective:

Students will demonstrate their understanding of the principles of storytelling by practicing telling a personal story to their peers.


Hook: When the students enter the classroom, ask them to share experiences from the weekend and discuss how they do storytelling every day of their life. Then write the word Storytelling written on the board. Ask for a volunteer to come up to the board and write a list, and ask the students to shout out anything that they think of when they see the word storytelling.


Make sure to get words such as plot, audience, characters, gestures, intonation, personal stories, ghost stories, comedy, tragedy, fairytales, fables, flexibility, eye contact. Share this clip from Donald Davis that describes what he thinks storytelling is http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6I24S72Jps&list=PLEMcZCvqQkarvQmrWxUGLctnpdBB-AwUM


Step 1: Practice – Instruct that we are going to watch a several professional storytellers and as we watch students should take notes on techniques that they see the storytellers using:

– Bill Lepp http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hbarAW1Vxg

Ask students what type of story they think this is? What techniques did Bill Lepp use to capture his audience? How did his story utilize the story arc? What was Bill Lepp’s inciting incident, how do you know? What character did he create of himself? What specific gestures did he use to create a connection with the audience?


– Then show the clip from Bill Harley (no URL provided – YouTube has plenty of options)

Ask students what type of story they think this is? What techniques did Bill Harley use to capture his audience? How did he create distinct characters? What type of audience was he appealing too? How did he use facial expression and why?


– Then show the clip from Kim Weitcamp (no URL provided – YouTube has plenty of options)

Ask students what type of story they think this is? What techniques did Kim Weitcamp use to capture her audience? How did she relate a personal story to the audience? What details did she incorporate? Where you able to visualize her story? What was different about her story from the other two tellers?


Step 2: Discussion – Talk with students to discuss reasons that made these stories engaging? Why should storytelling be flexible? (What does this mean?)


Step 3: Practice – Have students get into partners and tell their stories to each other, the first time just using gesture to tell both of their stories and the second time they should vocalize their story. If any parts of the story were confusing to their partner have the partner explain what confused them and to also share any moments that they really enjoyed. After they perform have the students write down a reflection, it can be just bullet points, of what they want to keep and use in their performance and choose the story they are going to tell. Depending on time have them rotate partners and do it again.


Step 4: Assessment – Instruct that by the end of class students need to come and show you the basic plot for their stories and if there isn’t time then by next period they need to bring in written down plot points for their story. This will be worth 30/30 points.