Introduction to Storytelling

by Ashlyn Anderson

Introduction to Storytelling

By Ashlyn Anderson






45 minutes



2014 National Theatre Arts

  • Anchor Standard 3: Refine and complete artistic work.
    • TH:Cr3.1.5.a. Revise and improve an improvised or scripted drama/theatre work through repetition and self-review.
    • TH:Cr3.1.5.b. Use physical and vocal exploration for character development in an improvised or scripted drama/theatre work.
  • Anchor Standard 4: Select, analyze, and interpret artistic work for presentation.
    • TH: Pr4.1.5.a. Describe the underlying thoughts and emotions that create dialogue and action in a drama/theatre work.
    • TH: Pr4.1.5.b. Use physical choices to create meaning in a drama/theatre work.
  • Anchor Standard 6: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.
    • TH: Pr6.1.5.a. Present drama/theatre work informally to an audience.
  • Anchor Standard 7: Perceive and analyze artistic work.
    • TH:Re7.1.5.a. Explain personal reactions to artistic choices made in a drama/theatre work through participation and observation.


Utah State Core: Theater – 5th Grade

  • Standard 1: Playmaking
    • The student will plan and improvise plays based on personal experience and heritage, imagination, literature, and history for informal and formal theatre.
      • Objective 3: Describe and explain plot structure in terms of conflict.


Utah State Core: English Language Arts Grade 5

  • RL 2: Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
  • RL 5: Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.
  • RF 4: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.
    • Read grade-level prose and poetry orally with accuracy, appropriate rate, and expression.


Big Ideas:

  • Storytelling
  • Story Structure
  • Story Maps
  • Tableau/Still Image
  • Character
  • Emotion
  • Expression


Essential Questions:

  • Why are strong acting choices essential to interpreting a drama or theatre piece?
  • What happens when theatre artists share a creative experience?
  • What are the components of an effective story?


Enduring Understandings:

  • Theatre artists make strong acting choices to effectively convey meaning.
  • Theatre artists share and present stories, ideas, and envisioned worlds to explore the human experience.


Prior Experience:

It is helpful if students have already explored and selected their stories for the storytelling unit. If they bring copies of their stories to class, students will have an easier time creating their story maps and rehearsing.


Author’s Note:

Lesson 1: Story Maps

Lesson 2: Character Voices

Complete lesson plans are included in the attachment.


These lessons are intended as an introduction to a storytelling unit to prepare students for an event such as Utah’s Timpanogos Storytelling Festival or the Jordan Schools District Story Weaver’s Festival. Teachers should have copies of published folk tales, fairy tales, myths, legends, fables, and tall tales available for students to select their stories. After learning how to map the beginning, middle, and end of a story in these lessons, students should be prepared to map their own selected stories and begin rehearsing for the festival.


Guidelines for the story festival might include

  • Stories must be told from memory and not read aloud.
  • Stories should be 3-5 minutes long.
  • The story must be a published folk tale, fairy tale, myth, legend, fable, or tall tale.
  • The story should have a recognizable beginning, middle, and end with supporting details.



Storytelling Lessons.Ashlyn Anderson