Today I'm inviting you to become a story hunter or gatherer -- or both!
In TeachNow, Michele and I define the four levels of teaching as Information, Experience, Inspiration, and Transmission. We believe stories are a great way to incorporate all four levels when you are teaching.
But perhaps you don't see yourself as a "story teller" or feel you don't have any stories to tell or that you don''t have 'teaching stories' that neatly make your point.
Stories are what make us human. You tell them ALL THE TIME. Starting today, you are going to have story ears on and you are going to collect those tidbits for later use.
To do this, STOP being so literal about what a story is or what purpose it might serve.
Instead, collect every story fragment for a few days or a week - every little thing that happens to you or that you find interesting. It can be one line "The bird hit the window and the dog jumped up to see what it was." When you write down your story bits, they begin to ferment in your imagination. When you next need a story, you glance at your notes and viola! you see with a bit of tweaking you have the story you need.
This works so much better than looking for a story to make a certain point.
Remember, stories inspire your students to draw their own conclusions. Your stories do not need to spell things out - they need to invite discussion, reflection, emotion.
Here are few more ideas for story gathering:
Review your day for stories before bed and jot down enough notes down to remember what happened.
Look through family pictures and make notes.
Come armed with your notebook to all family reunions and phone calls.
Do a free write for 10 minutes using the prompt, "The stories I most cherish about my life include..." don't edit out the hard or ugly ones. Collecting them does not mean you have to use them, only that you are letting them feed your teaching imagination.
Yes, it is okay to collect other people's stories but PLEASE you must credit them and to do that, you must write down where you got the story or you will forget.
Stories are teaching's life blood -- they can illustrate information, create shared experience and suggest experiences to "unpack" the stories, they certainly inspire and also transmit emotion and energy.
Go get yourself some!
Alison Gresik is TeachNow student (http://www.gresik.ca) and she turned us on to a Studio 360 radio show on rebranding teaching. Why rebrand teaching? To help us think about it with new eyes -- which we can all benefit from!
The show is centered around the idea teachers aren't dictators of knowledge, but guides who help students connect the dots.Download the show here -- free and worth subscribing too!
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(who will give birth very soon)
P.S. Jen is teaching a brand new class starting tomorrow, The Shero's Journey (sorry guys, women only). The class is shaping up to be rich, deep and fun. It has low cost & free options. It's also a chance to see what I do as a teacher when teaching lots of brand new material. Please join me! Read about the it here.