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Story Telling

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Keywords: English, story telling, performance
Subject(s): English/Language Arts, Social Studies, Art, Social Skills, Special Needs
Grades 9 through 12
School: Brooklyn Theatre Arts , Brooklyn, NY
Planned By: Suzanne Nelson
Original Author: Suzanne Nelson, Brooklyn

What are the features of story telling and how can we use those features as a guideline for performance?

Have you ever had an experience with story telling? Has someone ever told you a story? Have you ever told someone a story?

Discuss students' answers, then ask if there's a difference between telling a story and story telling.

Introduce the five features of story telling:
1. tells a story (beginning, middle, end)
2. uses language
3. incorporates vocals, gestures, movements
4. interactive (teller & audience)
5. audience is inspired/required to use imagination

Show video clip of a story telling performance.
What happened in the beginning of the story? the middle? the end?
When did the teller's voice change and what did it add to the story?
What gestures did you notice? movements?
How did the teller get the audience to interact?
Did the story help you, the audience, create a picture in your mind?

Group Work:
Students are divided into groups of 3. Each group is assigned a fable.
After reading the fable, the group divides the story into 3 parts (beginning, middle, end) and each student in the group chooses one part.
One at a time, each group member takes a turn to read his/her part aloud, while the rest of the group listens as the audience.
After each member reads - vocals, gestures, and movements are decided upon by the group and added.
Groups practice their performances.

Groups take turns presenting their story telling performance to the whole class.

Performances are recorded (video, audio) as first drafts.
These recorded performances are viewed to help students revise and improve final drafts/performances.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Global Studies:
Each group is assigned a short story originating from a different region (i.e. African Trickster tales, Asian fables)and a description of story telling rituals specific to that region/culture (i.e. African griots, Asian Chuang)
Students can create props, costumes for their performances.
Social Skills/Character:
Discuss reasons for story telling (tradition, education, bonding, community building) and proper audience behaviors (patience, active listening, eye contact).
Podcast final performances
Add video clips of performances to school's web page
Materials: Digital SLR, Web Page, Podcasting, Digital Voice Recorders