Storytelling: Tales of Everyday Life Learning Center

Overview and Objectives

Developed by the ECHO Storytelling Curriculum Committee, 2006

This is one in a collection of storytelling lessons. Some introduce students to narrative traditions and storytelling from Alaska, Hawaii, and other cultures through work with varied narratives, objects, and performance. In this lesson, students think about how everyday events can become stories. They discuss the use of journals and diaries, then look at several accounts of stories from the real-life experiences of voyagers from all over the world who traveled to the Arctic to hunt whales. The fourth lesson has students draw on their new understanding of different types of narratives to inspire and enrich their own work.

Objectives

Visitors to this Learning Center will:

  • Experience stories from a range of cultures and recognize both the commonalities and distinctions in styles and motifs of storytelling
  • Begin to gain understanding of audience, author, and viewpoint in the context of narrative
  • Begin to identify key aspects of narratives, such as character, setting, action, conflict, and resolution
  • Explore how events from everyday life can become stories
  • Look at how different types of narratives — a log entry, a newspaper article, and a painting can tell the story of the same event

Why are stories important?

Understanding and creating narratives is a fundamental literacy skill — it is also a universal human activity. When students work with written texts, recite or listen to stories, or present narratives through non-verbal means, such as art or dance, they are learning to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate their world. Teachers can build rewarding experiences for students that activate their natural love for and interest in stories. They can do this in a way that expands children's fluency and confidence with language, as well as their respect for the rich diversity of narrative approaches and language use across cultures. As students experience narratives from different cultures, they gain perspectives on people and stories in worlds that may be unfamiliar. This will be valuable to students in many ways, for example by helping them bring a sense of perspective to their own culture and stories.

One theme woven through these four lessons is the diverse nature and form of narratives. All of the narratives presented in these lessons draw on the great range and variety of stories related to cultural resources available to teacher and student alike. Remember that although the term "narrative" is frequently applied to written texts and oral stories, narratives may also be inherent in a painting, a dance, an object, or a historical record.

To check out more storytelling lesson plans, go to:

Storytelling: Writers' Workshop Lesson Plan

Storytelling: Performance and Art Lesson Plan

Storytelling: Oral Traditions Lesson Plan