This lesson came at the end of a ten week course focused on extensive community building and empathy-related lessons. We started the class with a unit on Identity and returned to this theme by tying their identities to moral action. I wanted students to see that their stories of action or inaction could be used as tools to motivate, inspire and connect others who may not have had the opportunity to think about world events like they had in this course.
This lesson is a part of a three step organizing model that I experienced once and then adapted from the creators. It begins by learning how to tell your Story of Self, then a Story of Us and the Story of Now. I focused just on the Story of Self because when students learn to tell their experiences in a powerful way, they are often heard.
This is an open response to the prompt. Students don’t interrupt one another or respond to each other. Silence is fine.
Story of Self (10 minutes) – Why are we telling the story of Self?
Introduce Story of Self organizer
Students will read and fill out portions where they are asked questions.
Before students start creating their own story, stop where it discusses challenges.
Identify Your Values (15 minutes)
Introduce Values-Emotions-Actions Organizer
This is helpful for students to identify what kinds of things are imbedded in stories. They can also identify which values or emotions they want to convey
Practice (15 minutes)
Introduce an external story so students can practice identifying the parts the story "Challenge-Choice-Outcome"
In this story, students will also identify the emotions and values the person sharing is trying to evoke and the action they want their listeners to take
You can also have a conversation about whether or not it was effective.
Create Your Story (10 minutes)
Return to the Story of Self Organizer
The last page is a template for how to get started.
Remind students of what worked or didn’t work in the story they heard
Also, students can decide on a story now and realize later its not the one they want to share but encourage them not to strike anything down just yet.
Have students write their stories out
Once students are done, tell them they will do a practice run. Review the feedback checklist with them. Ask them, “Which of our class agreements will be important to uphold during this process?” “Why are we doing this again?” Ensure that you give students time to really process this, because if you want to have students really share out, they need to feel confident that their stories will be respected.
Share the Story (time depends on student numbers- you can also do some small group presentations)
- Pair and Share with feedback
- 2 minutes - share their story
- 3 minutes for feedback
- Next student
Debrief (5 minutes)
What will you do to improve your work based on the feedback?
Revise (20 minutes)
Revise your story using the feedback you received
Final Presentation & Reflection
This again depends on how many students you have. I recorded the videos so that I could share them with students later.
Reflection – Why is important to tell your story in a compelling way? Which story motivated and inspired you to make moral choices? Why?
Extensions and Adaptations
Some feedback I received from the students was that they needed another area to write down what they would change after receiving the feedback in the first round. I might change the organizer for feedback so that it included a place for them to write suggestions, not just simply what others heard. What’s more, they wanted a place to reflect on whether or not what others heard was what they really trying to communicate. This would have made the second round of stories stronger.
Related Links and Resources
Peer Coaching Dos and Don'ts
Eagle Rock - Values Emotion Action Worksheet
Story of Self Toolkit http://workshops.350.org/toolkit/story/
Barack Obama’s Story of Self, DNC 2004 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awQkJNVsgKM
Arn Chorn Pond: Everyone Has a Story http://www.facinghistory.org/node/1055