Tuesday, May 4, 2010


The second of Daniel Pink’s six senses, or essential aptitudes for success is story. As a former high school English teacher, and current Literacy Coach, this was a HUGE one for me.

Story: Anyone can argue a point, but in order to effectively persuade and communicate, you need to develop a compelling narrative.

Pink says story is integral to human experience. (p.101) It’s how our minds work – how we remember. If we are able to place facts in context and deliver with emotional impact, then we have a good story. (p.103)

Some things to try:

  • Visit storycorps.net, the largest oral history project of its kind, and listen to or post your own story. I could see this turning into a great memoir assignment for students.
  • Riff on opening lines from a novel (p.124) – Write compelling first lines on index cards and have students use them as story starters or a springboard for their own story. 
  • Photo finish (p.104) – Choose a picture as a story starter. Students can create the back story that may not appear in the picture. I’ve done this before by collecting interesting pictures from magazines. 
  • Incorporate 21st Literacies by creating a digital story. I have a colleague who is a master at this.

These of course fit nicely with Writers’ Workshop, but are great stretches of our creativity too.

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