1. Create a story chain. Perhaps my YouTube colleagues and I can inspire your students. This week we released a collaborative playlist for World Storytelling Day 2016. We each told part of a story. You might like to do something similar if you’re in a classroom setting. You could also turn this into a writing assignment. Use a Google doc and establish the order of storytellers. Set a minimum and maximum length. Students can see your comments and make revisions. Bring the final draft to class and read the story aloud.
2. Inspire a story with pictures or props. Many of us need a source of inspiration to get started. A few years back, I suggested using a grab bag of props. You conveniently have the option of selecting the objects (or images) with care. You can intentionally steer students toward target vocabulary. You might add the challenge of telling the story in the present or past tense. If you work with props, leave each one on a desk visible to everyone once it is mentioned in the story.
3. Build around target structures. Sometimes limiting the creative challenge and raising the bar for grammar use is what’s called for. Let students know there’s a reason for incorporating a story in the lesson. It’s not purely for fun. You can try a gapped narrative or text manipulation.
4. Embrace the art of oral storytelling. Use the concentric circle format where listeners stand on the inside and speakers stand on the outside. Have speakers tell a real life example of a strong woman, which is the official theme of World Storytelling Day 2016. I’ve heard variations of this activity, but the basic idea is to let a speaker tell a story three times. With each turn the time limit decreases as fluency increases. You might use a 3 minute > 2 minute > 1 minute format with advanced students. For intermediate students you might expect shorter narratives, so 2 minutes > 1 minute > 30 seconds could work. Then have the two circles switch roles.
Got another idea? Please share it. Happy World Storytelling Day!