The Storyteller Project
with carbondale middle school
Inspired by the themes of the novel Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan, students interviewed four members of the community about times in their lives they faced big changes and challenges. Students recorded these interviews and used them to create narrative writing pieces aligned with 5th grade academic standards.
Elizabeth Hazle, 5th grade language arts teacher from CMS
70 5th graders!
Renee Prince from VOICES
Three weeks between Holiday Breaks
November & December 2016
1. Community Connections
The interview process engaged students in a real-world, authentic way, giving them the rare opportunity to ask adults about difficult times in their lives. Likewise, community members connected to CMS in a very unique and meaningful way.
In preparation for and during the interviews, students were challenged to pay attention to their own feelings, the feelings of the Community Storytellers, and the feelings of their classmates. The writing portion of the project focused on using sensory details to connect to other's experiences through the five senses.
2. Empathy Growth
3. Academic Standards
The following 5th grade writing standards were learning targets for this project:
- Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
- Use narrative techniques such as dialogue, description, pacing to develop experiences and events.
- Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.
Student writing demonstrated growth in each of these standards, but the most common improvement was student understanding and use of sensory details to "show not tell" the events and characters' feelings in their stories.
Partner with us
We can design a Storyteller Project to meet the needs of your school, classroom, or community organization. Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org