Searching for Storytellers

Jen with Students photo by Pioneer PressThe Pioneer Press wrote about my writing residency with the Chippewa Hills School District. Here’s an excerpt from that article:

Molding students into storytellers in four days can be a difficult task, Strauss said, but seeing them develop their writing and storytelling skills is one of the things she looks forward to.

“I think they feel empowered when they learn that they have important stories to tell,” she said. “The challenge is getting them to open their eyes and ears and listen to stories that their classmates are telling and discover that they have so many of their own stories to tell.”

Each day Strauss will teach students a new step in the process of writing a story, which include gathering story ideas, organizing those ideas, tweaking and editing their story and presenting their story to classmates and parents. Strauss also uses storytelling as a springboard to support state writing and curriculum goals.

The encouragement Strauss offers students, fifth grade teacher Kathy Cox said, is the most important part of the process in developing young storytellers.

Strauss began that process on Monday by sharing several stories from her life as examples to show students that their stories are important.

“She has a wonderful approach of getting the kids engaged,” she said. “I think by telling them her stories, the students realize the similarities between stories from their lives.”

Click to read the full article (PDF)