Using games in education is all the rage these days, and we couldn't
be happier. It's hard to beat letting a person experience what they're trying to learn. Storytellers is a natural match for anyone teaching English, drama, public speaking, creative writing or improvisation.
In fact, the instructions include a chapter called "Suggestions for Educators and Parents", written by David Niecikowski, MAED/CI.
Click here for specific guidelines for using StoryTellers in a Creative Writing Classroom! Our guide takes you from setting up the game through facilitating it, and includes suggestions for discussions and follow-up classes.
Here's are some less specific ways that StoryTellers can help out.
From beginning to end, StoryTellers has been designed to encourage players to do well. Even better, players are encouraged to encourage. If you don't give those Bravo Chips away, for example, you'll lose points at the end of the game. Also, the game ends with Awards being voted on - four of them.
Well, I guess this one is pretty obvious. The players are telling stories. More than that, they're telling good stories. They're thinking about what goes into a good story. How can I change the mood of a story? How does adding a personal touch improve the story? Can I fit a rhyme in here? In the classroom, this makes for great lessons.
At least half of Storytelling is performance, and the game recognizes and encourages this. The recitation is a great chance to see your students perform. Even better: they're performing for Bravo Chips and Awards.
One great thing about this game is that the players have to listen to each other. I mean really listen. If you're not paying attention, your addition to the story won't make any sense. Even worse, when it comes time for the recitation, you're going to be really stuck. The recitation, by the way, builds another skill that is sometimes overlooked. Think about it: after listening to every one else speak, a player has to re-tell the story. It's not just listening and comprehension, it's rapidly processing the information.
That's what it's all about, right?
The storylines are all "G". The most suggestive of them is one where a person wakes up and he doesn't know whose bed he's in. That's it. There's no sex, drugs, swearing, or alcohol. And if you're really paranoid, it's easy to simply select the story line for your group ahead of time.
Here's one idea among several... Break the students into groups of five and give each group a copy of the game. Have every group start with the same storyline. Either use one of ours or one of your own (or even one from a book the class will be reading).
Have the students write notes about their stories as they play. Allow 10-15 minutes for everyone to play. After the time is up, either each group tell its story or (if there's not enough time for that), have them write them down.
You now have several stories that started from the same opening line. Look at them as a class. Can you tell what techniques were used in each story? Were they effective? Which story is the most compelling? The funniest? Why?