Student Engagement
12 Oct 2020

Story Time: Building Student Engagement

One of my favorite educational tools is a YouTube channel called Extra Credits. Made up of entertainment enthusiasts, the channel is dedicated to sharing mini lessons on history, literature, game design, and much more. I’m particularly fond of its history lessons. Not only do they cover a wide range of events, but they do so in the most extraordinary way.

They tell a story.

The narrator weaves a tale of suspense and heroism when covering the hunt for the Bismarck. They’ll make you laugh at the comedy of errors which created the South Sea Bubble. You’ll explore strange and exotic lands alongside adventurers like Ibn Battuta, and all the while, you’ll be learning. That’s the thing about stories, they stay with you. So why aren’t we utilizing them more in our classrooms?

What Do You Want to Say?

I’m convinced that almost every educator at some level can benefit from refining the skill of storytelling. As our world is becoming more and more commoditized, it’s the story that sets something apart. Take cell phones, for example. Just about any smartphone on the market has a slick touch screen that brings all the communication you could ask for to your fingertips. So why does one brand succeed when another doesn’t?

The answer is: the story. People don’t necessarily buy phones; they buy the stories and promises that those phones represent. Companies like Apple have cornered the market by promising that you’ll be able to record dance recitals, take pictures of autumn trees, and connect with old friends while making new ones. Whether it’s phones, cars, or teaching, you relate to things because you find something compelling in its story.

Captivate Your Classroom

Here are just a few things to consider when preparing lessons for your own classroom:

  • How do you personally relate to what you’re teaching?
  • How can you convey it to your students in a way that they’ll connect with?
  • What tools are at your disposal? Will any of them make your content more engaging?
  • How can you encourage students to share their own stories?
  • Do students have the time and material to reflect one what they have just learned?

As you look to relate to your students, tap into your inner storyteller. Whether you’re introducing short vowels, assessing fractions, or analyzing Macbeth, find your story and share it. Get comfortable, it’s story time!

We hope you are all staying healthy and safe during this difficult time. For more free educational resources, or ideas on how to promote healthy Social-Emotional Learning, simply follow this link!

Today’s story time image is brought to you by The Magic School Bus on the Ocean Floor.