Inviting Students to Tell Their Side of the Story

student engagement

By Bena Kallick

Whenever we tell the curriculum story — we, in effect, are the storytellers. It is from the teacher’s point of view. While we work hard to make certain that the story is told in accessible and compelling language, how are the students connecting with it?

How does the ongoing story help guide their level of sense making as they move through the curriculum narrative?

We invite students to make associations, consider questions, and pursue areas of fascination that are prompted by their learning.

How do we invite that sort of engagement to hear how they are making sense of the story?

Here are a few tips on how to make their thinking visible:

Use literacy strategies such as:

  • How would you tell the story so far?
  • What do you predict might be happening next?
  • What questions or wonderings do you have right now?

Use reflection prompts such as:

  • This story reminds me of…
  • This story is confusing because…
  • This story is important because…

Use groups to engage with questions through formats such as:

  • Debate, in which learners take different perspectives
  • Dialogue, in which learners pair up and share their understandings and questions
  • Discussion, in which the teacher prompts with open ended questions
  • Discourse, in which students engage in provocative questions

For more ideas on how to engage students in making sense of the story, refer to Episode 9 of Streamlining Curriculum: Using the Storyboard Approach to Frame Compelling Learning Journeys. Need a copy of the book? Order yours here!

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