Using Story in the Classroom – An Educator’s Tale


While reading, “Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future” by Daniel Pink over the summer I charged myself with the goal to use story more frequently in my classroom. The power of narratives as a way to enhance meaning for students and thus increase their learning was well-documented, enough so that in an August 12th blog post I swore off trading anecdotal stories for more structured content instruction.

This week I have found myself putting my new plans to test while exploring the Earth’s atmosphere. I started my lesson with a short video on the extreme climbers of Mount Everest, courtesy of Teachers’ Domain, sharing their stories of the difficulty in dealing with the thin, less dense air at the peak of the mountain.

The students did a great job dissecting the movie of its educational merits while coming up with great questions about both the atmosphere and the hikers who endured the difficult conditions.

How have you used story in your classroom to convey to convey your educational message to students? Did you find the narrative effective or were your students left scratching their heads?

Photograph courtesy of Sistak, “Mt. Everest” uploaded on June 17th, 2008 to Flickr. Creative Commons license.

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About MrMusselman

K-5 Science Specialist for the Burlington Public Schools of Burlington, MA.
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