Throughout the residency TAs have been using “fire logs” to represent the poetic and theatrical devices they teach to the students as a visual aid for the theme of storytelling. The class built a “storytelling campfire” with “found objects”. Each student was asked to pick an item from her desk. Each object then became a stone to contain the “fire”. The fire was built of the “logs” which represent the different poetic and theatrical devices the students have been learning since the beginning of the residency.The students have learned about storytelling around the fire as a fundamental form of entertainment and community building.
During this lesson, students randomly chose two of the “logs” and two actions from “Rory’s Story Cubes” (dice with various actions for developing a story) brought in by the TAs. The TAs used the chosen devices and actions to improvise and act out a story for the students around the campfire.
The students built on the story created by the TAs to write their own community narrative poem. Students had to think critically about how to organize the beginning, middle and end of the narrative as well as how to build upon what the TAs had started without replicating the same story. They thought creatively and worked together, which is an example of citizenship. The TAs were particularly proud of the work that emerged during these lessons because the students really listened to their classmates to add new details to the same narrative and because they challenged themselves—and allowed themselves to be challenged by the TAs—to not rely on fallback story lines, such as war and violent endings.