Overview: This activity helps students experiment with ways they can use storytelling processes to help enrich academic writing.
Author: Kim Savelson
Activity name: Bringing Story IQ to Academic Writing
Class: PWR 1/PWR 2
Activity brief description: This activity helps students understand what “story” is and opens up a discussion of how to bring story/telling into academic writing. Students are asked to do some quick writing and then discuss what they’ve jotted down in small groups. You could also have them do the writing and then simply bring out their answers in a large class discussion, writing stuff on the board, and deepening the discussion as you go.
Schedule: If you want to spend just a part of a session or one entire class on this, Week 6 is ideal, because at this point students have mapped out some of their ideas and content, and they can begin to think of how they will “tell” their story to keep the reader interested. I also consider this a “style” activity, because it tends to change students’ style when they write.
Activity length: This activity could take 20 minutes or an entire class session, depending on how much you want to do.
Activity goals: The idea is to make students aware that storytelling is not just for fiction, or for literary journalism—story telling is also for academic writing. Tension, energy, surprise, details, setting, climax, resolution—all of these things can be played with in student essays.
Activity details: See handout.
This activity was originally published as an Activity of the Week in fall 2014.