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PUR 512: Improving Literacy Through Storytelling

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In this course students will learn narrative literacy development strategies that will make content come alive for each and every student. We'll review the new literacy standards to see how they relate to the content areas, and uncover the many ways adolescent development is connected to effective teaching. We'll explore differentiated learning and see how easy it can be to deliver content to students at varying levels of literacy development. By the end of the course, you'll be confident in your ability to powerfully tell stories and inspire students to do the same.

Lesson 01- Why stories? (1 hour in-person + 1 hour activity)

In this class we define narrative storytelling and how it improves literacy, comprehension, and information retention. Here we highlight strategies you are already using and introduce additional methods getting good storytelling into the classroom. We look at research to better understand narratives. You will write a short narrative on how you have come to understand storytelling and how you implement stories in your classroom.


Lesson 02- Deconstructing Stories (2 hours- online)

In this class we deconstruct stories to better understand scene setting, voice, audience, and language. We look at the stories in activity one and extrapolate lessons from the narrative and feedback to improve communication.

Lesson 03- Empathic Listening (2 hours online)

Listening is hard. In our culture teachers are trained to become excellent communicators. However there is less attention paid to how important the art of empathic listen is to creating inclusive classrooms. In this course we will examine research and strategies to become better listeners and in the process paint a tapestry of inclusion in our classroom.


Lesson 04- Literacy and Diverse Narratives (2 hours online)

In this course we explore how to make classrooms safer by including the narratives of diverse students into course literacy and content. Each student brings a unique story to the classroom that impacts the way they learn, retain, and perform academically. Understanding these narratives and giving value to their importance may help student to reconstruct their interactions with your class, the school, and their self-concept.

Lesson 05- The Multicultural Narrative and Testimony (2 hours online)

In this course we will explore the best examples of multiculturalism in the nation and learn from the techniques and methods that have helped to created successful examples. Solutions and common ground are needed for this time in American history of national division on major issues of culture, politics, religion, class, and disability. This class explores how teachers can help students to process different opinions while maintaining a high level of mutual respect and care for people who are different.

Lesson 06- Autoethnography (2 hours online + 2 hours activity)

Autoethnography is the science of telling life stories from a social and cultural perspective. This class is all about you. We will explore some sample life stories and then write our own life stories. The goal of the course is to understand how our lives are situated within social, environmental, and cultural contexts.

Lesson 07- Storytelling Activities for Your Classroom (2 hours online +2 hours Activity)

We explore decades of research and best practices on storytelling. In this course we will participate in storytelling activities and collectively invent new activities that will perfectly fit your unique classroom.


Lesson 08- Telling Your Story (2 hours online + 2 hours activity)

In this class we practice communication and empathic listening by sharing our life stories and the lessons learned from course activities. We also examine some best practices on presentations styles and engaging ways to introduce narrative literacy into classrooms to create safe diverse spaces.

Lesson 09- The Art of Listening, The Interview (2 hours online + 4 hours activity)

In this course we examine how to construct the narratives to develop literacy. We will learn some free and simple ways to interview, record, and transcribe life stories.


Lesson 10- Telling Stories (2 hours in-person, Final Class)

In this class we will use our interview notes to construct the story of the other. We will explore how to better communicate the narratives of others while understanding conflicting paradigms and the inherent challenges that exist when someone else’s story. These practical lessons will help us to use stories to build literacy.


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