Week 10: Student Storytelling

Ultimately, our students’ future economic success depends on being able to tell professional stories effectively.

Teaching is complex. Teaching in the hybrid environment is even more complex. Let's simplify things:

1.) Great teachers identify skills students need to succeed in the future.

2.) Great teachers make sure that they help students build those skills.

What are the skills that students need to succeed in life beyond school? In 2008 Dr. Tony Wagner identified 7 of the skills that all future workers and citizens  need to thrive in work and life. He calls these "survival skills" and writes about them in The Global Achievement Gap. One of the most fundamental skills, he argues is "Oral and Written Communication."

Over 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, and that number is dwarfed by a seemingly infinite amount of content created every second on Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook and whatever comes next...So what does effective communication look like for our students moving forward? I would argue that to be effective communicators in the 21st Century, you must be a great storyteller.

Read a few of these articles to see how we came to that conclusion. Jot some of your notes down in hypothesis.

Article 1: Considering the importance of storytelling in our adult lives, it seems logical that leaders in education examine the skill development of storytelling as part of a child’s learning.

Article 2: Engaging students in storytelling activities develops communication skills and encourages shared learning experiences.

Article 3: Using storytelling in the classroom is one way to address literacy development by improving oral language, reading comprehension, and writing.


Mr. Buetow is a 5th grade teacher in Minnesota. He understands how crucial it is to develop great storytellers. Each year, his students dive into a storytelling podcast project. His students interview family members and friends to find a compelling story in their family's history. He publishes them on this page. Listen to a couple of student stories. I've put a few of my favorites below.

This Week's Tasks

1.) Watch the introductory video above.

2.) Read and Annotate 2 of the articles above in Hypothesis

3.) Listen to a few quick episodes of This 5th Grade Life

4.) In slack, post a way that you help students develop as storytellers.

5.) Have a great week!

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About Ben Kalb

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