Storytelling with Emotion

Linda Collura, Wendy Menachery

1. Discuss and familiarize students with story teller figures, narrators, and characters through folktales.
2. Students will demonstrate how emotions/feelings are conveyed through body position, facial expression, verbal and non-verbal communication.
3. Describe how a culture uses art to explain the history of a community and its people.
4. Students will be able to express emotion using verbal and non-verbal communication.


Sketch Book (enough for each student used through the year)
Pencils (enough for each student)
Pueblo Stories and Storytellers by Mark Bahti
Elmo/Document Camera (Or other visual projector to share images from book)


1. Drama skill building activity: Mirroring
a. Start with familiar motions.
b. Add facial and body clues related to emotions. Pause and have students share what emotions or feelings the leader was expressing. Use multiple emotions.
c. Debrief. How do you know? Can you describe the body posture? What other emotions could you show?
2. Discussion to translate dramatic representation of emotions to written and oral representations. Think of a character in a story that you like, how did that character show emotion? How did you know? Take three minutes to sketch your character showing that emotion. Pair and share with a partner. Share with class.
3. Many cultures use art to share personal life experiences and stories. This book, Pueblo Stories and Storytellers by Mark Bahti, shares photos of storyteller figures and stories. Use the Elmo to show pictures of the storyteller figures. What do you notice? What do you think they are trying to say? How is this different than acting or drawing the emotions?
4. Brainstorm emotions. Students will choose an emotion to base their story and storyteller figures on. You may choose to group students based on emotion of choice to discuss and brainstorm how their emotion will be portrayed in the story and storyteller figure.
5. Introduce project goals: Students will need to create a storyteller figure and story to match. Students choose to write, draw, or both to start.
6. Exit Slip: Students choose an emotion to act out and when the teacher identifies the emotion correctly then the student lines up at the door.

Differentiation Approaches

1. Concrete representation of emotions through drama skill building
2. Go over the objectives and schedule/plan for the day to start
3. Ensure students sit in locations that maximize learning needs (see projected images, not distracted by others in front of them, near partners students work well with)
4. Modify materials as needed for various learning needs
5. Encourage revisions and set expectations of continued work during given timeframes
6. Film an iMovie to document creative process or create a story
7. Create a 3D model using Google Sketchup


1. Rubric for evaluation of final products (storyteller figure, written story)
2. Daily exit slips
3. Self-rating for creating a cooperative learning environment

Follow Up and Extension Ideas

1. Google Sketchup to make 3D model
2. iMovie of storytelling or act out
3. Share with various audiences
** This lesson is intended to be part of a larger unit.

Other subjects: dance, drama, social studies, language arts, science

Related lessons: expressions through mask making; genres, styles, and cultural influences on writing; more focus on the scientific process in using clay or other materials prehistoric cave paintings, symbols, etc.

Additional Details

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