Lesson 4: Planning the Story

Overview: Students will practice storytelling with their peers and then each group will determine they will structure the podcast.

SEL Providers Showcase

Students will be able to:

  • Practice storytelling
  • Review elements and techniques of effective storytelling
  • Active listening
  • Collaborate to agree on the structure of their podcast

Targeted PTD Behaviors:

  • Communication
  • Creativity
  • Collaboration


  • Pre-Class Setup (5 minutes)
  • Storytelling Practice (15 minutes)
  • What’s Our Story? (30 minutes)
  • Recap (15 minutes)
  • Post-Class Homework

What you need:

  • Six large pieces of tear-off construction paper or easel pad paper

What students need:

  • A notebook and writing utensil

Pre-Class Setup:

Place six pieces of large tear-off construction paper or easel pad paper in various places around the classroom. Two should be at the front of the room or on the board, labeled:

  • What is my story’s driving question?
  • What is the story not about?


Part 1: Storytelling Practice

Ask students to choose one of the below questions/prompts, and use it to tell a brief creative story about with a partner, as a way to practice storytelling. To prepare, they should first write down their ideas as a rough draft or outline.

  • Do you know about your family’s history?
  • What was your most precious childhood possession?
  • What ethical dilemmas have you faced?
  • Are you distracted by your phone?

After jotting down their ideas, students should practice telling their story to a partner. As partners listen, they should keep track of which elements and techniques of effective storytelling are being used, and provide feedback to one another after listening.


Part 2: What’s Our Story?

Have students split up into their assigned groups for the podcast project and instruct them to spend 30 minutes working together to craft responses to the below questions. (Each group can use one of the easel pad papers around the classroom to write out ideas and responses.)

  • What is my story’s driving question?
  • What is the story not about?
  • How will I ensure my story is fair to the people and ideas it represents?
  • How will I engage my audience — and hold them?
  • What are my dream ingredients?
  • What will the audience remember when it’s over?

Go around the room to check-in with each group and help to guide them as you see appropriate.


Part 3: Recap

Once the students have finished, have one team member stand at each paper around the room and share the responses.

Then, help the students reflect and debrief. Given the class’s responses, what do students envision their podcast including? What will it NOT include? How will these ideas shape the structure of the podcast — will it feature one long conversation or multiple short interviews? Pieces of tape from interviews and scenes?

Keep these posters around to guide students throughout the duration of the project. When they’ve recorded interviews and other sounds, remind them to look back at their original ideas: is this what they envisioned for their episodes?


Post-Class Homework:

In their teams, students should work to finalize a storyboard and/or outline for their episode, and to submit it for feedback to you before the next lesson.



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