Teachers for Teachers | Mentor Teaching Moves: Revising our Writing Through Storytelling #T4TMoments
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Mentor Teaching Moves: Revising our Writing Through Storytelling #T4TMoments


When Sarah launched a personal narrative unit of study with her class, she wanted students to rehearse their stories before drafting.  So what did Sarah do to engage the class in storytelling?  Sarah rolled a cart of iPad’s into the classroom so students could videotape their stories.  Many students requested to rerecord their story after they watched it.  They wanted to revise it; “Can I videotape one more time? I want to add more to the story.”  Students were eager to revise because they wanted to share their story with their peers.

As the students watched the videos with their writing partners, they laughed together and thought of additional ways to revise their stories.  Orally rehearsing ideas before drafting helped students move from summarizing their story to unfolding their story bit by bit.   Students engaged in rethinking their lead, cutting unimportant ideas, and revising their ending more readily.

As the unit progressed, these videotapes became tools in the classroom.  If a student was drafting and unsure what to write next, s/he watched his/her video.  If a student didn’t know what to write, s/he watched a few videotapes to spark an idea.  Sarah also used these videos in lessons (with student permission) to model writing strategies and craft moves.

Storytelling as a tool to rehearse writing is a powerful mentor-teaching move.  Videotaping these stories takes storytelling up a notch as the videos become learning tools in the classroom.

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