Recently, a friend sent me a link to Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling. I loved them – for a number of reasons, primarily that Pixar is clearly a company that knows how to tell a story, so when they share, I listen!
My first thought upon reading through them however, was not the application to ‘storytelling’ in the traditional sense of the word (telling a fairy story) but in the application of these rules to the journey my students are about to take as part of the PYP Exhibition.
The highlight of our exhibition evening last year was sitting and listening to student after student get up and tell their story. They shared their journey through the process: where they started, where they went, where they currently were at and where they were heading. Their stories were compelling, engaging, entertaining, interesting and a true reflection of their growth and development over the course of the Exhibition.
As I read Pixar’s rules, I can’t help but convert to advice for my current fifth grade students as they embark on their journey with the idea of telling their story.
Here are my 16 rules for my kids to guide them as they tell their learning stories:
- We admire you for trying more than for your successes.
- Once you reach the end of your story, look back and share the theme that has driven your learning.
- Tell us how you dealt with challenges.
- Write your ending now, before we begin. Speak into existence what you want to be your reality!
- Be ready to not be perfect.
- When you get stuck, make a list of what you are NOT going to do next and hope the material to get you unstuck shows up.
- Put your ideas in writing, all the time, even in the middle of the night.
- Discount the obvious ideas. Keep thinking. Surprise yourself.
- Share your opinions – be bold!
- Ask yourself: “Why this passion?” Why MUST this be the thing for you. Build off this burning belief within you.
- Be honest! We admire you for it!
- No work is ever wasted. If it is not working, let it go and move on – it will come back around to be useful later.
- Do your best.
- What is the essence – the guts – of your story? Start there and go!
Planning for these stories can be done digitally. Digital storytelling simply means using computer based tools to tell stories. Click on the image below to check out five digital storytelling tools for kids. Three of them (Voicethread, Show Me, and Toontastic) are familiar to me. The other two, Sock Puppets and Puppet Pals are new to me. All look like great tools for encouraging students to get their ideas down.
Which have you used? Which are you willing to try?
These rules were originally tweeted by Emma Coats, Pixar’s Story Artist.