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The Stories of Us Curriculum

Storytelling x LINC Curriculum

Disclaimer

This curriculum has been developed by Department of Imaginary Affairs.

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Ways of using the Storytelling x LINC Curriculum

Full Curriculum

The Curriculum is designed as a series of five workshops, plus a sixth session that is intended to be a culminating reflection and celebration. It was initially implemented as a one 2-hour workshop per week, for 6 weeks. That said, you can implement the Curriculum over a longer period of time if you wish. Teresa Wiens, Head LINC Teacher at Mennonite New Life Centre, and whose class first implemented the Curriculum, recommends that it be implemented as a ‘long skinny module’ which would take place over the course of a term.

Teachers should account for additional time outside of the 2 hours per workshop if they are hoping to pull together the content that students create across all of the workshops to produce polished and edited storybooks for each of their students.

Individual Workshops

The five workshops in the Curriculum can also standalone if you prefer to pick and choose the ones you would like to implement.

Complement Curriculum with Relevant PBLA Activities

We recognize that PBLA requirements are an important part of how teachers design their modules and lesson plans. In an effort to ease the implementation of this Curriculum, we have started a growing bank of activities and resources, created by fellow LINC teachers, to supplement the different workshops in the Curriculum. These resources can be found under the Supplementary PBLA Activities tab.

How to Set Up this Workshop Series

Make it a part of an existing LINC curriculum

This curriculum is most effective when integrated into an existing LINC program, rather than promoted as a standalone series. The former instills the idea that storytelling is an important part of the language learning process, which students often understand by the end of the series but isn’t as intuitive at the beginning of the process. It adds legitimacy to the storytelling activities and helps increase workshop attendance. In the pilot with MNLCT, the storytelling curriculum was delivered for 6 weeks on Wednesdays from 9:30-11:30AM with the LINC 3/4 class and 12:30-2:30PM with the LINC 5/6 class. The LINC teachers for these classes also built on workshop activities to inform their lesson plans for the days in between workshops and to design PBLA assessments.

Size of class and sharing

LINC classes tend to vary in size, with some classes that have less than 10 students on any given day to others that have upwards of 25 students. The activities in this curriculum, particularly the sharebacks from individuals to the larger group, can take different forms depending on the size of the class. Whereas smaller classes can afford time for all students to present to the class, larger classes can be accommodated with partnered or small-group sharing. Given the realities of newcomers’ lives, life circumstances might prevent them from attending all the workshops. In this case, it is useful for the teacher to connect with students who have missed workshops to get them up to speed before the next workshop.

Ideal amount of time

Each workshop is designed to take no less than 2 hours. The pilot workshop series consisted of workshops that were 2 hours long, which sometimes included a 10 min break. Given that so much of the value of this series is in sharing the stories that participants write, the LINC teachers often used the class(es) after each workshop to continue the process of sharing, for example, through class presentations or listening / speaking assessments.

Brave Space

Setting up a space that invites participants to be brave in what they share is key. Red light, Yellow light, Green light is an effective tool for empowering participants to judge for themselves which stories they want to share and which to keep to themselves. Green light stories are the stories that we tell all the time. We’re comfortable with them and we know them like the back of our hands. Yellow light stories are the ones that require us to be brave. We have processed them for ourselves, but we haven’t shared them with many or any people. Red light stories tend to be rife with emotion and often involve trauma. They are the stories we haven’t yet processed and it may feel unsafe or unhealthy for our own wellbeing to share them with others. In these workshops, we encourage participants to share their yellow light stories. We invite participants to step outside of their comfort zone, only to the extent that they feel they can handle. It is also important to acknowledge out loud that what makes up a red, yellow, or green light story is different for everyone. It’s not about comparing whose story is better or worse, but rather empowering each participant to share what feels brave to them.

Curriculum Overview

Mapping key moments in the overall arc of our lives. 

Unpacking the concept of ‘home’ and its many dimensions.

Describing the journey to Canada, from the moment we decided to immigrate to the moment we landed in Canada.

Detailing the first few weeks in Canada, including any discrepancies between our expectations vs. reality.

Identifying our strengths and exploring how they can help us build a future in Canada.

Celebrating our stories and the storytelling process.

Overall Workshop Format

All of the workshops in this series follow a similar format:

  1. Oral storytelling circle*
    Starting with Oral Storytelling can be a good warm-up to a session, and depending on the prompts that are chosen, allow students to share stories that may not be directly related to their immigration journey. It allows students to get to know each other beyond their identities as newcomers.
  2. Explanation of the session’s theme and activity
    It is important to share with students how the theme for each session builds on the previous sessions and contributes to their story.
  3. Individual writing
  4. Break
  5. Sharing our writing in a group*

*For Steps 1 and 5, stories can be shared to the full class, in small groups, or in partners, depending on the number of students in the class and the time available. Partnered sharing can be especially effective for students who may not feel comfortable presenting in front of the whole class.

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