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Exercise Two: Story Circles

Page history last edited by Digital Explorations 14 years, 2 months ago



Materials: Leader:  Projector and screen, computer and Internet or Set of Images large enough so everyone can see them as the exercise leader holds                               them up

                              Response sheets (see below)

                 Attendees: Story drafts, paper and pen


Time: Depends on the size and experience of the group (one hour minimum)


Set-up: Chairs in a circle, best if there is no table between people.  Best if the groups are between six and ten: smaller groups are possible. Large groups will break into groups of four for Part B.


Objectives: To explore the relationship of our unique perspective to the stories we hear and tell; to pay attention to keen listening; to experience audience; to get feedback on story drafts.




Part A.  Full Group:  Immediate Responses to Images and Words  (15 minutes)

1.  FLickr Exercise

2. Words-Responses: Jot down the first word that comes to mind in response to the words given by the workshop leader. Share these aloud at the end of the series.

3. Words-Metaphors: The words will be repeated, this time, come up with a metaphor or simile for each word. Share these aloud at the end of the series.



What do you notice about the way you respond to images and to words?  What do you notice about the group's response?  Did anything change when you had to write a metaphor? When you heard everyone else's? What can we observe about the act of listening?



Part B.  Storycircles with a Purpose (10 minutes plus 10 minutes per draft)*

Small Groups (4 people): Sharing the Drafts

1.  Warming up: Look at the images you brought to the workshop: Show one to the group; the group jots down words in response.  Share these.

2.  Choose one of the drafts, the one that speaks to you the most as something to share with the community, something that gets to the heart and soul values.  Spend about ten minutes rereading and revising in response to the preceding discussion and exercises.  Think about how you will read it aloud.

3. One by one, read and respond to the story drafts.  The reader will read the draft through once.  The listeners should focus on the arc of the story and its message, thinking about ways to help the writer move to revision. 

Before discussing a story, listeners write a one-sentence version of the story or a title for it.


     a. What do you think the story says about H & S values (reflecting back to the writer what this story is about)

     b. What was the most memorable moment?  Why?

     c. What confuses you or do you need to hear more about for the story to articulate clearly its message?

     d.  Does the arc of the story work well:  does the beginning start just where it needs to; does the middle create vivid details; the ending feel like the end



Part C.  Discussion about Facilitating Story Circles (10-15 minutes)

1. Listening Intently 

Setting the Stage for Story Sharing and Commentary 

Extracting Information/Meaning

Brainstorming Action Plans/Next Steps

2. Filling out the Values Sheet  Story Circles Response Sheet.doc



* Story Circles can also be used to share stories informally, in a Story Klatch, with a notetaker taking notes or  a voice or video recorder set up to record the session.


Document Version for Download Exercise Two.doc






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