Thursday, December 3, 2015

Exaggeration Station: Interactive Storytelling Game

The Studio
Sophie Anderson 1823-1903
I created a new storytelling game over the Thanksgiving holiday and yesterday was the first time I tried it out with my fourth and fifth grade storytelling students. We are in the fifth week of this storytelling residency and we have been working on voice, characterization and images. Before we played the game they completed the Story Snapshot exercise (found in my book, Story by Story) so they could flesh out details on setting, characters, and sensory details. This exercise would help them prepare for the new, interactive game, Exaggeration Station. © 2015

Details of Exaggeration Station:
I prepared a handout for the students to complete before the game. The sheet mirrored the poster boards that were placed around the room. This gave them a chance to think through their choices, rather than being put on the spot.

Since I was in a school library I used the book stands to hold up the poster boards on the book shelves, which were no higher than eye level. They were organized in a pattern that wove them up and down the aisles so the children were able to move through the game. The students were allowed to bring the paper they completed with them. At each station they were instructed to exaggerate the gesture, dialogue, word, etc. listed on each individual poster. The goal was to help them step out of their comfort zone and in doing so, perhaps find a new voice or vocal range, confident gestures for their stories, and of course, to have fun!

I stood at the front of the line to ensure the students didn’t bunch up in one spot, giving each storyteller a measure of privacy. Tandem tellers moved through each station separately so they could work on their own voice.

Below are the posters I designed for the game.


The game went well and I was surprised that any chaos was kept to a minimum. They had a great time and commented that it was fun to raise their voice in the library! One of my students is particularly shy so I let her go last, walking with her, encouraging her along the way. She began to relax and was able to accomplish each task as we moved through the stations.

A few student reflections after we finished Exaggeration Station:
  • I found a new voice for the old woman when she transformed into the fairy.
  • I decided to use a stronger gesture for the king.
  • It was fun making the mouse sound really loud!
  • I always have trouble being loud but this helped me find my voice.

Afterwards, we followed up with the exercise, Walk the Talk, also found in Story by Story, and they were able to incorporate some of the new tools they discovered in Exaggeration Station. After they have worked on their stories a bit longer I will repeat the game and see what new ideas bubble to the surface.
You are free to try this game with your students in your work, however, you may not publish this in any form without permission or attribution. If you do use it I would be delighted if you would let me know how it worked for you.

Karen Chace 2015 ©
This blog post was researched and compiled by Karen Chace. Permission for private use is granted. Distribution, either electronically or on paper is prohibited without my expressed written permission. For permission please contact me at Of course, if you wish to link to my blog via your website, blog, newsletter, Facebook page or Twitter please feel free to do so; I greatly appreciate your support and personal integrity.


Tony Toledo said...

Karen, what a great exercise to get students out of their comfort zones and into their stories. Bravo.

Karen Chace said...

Thank you Tony. I appreciate your kind words and the time you took to comment. Wishing you a joyful holiday season!


Unknown said...