Sunday, January 29, 2023

Story Wok - A Peer Coaching Worksheet

Listening Boy
Robert Henri, 1924
I am in my 20th year teaching and directing a student storytelling program. Every year I try to develop new tools, either written or interactive, to help my students work with their stories, and their peers.

I always make time for the students to independently practice their stories during class time, but another component is a turn and tell, where students share their stories with a partner. 

This year I designed a new tool, the Story Wok. The name is an acronym, with each letter corresponding to a specific story or performance element, to be used during the turn and tell. 

Since the worksheet is fairly extensive I instruct the students to choose three things they want to focus on. As the student tells their story the partner listens deeply. When the teller is finished the listener/peer coach writes down some suggestions, then shares it with the teller. The process is then repeated with the partners switching rolls.

I only use this tool after we have met for many weeks, when trust is established within the group, and after the students have participated in one round of story coaching. Before we begin, part of the instruction process is to remind them that their role as listeners is to be supportive and encouraging. 

Below are some of the specific notes the listeners took on the various stories they heard and then shared with the tellers.

Setting: Perhaps you could describe where the alligator lives.
Talking: You could add dialogue when the king finds the fairy.
Omission: You might want to leave out the royal chair.
Reactions:  When you're climbing maybe you could use a scary expression.
Yawn! You could add more action when the horse gets its tail stuck in the fence.

Word(s): Maybe you could add some similes.
Observation: You were very calm when you told the story.
Kindness: I loved your different character voices. 

After I collected the papers I noticed some of the students wrote on their worksheets: “Thank you for the advice.” One even drew a smiley face.

I think it worked!

Permission to use the Story Wok in your personal work is granted with the following restrictions. 
Do not remove the copyright information and please credit the source. Do not reproduce in any publication in any form or format without my expressed written permission. 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 appreciate your support. 

If you would like me to send the Story Wok worksheet to you in a Word .doc email me at . If you do use it I would be grateful if you shared how it worked for your students.

If you are interested in more original, interactive games, as well as story worksheets, please consider my award-winning book, Story by Story: Creating a Student Storytelling Troupe.

Please note, websites change at a rapid pace and weblinks may change or break without notice. I cannot be responsible for redirected or broken links. At the time of this posting all links were in working order. Thank you for understanding.


Karen Chace 2023 ©

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


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