STORIESLIVE® III – Work in Progress, photos and slideshow by Paula Junn


collage SL®III-1.3

trailer for StoriesLive® III Regional Slam April 27th,2013

1. teachers and students talk about StoriesLive®:

StoriesLive® program introduces the art of storytelling, to sophomore, junior and senior high school ELA classes and teaches students valuable presentation, narrative and life skills. It is a curriculum-based program developed by massmouth teaching-artists, who are also professional storytellers. Video #1 [below] shows highlights and participant’s reflections on the program. And, for the truly busy teacher/administrator/specialist, we have video#2 which is a one minute “trailer” -

2. Two, one minute “trailer” style videos

3. three of winners from 2011 StoriesLive®

4. winners from 2012 StoriesLive®®-2012-slam/

Registration for 2013 is now CLOSED.  Contact: for details about Season IV of StoriesLive®.

Highlights of StoriesLive® . In our first year we:
• Introduced over 1,110 high school students to the art of storytelling in four, 60-minute lesson plans
They told stories on these five themes: Where I am Coming From, Learned  the  Hard  Way, First Time, Lost & Found and Up the Family Tree
• Classroom work culminated in a grade-wide story slam at each high school.
• Awarded $5,000 in scholarship funds to 5 winners at the first ever intra-mural high school story slam.
• Included a full complement of reproducible materials for each school to aid in the instruction of storytelling.
• Supported participating teachers through in-service workshops
• created the® pages site
•In addition to online materials we held conference calls and blogged
• Students learned valuable skills that helped navigate college and job application processes.

“The final slam event on Saturday at the Cambridge Public Library was excellent! I was moved both to tears and laughter by well crafted tale after well crafted tale.” – Hayley Wood, MassHumanities, Senior Program Officer

In our Second year StoriesLive® II:
• Introduced over 1,800 high school students to the art of storytelling in four, 60-minute lesson plans and then told stories on these five themes: Where I am Coming From, Learned  the  Hard  Way, First Time, Lost & Found and Up the Family Tree
• Classroom work culminated in a grade-wide story slam at each high school.
• Taught ELL students in two of the 9 high schools that participated 
• Awarded another $5,500 in scholarship funds to 5 winners @ 2nd annual high school story slam.
• Included a full complement of reproducible materials for each school to aid in the instruction of storytelling.
• Supported participating teachers through in-service workshops
• Students from from last year performed with the professional storytellers and told stories at assemblies (Ryan Considine, Matt DeSouza @ EHS, Caylen Bryant @ AHS and Conor Miller @NHS)
•  Instituted “One on One” and “Team” coaching by professional storytellers for finalists.
•  Everett ELA staff taught the entire program to all the 459 their high school juniors
• Created two separate divisions in final slam, one for juniors and seniors.
• We were awarded an LCC grant and developed an anti-bullying performance/workshop at Revere High School, in addition to implementing our standard program.

Participating students tell a 2-4 minute personal story by the end of the unit.

Here is an outline of the essential elements and lessons in the StoriesLive® program.

StoriesLive® is a curriculum based program that has 5 steps – schools may opt for a customized program*
1) Professional Development Workshop
2) Assembly
3) 4 In-Class Lesson Plans
4) A school wide slam
5) StoriesLive® Scholarship Slam in April 27, 2013 in Boston venue TBA

Assembly: short introduction to the art of storytelling, story concert modeling the art,  followed by an interactive workshop which is a short version of Lesson 1

Lesson 1 Recap of Assembly, Overview and Story Prompts and Basic elements of an effective narrative including:Sensory details; 5 Questions; beginning and end; and main take away or point of change they want their listeners to have.Provide examples of stories Assignment #1 – tell your story 3 times and record “take away”

Lesson 2 Recognize story arc – Context, meaning and “main take away” in a story Visual representation of storiesReview of feedback format Q&AQuestions and Appreciations All Students tell part of a story as part of a group Assignment #2 – tell your story 3 times and notice what changes

Lesson 3 The nonverbal ‘tools’ of storyteller: voice, facial expression and movement Exercises in performance skillsStudents tell stories to each other using new skills Assignment #3 – tell your story 3 times , note nonverbal elements you will use and fill out Performer’s Check-list to be ready for in-class slam

Lesson 4 Review or fill out Performer’s Check list: in class Story Slam! Introduce rubric and scoring sheets for audience.Slam – students tell, evaluate and listen to each other’s stories. They may vote on which stories will be sent to the school wide slam or teacher can decide.

Themes are aligned to the Common App essay prompts!

Up the Family Tree ♦ Where I am From ♦ Learned the Hard Way ♦ First Time ♦ Lost & Found ♦ Risky Business  ♦ Right from Wrong


* We will work with all schools that are interested in the program and actively seek funding for partner schools.


The Professional Development Workshop(PDW) is led by StoriesLive artist/educators from The program, lesson plans and workshop activities will be posted on line for participating educators. The Assembly showcases massmouth storytellers who tell a 4 minute personal narrative based on the 5 themes. The Assembly includes hands-on storytelling activities preparing students for their first class. The 4 Lesson Plans are held during class time and implemented as a unit. Storytelling activities comprise the first three lessons; the fourth lesson is an in-class “story slam”. Every student will tell their story. Each high school will have a Schoolwide Slam. The school will promote it. It can be a big or modest event: from a ticketed night or weekend event as a school fundraiser or during the day for as an assembly for a few classes.

Schools may opt to allow sophomore, junior and senior students from Theater, Speech, district homeschoolers and students in After School Story or Drama Classes, who have a story, but have not taken any StoriesLive instruction to participate in their school wide slam.

Inquire about participation guidelines for this year at:

Winners of a school wide slam advance to the finals in APRIL 2013. All schools use the same judging rubric and slam format and adhere to basic guidelines. Every teacher will have access to online support from massmouth at the StoriesLive® pages of this website. The schools are encouraged to videotape the students telling their stories. Participating high schools will send a representative to the StoriesLive® Scholarship Slam, which will be held in APRIL 2013, at a TBA theater in Boston.

A story slam is a competitive event in which storytellers perform their work and are judged by panels made up of professional and non professional storytellers and students from their school. The judges are instructed to give numerical scores based on the storytellers’ content and performance. Cash prizes, divided between the top three finalists at the regional slam, will be no less than $5,000.



When: Saturday, April 27, 2013  9am-4:30pm

Where: Rabb Hall, Boston Public Library   700 Boylston Street  Boston, MA Copley Square, Boston

Tickets: Free and open to the public We encourage you to bring lots of friends and family to see you perform! Hint: a friendly audience could help you win Audience Choice.

Slam Schedule: 

Sophomore Slam: 9:30am – 10:30am
*Senior Slam: 10:30am – 12:00pm
Junior Slam: 1:30pm – 4pm
All Awards: 4pm – 4:30PM

*may start early depends on number of sophomores

Registration/ Sign-in:SOPHOMORES & SENIORS: Arrive 9:00 AM. You will be able to sign in, practice your story/get settled. We need to start @ 9:30am, sharp JUNIORS: Sign-in 12:00pm noon Please come early for registration and lunch.
Judging: The same as your all-school slam. All participants will have 3 minutes with 1/2 minute grace period – there is no penalty for using UNDER three minutes (1.5 minute minimum). However, there can be up to 1 full point off if you are OVER  3.5 minutes (at Judges’ discretion).
Parking: Commuter Rail Parking at 100 Clarendon Place and limited on street parking .
SOPHOMORES & SENIORS: Breakfast provided  11th and 12th grade student storytellers may arrive as early as 9AM. Sophomores MUST arrive 9:00. Stories Live® teachers and volunteers will be there to meet you. Please be sure get there on time, or you could lose your spot in the slam! We’ll have coffee and bagels.
Prizes: $5,000 in scholarship money for any post-secondary educational endeavor will be divided among the top winners. $1,000 First Prize in 11th and 12th grade  several $500 prizes in other divisions and categories. Checks are paid out upon proof of your educational expenses.

TEAM TELLING  – up to TWO  teams per school Anyone can enter a team and tell a story with we need 5 in each section to make it a contest. Prizes awarded on the day.

ALL performers will receive a t-shirt, certificate of participation and $20 stipend. Dress: Neat, casual. There is no need to get super dressed up. Just be your comfortable & everyday beautiful selves. Food: Lunch for all contestants provided by massmouth at noon! Water and snacks available for contestants during the slams.
Transportation: By T: Copley Square Green Back Bay Station Commuter and Orange Line  Several buses as well. More at

Now in our third year, the StoriesLive® program has introduced over 4,000 high school students from 14 Massachusetts high schools to the art of 21st century storytelling and awarded over $11,000 in scholarship prizes. Our program is supported by generous private donors, a third project grant for 2013 from,  local cultural councils, the MassCultural Council,  and the donation of countless hours of administrative work, teaching and performances by massmouth,inc. storytellers.  Special thanks is due to Three Apples Storytelling Festival for a significant matching gift in DEC 2012.  Join us at the regional story slam on April 27th, 2013 in Boston at Rabb Hall, BPL, Copley Library.

“I never thought I’d be a winner, I just thought I’d make people laugh.
But it was mad fun.” 12th grade school-wide winner at LCHS

StoriesLive® III 2012-2013 High School Storytelling Project: 


November 5-9 John O’Bryant Math and Science High School
November 12-16 Chelsea High School
December 3 – 7 Worcester South Community High School
December 10-14 Lynn Classical High School

January 14th – Jan 18 Boston Latin Academy
January 28th – FEB 1 Watertown High School
February 25th – MAR 1 Revere High School
February 7th – Everett High School, lessons  re-scheduled for April 1st – April 5th
March 4th – Newburyport High School March 11th – slam
March 27th – Lawrence High School (  meets WEDs in the afternoon)

Final Slam with over $5K in prizes

April 27th all day SAT in Boston – the only regional high school story slam in the US. Held at the Boston Public Library, Rabb Hall -free and open to the public from 9:30AM – 4:00PM.  The BPL entrance for Rabb Hall is 700 Boylston Street, Boston MA  02116. T  = Copley on Green Line and Back Bay on Orange and Commuter Rail.