Layering Stories into Learning

Teach Better TeamBlog, Connect Better


  • Stories are windows into the soul and into our experiences.
  • Educators should intentionally create spaces for learners to share how they view the world.
  • Embed stories into your classroom by linking a personal story to what you are saying, allowing learners to connect their own stories to a learning experience, and allow learners to share connections with peers to form new ideas.

Stories are Windows

Stories are windows into the soul. They are hidden treasures that are buried beneath a sea of hopes, wishes, dreams. Stories are small moments of time that pass you by. They are memories that enrapture your heart and wrap around your spirit. They are the hidden paths to who we are and what we will become. Every piece of who we are, are invisible stories strung together and concealed by our external being.

There are moments in time where our masked stories are unearthed amidst the creation of the new versions of ourselves. Stories bind us to people; they are entry points to connection, collaboration, conversation, and contact. Our stories are a learning journey, our core identity; they are a reflection of our values and what we stand for.

What if we do not like the way a story is unfolding in our lives? Did you know that we have the divine power to choose our own? What can we intentionally do to shift the narratives we are creating and write the stories we want to be a part of?

Stories bind us to people; they are entry points to connection, collaboration, conversation, and contact. Click To Tweet

Memory Boxes

Stories are windows into our experiences. They are small moments etched into our memories. They are the ammunition that pushes us down the path of discovery.  And they live in mind memory boxes waiting to be courageously unwrapped and gifted to people who use them to discover ideas and recognize their own passions. 

In a recent #InnovatorsMindset podcast, George Couros brilliantly says, “Stories are the fuel for innovation, they inspire us, they give us pertinent ideas, they get the work we are doing out to people in a really compelling way that goes beyond what a score could tell people about our students.”

Beneath the facade of every human being lies personal, unique collections of stories that reveal reflections of who they are and who they want to be. How can we intentionally create spaces for learners to share how they view the world through stories?

Layering Stories into Learning

Here is a simple and authentic formula to consider following when thinking about how a classroom community can intentionally embed stories into their learning lives. 

  1. Personalize: The teacher links a personal story to learning.
    • I was thinking about…
    • I remember when…
    • Let me tell you a story…
  2. Connect: Learners connect their own stories to a learning experience.
    • This is making me think…
    • I’m realizing that…
  3. Share: Learners share connections with peers to form new ideas.
    • Your story is making me think…
    • Your story is making me wonder…
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Personalizing Stories

Stories are lenses that formulate perspectives and cultivate community. They are sound bites and short episodes of our lives. They are opportunities to personalize classroom experiences, make connections to new learning, and a bridge that connects us with people to form new ideas.

In chapter 3 of the book Personal and Authentic, Thomas C. Murray passionately wrote, “Weaving together our experiences creates our story, makes us who we are, and determines the context in which we each learn.”

Understanding the stories within our school organizations forges deeper connections that lead to deeper learning. Understanding stories values the uniqueness of each individual and brings purpose to authentic work. It helps us shift the narratives we want to create in our classrooms, honors people who live in our world, and nourishes the feeling of empathy in the spaces we choose to create.

About Lauren Kaufman

Lauren Kaufman is a middle school Literacy Specialist and Mentor Coordinator for the Long Beach Public Schools in Long Island, NY. She has served as an elementary Instructional Coach, a 2nd and 5th-grade classroom teacher for the New York City Department of Education, an elementary Reading Specialist, and Creativity Camp Enrichment Program Supervisor. She is a lifelong learner whose professional passion is to empower teachers to lead so they can share their gifts with others and develop lifelong literacy practices in all learners.

Lauren has led teams developing 73 Units of Study in Reading and Writing K-5, has provided educators with job-embedded professional learning that supported a Balanced Literacy approach, and guides new teachers with acclimating to the culture and climate of a school system. She has organized Long Beach Literacy Day and has presented at #LBLit, LIASCD, EDCampLI, NerdcampLI, and DEI Conferences. Lauren enjoys sharing best literacy practices with colleagues, and wholeheartedly believes in developing powerful professional learning communities that cultivate meaningful, relevant professional growth.