StoryCorps comes alive in classrooms across the country through StoryCorpsU. StoryCorpsU uses StoryCorps’ tested interviewing techniques — combined with outstanding radio broadcasts and animated shorts — to support high school students in the development of identity and in drawing connections between their unique strengths and the college application process.
StoryCorpsU (SCU) is a year-long, cross-disciplinary (language arts, media, history), youth development program designed for 9th and 10th graders to help students develop:
- Self and social awareness — social and emotional learning competencies;
- Academic skills — speaking, listening, and analytical and critical thinking; and
- Strengthened school relationships.
About the Curriculum
SCU is comprised of 29 lessons divided into three units: “Where We’re From,” “Who We Are,” and “Where We’re Going.”
Delivered in a classroom by teachers, the SCU curriculum fits well as part of an English Language Arts class or History class, used once per week over the course of the school year. Lessons are based upon 45-minute class periods.
In the Classroom
In each session, students listen to a StoryCorps audio clip or view a StoryCorps Animated Short selected to match the theme of the lesson and its relevance to the life experiences of students. Guided by their teachers, students then participate in discussions where they analyze and reflect on the segments, making connections between the stories and their own lives. These lessons also prepare students to conduct interviews with peers, and then introduce exercises that lead students to record four personal stories during the course curriculum.
Training & Resources for Teachers
The StoryCorpsU Online Teacher Training provides teachers with a comprehensive understanding of the key perspectives, goals, and benefits for teachers and students of SCU’s student curriculum. The training also provides teachers with the pedagogical tools and techniques to facilitate SCU in an effective and meaningful way.
StoryCorpsU classes are taught through a blended learning approach that combines face-to-face and online instruction. Throughout the school year, partner teachers receive instructional and technical support from SCU staff. Partner teachers can reach out to a SCU liaison for support on an as-needed basis throughout the school year.
Sample the SCU curriculum by using these three free lessons:
Evaluation & Impact
In a 2015 evaluation of SCU, Dr. Ronald Ferguson, a leading national researcher on racial and economic achievement gaps in education, and his team at Harvard found:
- A majority of students said that as a result of their SCU experience, their beliefs, feelings, or behaviors had changed in ways that correlate with increased engagement in learning and an improved class climate, thinking more about the future, and a positive relationship with the teacher.
- A majority of students also reported that they were better able to express who they are, and that recording their stories was meaningful.
- 91% of teachers reported a greater understanding of and stronger relationships with their students.
- 72% of teachers reported a greater belief in students’ ability to succeed and that what they teach can make a difference in students’ lives.
- Nearly all SCU teachers said that they enjoyed teaching SCU and would recommend it to other teachers.
For more information about StoryCorpsU, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
During the 2016/2017 school year, SCU is being carried out in partner schools across the country:
|Methuen High School||Methuen, MA|
|Boston Collegiate Charter School||Boston, MA|
|Denbigh High School||Newport News, VA|
|Heritage High School||Newport News, VA|
|High School for Youth and Community Development||New York City, NY|
|St. Mary’s Episcopal School||Memphis, TN|
|Alliance College-Ready Middle School #8||Los Angeles, CA|
|The Academic Leadership Community||Los Angeles, CA|