Oral Narrative Activities

Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

Narratives are an amazing an unavoidable part of life. This lesson provides teachers with oral narrative classroom activities for students of different ages and abilities.

Oral Narratives

Students are constantly using narratives. A late homework excuse, science presentation, and even show and tell are all examples of ¬¬oral narratives. When oral narrative activities are used in the classroom, they can help students in a number of ways.

  1. Increase confidence in public speaking
  2. Improve pronunciation and diction
  3. Mentally cement abstract concepts and ideas

If your students are confused by the term, narrative, remind them that it simply means, story. Narratives can be either true or false, entertaining or dull, informative or pointless. Basically, oral narratives exist everywhere. When you use the following activities, be sure to adjust the difficulty level to fit all student needs.

Improvised Narrative

This activity will encourage your students to improvise a short narrative based on an object or picture. Before using this activity, prepare several pictures of common objects and/or a list of objects found in the classroom. First, tell students you are going to show them a picture or hold up an object. The first person who raises their hand has to stand up and create a short narrative to answer one of the following questions about the object. Which question to ask is at your discretion.

  1. Where is this from and how did it get here?
  2. What is this item used for and how often?
  3. Who or what made this item and when?

For example, you show a picture of a race car and ask, what is this item used for and how often? The student may answer, 'It's a type of car that is used for races every weekend.'

Make this activity more difficult or easy by changing the object. For instance, in a class of scientifically inclined students, you could show a scientific formula or a mathematical equation. In a speech class, you could hold up the cover of a book or play. The point is to get your students thinking on their feet!

Narrative Chain

Before using this activity, arrange the desks into a circle with everyone facing inward. Stand in the center of the circle and begin a narrative. After speaking a few sentences, point to a student. That student must continue the narrative for a few sentences and then pass it off to the person on their right and so on until the narrative gets back to you.

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