Heritage Storytelling: From In-Person to On-Screen

At the beginning of March, Mr. Etigson’s 7th grade English class began their next big project: Heritage Storytelling. Over the course of a few weeks, students explored their cultural heritage and delved into the folk tales, myths, and fables of their people. At the end of their exploration, they needed to have the perfect story in their repertoire to tell to a 2nd or 3rd grade student. The end goal of the project was to go to Manzano Day School and tell a 2nd or 3rd grade student their storycompletely memorized

Students spent the first week deciding which part of their heritage they would investigate and writing a heritage proposal paragraph. The following week, students began research and resource gathering. This involved the students collecting and reading many tales from their heritage. However, the next week was the start of remote learning from home and this required a shift in the assignment. They would continue to adapt the story to their own words, refine its sequence and message, and memorize their story to the point where they didn’t need a script. However, instead of telling the stories to students in person, they had to record themselves.

Mr. Etigson told his students, “You have to manufacture the energy a live audience gives you.
Use your voice, face, and, yes, gesticulations to bring the energy and go for it!”

The results of their stories were incredible. The storytellers not only had to navigate telling a story through video, but they had to become their own directors and express their emotions clearly on camera. Reid ‘25 even presented his story, “The Frog King” by the Grimm Brothers, with something he never would have been able to in a regular classroom— piano accompaniment! Watch him tell his story here.

Great job, Bobcats! We are so proud of you for jumping into this new territory!