SmallStories: Pedagogy of the Small

My friends Laura and Kate, along with Geoff and Tanya remotely, presented about the idea of Small Stories and the Pedagogy of Small at the OER19 Conference.

I’ve been part of the SmallStories gathering over at Mastodon for some time (often with CLMOOC friends), first drawn there by Tanya and Kate and others, and now find myself a regular SmallStories writer. SmallStories is the idea of small moments, shared in the open. They are typically short bursts of writing, often hinting at something larger. Sort of like Slice of Life, if you are a Slicer with Two Writing Teachers.

Laura and Kate: SmallStories

I’m enjoying watching Laura share the ideas of the writing (including work that Geoff has done with the Young Writers Project in Vermont) at a conference considering the possibilities of open networking. She begins by contrasting the push towards bigger, bigger, bigger networking spaces with small corners of writing, sharing, connecting like the #smallstories hashtag. (oops, then the sound goes out when she moves to chat about Mastodon. Read her lips!)

Laura and Kate: SmallStories

Kate then explores the difference between flash fiction (short creative fiction) and small stories (mostly non-fiction of a single event).

“This little thing happened, how weird was that?” is how Kate explains how our days, all of us, are filled with small stories. “Noticing is something you need to learn to do.”

It’s in that noticing that we bring forth the story, however.

Kate defines small stories as:

  • being composed of the details we notice
  • having something to teach us about ourselves or the world
  • notice our values in action, made visible

Thanks to my friends for gathering this together and sharing it out.

Peace (in the open),

  1. Hmmmm… you’ve given me an idea. My teens are writing biographies, mostly about people close to them, such as grandparents. Writing is hard enough. Writing non-fiction is even harder. We’ve read many books in the genre, including picture books, discussing the attributes that make the stories interesting. Nonetheless, the students tend to write chronologies with little detail or excitement. I’ve had them look for themes to carry through their writing, we’ve talked about creative non-fiction reading like a novel, etc. Small stories might be a good way to get them to work on one event at a time of their protagonist’s life and really build it out before moving on to another event, then find some way to weave them together. Thanks!

  2. I have found #smallstories a great pedagogy of small. Not only about noticing but sharing memories. When our mind takes us to a certain memory we can express and share that. We have also found the opening out, the expression of different seasons across the planet, at the same time. Thanks for this post and collecting it in one place.

    Addendum: Anti-spam poetry *maw congo*
    Maw Maw
    cried the crow
    as the cockatoos
    danced the congo
    on the telephone line.

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