Community StoryCatchers

Storycatchers Give Glimpses

It is said that a story not recorded is likely to disappear within two generations. We depend on story to learn from each other through cultures, experiences and generations. So storycatchers gather to preserve and archive stories that need to be told. A storycatcher relates stories of authentic experiences in their communities both near and far. Stories told by storycatchers serve their communities by conveying the sights, sounds and smells from a story found from the participant’s perspective.

Engage your students in the Story catcher projects might interview local veterans, senior citizens, cultural groups, or community leaders for the stories behind the stories. Stories from people engaged in special projects or events would capture the human side of otherwise impersonal events. Or they may investigate backgrounds of ordinary as well well-known people, situations or events thorugh artifacts and secondary resources to express a story long gone.

After finding the story, storycatchers use words, sounds, photos and videos to unfold a vibrant, sensory, memorable media experience of legacies that would likely be forgotten over time.

The Power of Story (Balwin)

1. Every generation has a collective story that marks it. This story serves as a reference point for millions of personal stories - connecting humanity with humanity.
2. Story is both the great revealer and concealer. There is the story of what gets said and the story that remains unsaid.
3. Story creates a social network and space between people that allows us to see each other as more alike than different.
4. Story has a will to survive that seems almost independent of the storyteller, as though it has a life of its own.
5. We have become who we say we are; if we don’t like the world we need to put stories in place that change the world.

Five Reasons to be a Storycatcher (Balwin)

1. Intentional storycatching is a movement in the making; story is how we link up with each other and create community.
2. Stories can turn strangers into friends, enemies into allies.
3. Story is our real legacy: without story the artifacts of ordinary lives quickly lose significance and preciousness.
4. Storycatchers believe that the stories of ordinary people contain extraordinary gifts.
5. Storycatchers know story has the power to open our hearts, even if we don’t change our minds.

Project Ideas - their journeys - their experiences - their memories - their legacies
  • Communities - Neighborhoods
  • Veterans
  • Woman Community Leaders
  • Businesses
  • Community Leaders
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Immigrants
  • Native Americans


Learning Outcome

  1. What stories need to be told? What groups or collection of stories are to be captured?
  2. What is a storycatcher - their role - their purpose - their work?
  3. How do you get started with identifying and engaging community members?
  4. How do you conduct successful interviews and research?
  5. How do you know you have found the "story that needs to be told?"
  6. What content-building steps would guide students to develop rigor in their narratives?
  7. What media-making steps would guide students to create effective craftsmanship?