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Crafting Critical Stories

Toward Pedagogies and Methodologies of Collaboration, Inclusion, and Voice


Judith Flores-Carmona and Kristen V. Luschen

Critical storytelling, a rich form of culturally relevant, critical pedagogy, has gained great urgency in a world of standardization. Crafting Critical Stories asks how social justice scholars and educators narrate, craft, and explore critical stories as a tool for culturally relevant, critical pedagogy. From the elementary to college classroom, this anthology explores how different genres of critical storytelling – oral history, digital storytelling, testimonio, and critical family history – have been used to examine structures of oppression and to illuminate counter-narratives written with and by members of marginalized communities. The book highlights the complexity of culturally relevant, social justice education as pedagogues across the fields of education, sociology, communications, ethnic studies, and history grapple with the complexities of representation, methodology, and the meaning/impact of employing critical storytelling tools in the classroom and community.
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7. The Rose Creek Oral History Project: Elementary Cross-Grade Social Studies Curriculum in Review


This chapter is an analysis and reflection of a two-year oral history project at Rose Creek, a suburban elementary school where I currently teach. Our school has about 1,000 students in grades K–6. In 2008, five teachers met together to see how we could utilize community knowledge in our classroom instruction. At the time, three of us were teaching third grade and two were teaching fifth grade. Third-grade social studies curriculum focuses on communities, and the fifth-grade curriculum has a focus on United States History. As teachers, our goal was to align with grade-level curricula, and we believed we could coordinate efforts to have students learn from each other and from community members in order to supplement their educational experience and increase student knowledge about historical events. While we decided to implement this oral history project as a pedagogical practice to tell detailed stories about historical events, we did not realize that the oral history project would also be a liberating pedagogical practice to make counterstories visible. This chapter will introduce the project, discuss teachers’ goals to extend students’ understanding of history through oral history practice and community knowledge building, and explore the tensions and possibilities for counterstorytelling within an elementary school history curriculum. I argue that creating a space for history allows teachers to engage in critical pedagogies by utilizing community knowledge to investigate how men, women, and children were involved in or directly affected by local, state, national, and world events.

The first year...

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