Dispatches from the Moth · Posted On: Apr 13, 2021

Storytelling School with The Moth: Storytelling Activity #36

by Moth EDU

Lesson #36: TONE: "Hot Wheels"- Jayson Nuñez

We’ve missed you here at Storytelling School with The Moth! Just like in today’s story, we can’t wait to grab our bikes or running shoes and get outside! It’s been over a year since our first blog and we appreciate your continued engagement and support as we explore and discuss stories. For this month’s blog, we’re taking a look at a story about getting back up (on the bike perhaps) even when you get knocked down.

This week’s Storytelling School story is:

“Hot Wheels” by Jayson Nuñez

Read the transcript of Jayson’s story.

After you’ve watched and read the story, you can do the following activities: 

Talk to each other about Jayson’s story. 

For each post, we’ll highlight a different crafting strategy for how to make your story compelling. For this post, we’ll focus on TONE.  Telling a story is like casting a spell on the audience. As we’re crafting, we have to decide what we want them to feel after listening to us. Jayson could tell another version of this story with exactly the same events but choose to focus on the pain of losing his bike and it would affect the listeners in a very different way. Instead, Jayson chooses a decidedly optimistic tone for this story and it helps him decide what details to include and how to structure the story. 

  • From the very beginning of the story, what details and language does Jayson include that contribute to the overall tone?  What do you think he chose not to include? 
  • Jayson tells us that his dad is “really big on metaphors”. How does Jayson play with metaphor in this story? And what is the main CHANGE* for Jayson? 
  • How does Jayson’s delivery and the way he interacts with the audience affect the tone of this story? 
  • How does Jayson make the STAKES* clear about why this bike is important to him? 

*See these posts focused on STAKES and CHANGE with other stories as examples. 

Write or tell your own story.

At The Moth, we believe in celebrating the diversity and commonality of human experience. Often, listening to someone’s story will remind us of a story from our own lives. While you almost definitely have not had Jayson’s exact experience, it still may have reminded you of a story from your own life. Get inspired by these prompt questions to tell your own story!

  • Tell us about a time you were looking forward to a big birthday 
  • Tell us about a time you knew exactly what you wanted 
  • Tell us about a time you felt like it was just you and one thing in a dark room with a light shining on it 
  • Tell us about a time you were given a hand-me-down from a relative or friends
  • Tell us about a time you got a surprise
  • Tell us about a time you had to wait 
  • Tell us about a time you were on a mission
  • Tell us about a time something you cared about was suddenly gone
  • Tell us about a time life knocked you down
  • Tell us about a time you got back on your feet


  • What’s your favorite (pandemic safe) outside activity? Now that it’s officially spring, grab your mask, head outside, and have some fun!
  • What would your ultimate bike or other mode of transportation look like? Use your imagination to be as wild or practical as you’d like! You can even use this bike design template to get you started.

Share this post with a friend!
And check back the second Tuesday of next month for another story.

Storyteller bio

Jayson Nuñez hails from Washington Heights, NYC. He is a junior at Ithaca College majoring in Television and Radio with a concentration on Post Production and Location Sound. In his free time he loves to check in on his friends and explore New York City while riding his bike. 

The Moth Education Program works with young people and educators to build community through storytelling workshops, performances and innovative resources. To learn more, visit themoth.org/education

The Moth Education Program is made possible by generous support from The Kresge Foundation, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association Charitable Trust, the Kate Spade New York Foundation, and Alice Gottesman. 

Additional program support is provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies, the New York State Council on the Arts, ConEdison, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.