Dispatches from the Moth · Posted On: Sep 14, 2022

Storytelling School with The Moth: Monthly Lesson #52: TENSION

by The Moth Staff

Storytelling School with The Moth: Monthly Lesson #52: TENSION “RUNNIN’ THE STREETS” - Aisha Rodriguez

It’s back to school season and Storytelling School with The Moth will help you start the school year off with stories in mind! This month’s story is about protection and safety. 

We first met Aisha at an 8-week Education residency with her high school, The Beacon School, in New York City. The Moth’s Education program partners with schools in the NYC area to provide the space and tools for young people to develop and share their personal stories; to empathize with and listen to their peers; and to understand the unique power of each person’s voice.

This month’s Storytelling School story is:

“Runnin’ The Streets” by Aisha Rodriguez

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

Talk to each other about Aisha’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 TENSION. A good story has us in its grip. Will they or won’t they? How will they escape? How can this possibly turn out well? Let’s consider how Aisha builds suspense. 

  • What context does Aisha give us that helps us understand what’s at stake in this story?- What does she have to win or lose?

  • How does the phone call raise the tension?

  • Aisha does an amazing job of building anticipation throughout. Did you notice you were holding your breath as you listened? What choices did Aisha make that heightened that feeling? 

Let’s Play “Have You Ever”

Raise your hand if … 

  • You’ve ever felt like you ran the streets

  • You’ve ever stayed out too late

  • You’ve ever felt like one of the guys 

  • You’ve ever gotten a perplexing phone call

  • You’ve ever been great at a sport 

  • You’ve ever had a friend or family member that had your back 

  • You’ve ever felt like you had to protect yourself


  • What does it mean for you to feel safe? What places, things, and people mean safety to you? Draw them out on a piece of paper. Each of your drawings can be connected to a story. About each one, ask yourself: why does this make me feel safe; when did this person/place/thing come into my life; and how do I use/call upon these people/place/things to make me feel safe?

  • Has there ever been a moment when someone says the opposite of what you think they’re going to say? There were a couple moments when Aisha thought she was in trouble but she actually wasn’t. Complete this sentence for yourself: I thought ____ would happen, but what happened instead was _____. A story lies in between your expectations and the reality. 

Share this post with a friend!

And check back the second Tuesday of every month for another story.

Storyteller bio

 Aisha Rodriguez is a college student who lives in Harlem. She is passionate about environmental, racial, and gender justice, and empowering her community, whether it be through telling personal stories or engaging in dialogue with her peers.


Tag on social:  @aisha_rodriguez 

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 Hollywood Foreign Press Association Charitable Trust, the Kate Spade New York Foundation, Alice Gottesman, and The Paul & Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation.

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.