Dispatches from the Moth · Posted On: Mar 12, 2024

Storytelling School with The Moth: Monthly Storytelling Activity #65

by The Moth Staff

Lesson #65: IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE:  “360 Beats Per Minute” - Isobel Connelly


Hello and Happy Spring! This month we bring you a story from Moth Education Alumna Isobel Connelly. Isobel’s story touches on health, life, and being a kid navigating an unknowable outcome. It was originally recorded on December 15, 2014 at the Education GradSLAM.

This month’s Storytelling School story is:

“360 Beats Per Minute” by Isobel Connelly

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

Talk to each other about Isobel’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 how listening to a story can be a truly IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE. We often coach tellers to be specific in how they share their experience and keep us in the moment. Isobel takes it a step further and really drops us directly into the life or death action of this story right from the start with one of her very first lines: “I sit in an ER with my mom.” From that moment on, we’re inside her perspective as the rest of the events unfold.

Here are some questions to get your conversation going:

  1. How does Isobel maintain suspense and keep the stakes high, even though we clearly know she survives the harrowing events of the story? 

  2. What details does Isobel include to continually remind us that she is just six years old when this takes place? 

  3. How did Isobel’s specificity in describing her experience affect your listening? What parts of the story were easy for you to imagine? 

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 Isobel’s exact experience, it still may have reminded you of a story from your life. Get inspired by these prompt questions to tell your own story!

Let’s Play “Have You Ever”

Raise your hand if … 

  • You’ve ever felt your heart beat too fast

  • You’ve ever found out later that you’d been left out of the loop for your own good

  • You’ve ever been to the ER

  • You’ve ever looked into someone’s eyes for reassurance

  • You’ve ever trusted the professionals

  • You’ve ever NOT trusted the professionals 

  • You’ve ever been kept in the dark about something

  • You’ve ever been through something almost no one else has experienced

  • You’ve ever felt like something isn’t working properly 

  • You’ve ever stopped being afraid to say how you’re feeling 

  • You’ve ever not understood something that is happening to you

  • You’ve ever been scared of the future 


  • For three to four minutes practice box breathing. 1) Take a deep breath in 2) Exhale to a count of four 3) Hold your lungs empty for a four-count 4) Inhale at the same pace to a count of four 5) Hold air in your lungs for a count of four 6) Exhale, and begin again. Then take five to ten minutes to think about how you felt before, during, and after. Write down your observations and feelings.

  • Create a map of your life! Draw out a timeline of significant events, places, and people you’ve come across on your journey. What comes up for you?

    • BONUS: Draw the bigger moments as bigger pictures/fonts, and the smaller moments as smaller pictures/fonts. Are there any events that have changed in size? Does any of that surprise you?

Share this post with a friend!

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

Storyteller Bio

Isobel Connelly graduated from the School of the Future in NYC. She went on to attend Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and is now working as a graphic designer back in her hometown of NYC.

The Moth Education Program works with young people and educators to build community through storytelling workshops, performances and innovative resources.

We are always looking for more young people and educators to join our storytelling workshops!  To learn more, apply for a workshop, or refer someone you know, please go to themoth.org/education

The Moth Education Program is made possible by generous support from Unlikely Collaborators.

Additional program support is provided by the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The Gottesman Fund, The Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation and Con Edison.