Showing posts with label story prompts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label story prompts. Show all posts

Saturday, March 31, 2018

How to Generate Random Story Starters In Google Sheets

Flippity offers great Google Sheets templates that can be used for all kinds of things from random name selection to progress tracking to generating random story starters. Flippity's Mix & Match template can be used to create image-based and text-based random story starters. Watch my video that is embedded below to learn how to use Flippity's Mix & Match template.


Applications for Education
One of the things that I like about the Mix & Match template compared to other story starter templates is that you can give students as much or as little prompting as you like. For example, you can create a story starter that has an image prompt for just the introduction and conclusion thereby leaving students to come up with their own ideas for the body of the story. Or you could give them just a conclusion prompt in text form which would then make them responsible for generating their own ideas for the rest of the story. The story starter options are almost limitless when you use Flippity's Mix & Match template.

Learn more ways to use Google Sheets in my online course, G Suite for Teachers.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

5 Good Story Starters for Students

On Tuesday morning I shared the idea of using the Story Dice apps (available for iOS and Android) as writing prompts or story starters for students. A few of you wrote to me and asked about similar options that will work on Chromebooks. Here is a handful of story starter options that will work in your web browser on a Chromebook or any other laptop.

StoryToolz offer a nice collection of useful tools for writers. Writers who are struggling to come up with ideas for fiction stories will like the story starters featured on StoryToolz. StoryToolz has three tools that you can use to get story ideas; Random Conflicts, Half Title Generator, and Story Idea Generator. To use any of these three tools just select the tool from the main menu then look at the randomly generated idea. If you don't like the options, run the tool again until you get options that you like.

Make Beliefs Comix is an excellent service that offers comic strip templates and writing prompts in seven languages. The templates and prompts can be completed online or you can print them out to give to your students. One of the great offerings from Make Beliefs Comix is a free ebook called Something to Write About (link opens a PDF). The free ebook contains dozens of writing prompts. Students can write in the ebook online and print their work. Alternatively, you can print all or part of the book to give to students.

Scholastic Story Starters is a great tool that students will enjoy using to create short, creative fiction stories. Scholastic Story Starters offers four story themes; fantasy, adventure, sci-fi, and scrambler. To create a story on Story Starters a students picks a theme, enter his or her name, chooses his or her grade, and spins the big wheels of prompts. The student can spin the wheels until he or she finds a prompt he or she likes. After the prompt is selected the student can write his or her story using the letter, postcard, notebook, or newspaper format provided by Scholastic Story Starters.

Flippity offers a template called Mix & Match. Mix & Match lets you create an online grid featuring random bits of information or random phrases that you write into your spreadsheet. You enter the information that students see into a spreadsheet arranged in columns with headings of your choosing. When students view your Mix & Match page they can then hide parts of the page's display to create sentences. See the demo here or look at the screenshot below for a visual.

Speaking of Flippity, they also offer a Mad Libs template that you can use in Google Sheets. Watch the following video to see how to create Mad Libs activities through Google Sheets.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Dozens of Story Starters in One Free eBook

Make Beliefs Comix is a great service that offers comic strip templates and writing prompts in seven languages. The templates and prompts can be completed online or you can print them out to give to your students.

The latest release from Make Beliefs Comix is a free ebook called Something to Write About (link opens a PDF). The free ebook contains dozens of writing prompts. Students can write in the ebook online and print their work. Alternatively, you can print all or part of the book to give to students.

Applications for Education
One of the things that I like about Something to Write About is that the writing prompts aren't just one sentence, "tell me about something interesting" prompts. Instead, nearly all of the prompts have further suggestions to help students start their stories. In many cases student will find a full page of further suggestions related to the original prompt.

As you can use the writing templates online or as printed documents, Make Beliefs Comix is a good resource for classrooms that do not have enough laptops or tablets for every student.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Story Prompts - 20 Random(ish) Pictures at a Time

My dog, Morrison, smiling
in a canoe.
Pechaflickr is a neat little tool built by Alan Levine. Pechaflickr displays twenty random images pulled from Flickr based on a tag (keyword) that you enter. For example, enter the word dog and twenty pictures of dogs will appear. But all of the the images don't appear at once. Instead each one appears for only twenty seconds. Alan built the tool as a fun way to get people to try their skills at giving impromptu presentations. But as he wrote in a recent blog post, people are using it in other ways like learning a second language.

Applications for Education
As I tested Pechaflickr I started to think about using it as a source of story starters for students. Enter a tag into Pechaflickr and as each image appears have students try to write down the first word or sentence that comes to mind. At the end of the set of images students can pick their favorite images to write about in their stories.

Ten Sites and Apps to Inspire Creative Writing

Last week at the Riding the Wave conference in Gimli, Manitoba someone asked me for suggestions on sites that her students could access to find story prompts. StoryToolz.com was the first thing that came to my mind then. I also suggested Make Beliefs Comix. Those are two of the ten options that are included in my slideshow of suggestions embedded below.