Thursday, March 28, 2013

Tech Tool: Story Starters

English teachers, this one is for you. Check out the Story Starters tool on

I was visiting a student teacher yesterday and she was starting a new unit on creative writing with her 6th graders. She had a variety of tools to help them generate ideas for stories, but this one was probably the class's favorite.

A screengrab from

Pull the lever to spin the wheels, and see what you come up with! You'll get:
  • a genre - postcard, short story, newspaper ad, list of five characteristics, etc.
  • a character - an inventor, a vampire, a game show host, a gorilla, etc.
  • a description - horrible, thousand-year-old, depressed, sunburned, etc.
  • a situation - stranded on a desert island, solving a crime, winning the lottery, riding a giant sloth to work, etc.

If you don't like the suggestions, you can spin each wheel independently to get another option!

So you end up with something like:
  • "Write a myth about a horrible gymnast who collects stamps."
  • "Write a funny story about an awkward elephant seal who tries to get into the Guinness Book of World Records."
  • "Describe a day in the life of a brainy carnival clown who discovers she has super powers."

You see where this is going? (Good night...there are some stories here!)

Also, there are different levels for different grade levels. For example, if you choose the K-1st level, you might get something like, "Write two things about a silly skunk whose best friend is a duck." (More developmentally appropriate that way.)

Lots of fun possibilities here! Would you use this with your students?

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