The English Classroom

A GUIDE TO IMPROVING STUDENT LITERACY

The Situation

Your students find it difficult to develop ideas for their short stories.

The Solution

Writing does not always have been worksheets. In fact, I would steer clear from this as much as you can! Think of yourself as a student…what do you find interesting? How do you prefer to learn?

An activity that you could easily run in the classroom to get students developing their ideas involves nothing more than a few blocks. Here is what you do:

  1. Get some plain blank blocks such as Jenga pieces – this is what I have used.
  2. Using a permanent maker, record a generic character, setting and conflict on theme on the side of the block.
  3. You can store these blocks in a small container like the one in the photos.
  4. Bring the box into the classroom. The purpose of the blocks is that students need to develop a story using the three blocks (Character, setting, theme) that are provided to them.
  5. You can do this two ways: If you have a small group of students (Less than 10) you might like to place the container in the middle of the desk for students to choose the blocks from; or, you could provide students with the three narrative conventions.

This is a great tool to quickly get students developing an idea. They have to piece together (pardon the pun) what their story might be about. From there, they can use this idea, or it might inspire them to create a new idea altogether. The activity is here to get the ball rolling and creative juices flowing!

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