Change the Ending – Challenging your students to think outside the box

Historically, I have found that students are generally unsure of how to end a story.

Stories end of up being a dream or they’re wrapped a little too conveniently. Rarely do students steer forwards an ending that is surprising, shocking or a twist ending.

Why is that?

Because students draw from what they know. They aren’t watching obscure art house films with ambiguous ending. They, more than likely, absorbed children students that play it say for the audience.

For this reason, we need to get students thinking differently about the ending of a story without the need to showcase stories that wouldn’t be suitable for that audience.

Here is a strategy to get students thinking differently about the ending of their story.

  1. Brainstorm with an ending to story is. You might come up with ideas like: the ending of a the main conflict, or closure to what the character has experienced, the resolution or the beginning of a new chapter. Develop a criteria for how a story should end.
  2. Now, discuss with student how they would know if the ending was boring. Allow for a variety of answers. Develop a criteria for a boring short story ending.
  3. Present each criteria up on a whiteboard or display.
  4. Inform students that they will rewrite the ending of a story they have have read in class.
  5. Have students brainstorm using a cooperative strategy 3 different ways that they could end the story differently. It must meet the criteria that you brainstormed earlier.
  6. Now, students are ready to have a go at writing their own ending. Present a slide like one below to direct what students should do. Note, I have referred to the short school Smart Ice Cream by Paul Jennings. Insert your own example.

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