Scholastic’s Story Starters – a Fun Way to Play with Writing Prompts

It’s hard to make writing fun sometimes.  I know, I’ve been there.  I’ve picture-prompted and poetry-prompted and current-event-prompted and movie-prompted and advice-column-prompted and every-other-kind-of-prompted over the years.  So, I never turn down another trick or tool to keep things fresh and interesting when it comes to teaching writing.  I found – and am thrilled to share – a very cool site that would make ME excited to write (so I sure hope it works for you & your students, too.)

The site is Scholastic’s Story Starters.  It doesn’t take much explaining, so I’ll just put a few screenshots here to show you how awesome it is…

storystartershome

You can pick the genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, or Scrambler

nameandgrade

Then, students enter their names and choose their grade levels. (The writing tasks really do differ by grade level!)

adventure story

This is the really fun part! Click on the spin wheel and the required story elements are generated for you! If you want to change just one, you can click on those buttons below each element. It is so fun to watch and see what kind of writing prompt is created!

storytype

As a teacher, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this part! It’s great for students to have choice, it’s excellent if you’re teaching any one of these particular types of writing, and it is fantabulous for differentiation!

  Okay, I’m jumping back in here for just a moment.  At this point, you have a decision to make.  If you have used a projector to share this site with the whole class so far, you may want to let them all begin their stories (on paper or computer) based on the class topic that you’ve shown.  However, if you really want students to have some real choice, you can put them all on their own computers and have them all log on to Scholastic Story Starters.

This is kind of one of the best parts of this whole site – it actually provides a related form on which the students can create their documents!  For instance, if a student chose “newspaper” from the screen above, the next screen would look like this:

newspapersample

This particular page is from the 4-6th grade adventure story. It allows students to add additional pages and even leaves space for an illustration!

letterwriting

If you happen to be teaching letter writing skills, look at this great writing paper! Don’t you think kids would be motivated to write with fancy paper like this?

printordownload

And yes, in the end, students can print or save their work! But I’m pretty sure they’ll go with option #3 and choose to start a new story!

So there you have it – Scholastic Story Starters!  If you use this site with your class, I would really love to hear how it went!  You can follow me on Twitter @kerszi, on Facebook at My Primary Techspiration, and here at my blog at kerszi.wordpress.com.   Happy writing!

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