Skills

Teacher Tips #2: Preparing students to write a story

Sarah Lahiff

The second instalment of the ‘Preparing students to write a story’ lesson plan guides students in how to effectively draft together a story. We are currently running a global story competition for children aged 12 and younger. Top twelve stories will be selected as the winners and will be printed in a beautifully bound book. This lesson plan includes tips on how to get your learners writing creatively.

Materials required:

  1. 1. Board
  2. 2. Example story (refer to Teacher Tips #1)
  3. 3. 5-point star
  4. 4. Storyboard template

 

Introducing the task:

It is important to revise with the children the elements of a story from the ‘Teacher Tips #1‘. Ask the class if they can remember the story you analysed and any of the words related to elements of the story such as characters, place, time, or genre etc. Present the 5-point star to aid them. Then, introduce the aim of the lesson: Writing a story.

Language presentation and practice.

Using your example story, ask learners to point out examples of language to describe the character, place, time etc. Ask them to give more examples from outside the story. Write them on the board. If you have a projector, you could display the story on the board and ask students to help you highlight the words.

If you have more time, you could use these downloadable templates to help learners practice story-related language further.

Planning and writing the story.

Hand out printed copies of the story board template. Authors often use storyboarding to help them plan the story, e.g. the sequence of events, description of characters. Ask the class to complete the storyboard by drawing the characters and events of the story following the Who, Where, When, What and How. The draft should include the names of the characters and the title. Using the language examples from the board:

  • At lower level, learners can complete a storyboard with illustrations and short subtitles (or dialogues). If they feel confident, students could continue to enhance the story with speech bubbles, exclamations, or sounds that appear in the story.
  • Fast finishers could attempt to write the story from start to finish based on their drawings.

 

Peer feedback.

Encourage the class to work together if possible – writing doesn’t need to be a solitary task. In pars students can first present their storyboards to a partner for feedback – are all the elements of the story present? Subsequently, students could read their partner’s stories and provide feedback on the following:

  • What did they like about the story?
  • How did the story make them feel and why?

 

Assessment.

Assessing students’ written stories should be more than checking grammar and spelling although it is good to select one or two points to focus students’ attention e.g. the use of –s in Present Simple verbs or comparative adjectives. It’s also an opportunity to gain insight into:

  • Learners’ skills in organising their thoughts and ideas,
  • Imagination
  • Creativity

 

Reflect with your class on the writing process:

  • Did your students enjoy it?
  • What they find easy, and what caused them difficulty?
  • What was helpful?

 

Click to download a copy of the complete lesson plan #2. Alternatively, visit the first instalment ‘Teacher Tips #1‘ for more information on how to introduce the elements and framework of a story. Visit the competition blog for more information on how to submit your students’ stories.

Find out more about the extension projects available with this lesson plan.


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