By Jamie Niman

Our first writing exercise utilized story maps to organize key information from a music video we watched in class (Aha – Take on Me).  Students were given time to write using the story map and beginning/ending prompts.

We also used character cards (from the game Short Order Heroes) in an exercise called Show, Don’t Tell in which the students write sentences depicting the tell word by showing the character’s actions or other descriptive information.  Each card illustrates a character along with an adjective.  Our job was to make the character more interesting, creating a background together as a class and then assigned cards individually for practice.
We also used Show, Don’t Tell to add descriptive writing to journaling events, such as the fourth of July activities by incorporating all five senses: the sight of the brightly colored balloons filling up with water; the feeling and movement of quickly slipping down the cool, inflatable water slide; the taste of cold, vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup; the smell of buttery popcorn at the movie theater; and the sound of campers laughing and yelling as they throw colored powder at one another.

Using the game Rory’s Story Cubes, we worked together to create a story with guided prompts that incorporate the five narrative elements (character, setting, plot, conflict, and resolution).  Students were asked to write a story on their own using the standard Rory’s Story Cubes or the Batman Story Cubes, utilizing the pictures on the dice to create each sentence and maintain theme of the story.