Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Scrambled Stories

Leslie Dobbs

Description

Students brainstorm several examples of plots, settings, and characters and randomly select these elements to create their own short stories.

Objectives

The student uses an effective organizational pattern and substantial support to achieve a sense of completeness or wholeness (for example, considering audience, sequencing events, choosing effective words; using specific details to clarify meaning).

Materials

-Pre-cut slips of paper (about one quarter of an 81/2 x 11 sheet of paper)
-Three bags or small boxes
-Copies of graphic organizer (enough so each student has two copies-see associated file)
-Graphic organizer checklist (see associated file)
-Overhead sheet or board with markers or chalk

Preparations

1. Review elements of short stories with students.
2. Prepare enough copies of short story graphic organizer for the students to each have two copies.
3. Cut several slips of paper (at least four for every student), each one about one quarter of an 81/2 x 11 sheet of paper.
4. Write examples of story development questions on board or overhead.
5. Prepare three bags or small boxes, one for each of the story elements (characters, setting, and plot).
6. You may also choose to divide your class into groups before class time on the second day.

Procedures

Day 1
1. Review story elements: Character development, setting, and plot. Discuss with the students what the reader will want to know about the setting, the characters, and the plot. Write some questions on the board that the writer should answer in the development of his or her story. The following are some examples you may discuss:
a) Character Development: What does this character look like? How old is this character? What does this character like to do? What are the strengths and weaknesses of this character? What dislikes or pet peeves does this character have? How does this character treat others?
b) Setting: Where does the story take place? In a small town or a large city? In what country? Does it take place on this planet or another world? When does the story take place? In what year(s)? What are some events going on during this time?
c) Plot Development: What is the conflict in the story? What are the events leading up to the climax? What is the climax of the story? How is the conflict resolved? What happens after the conflict is resolved?

2. Pass out graphic organizer for writing a short story located in the associated file. Go over it using a familiar story to complete (as an example.)

3. Instruct students to complete the graphic organizer for a short story idea. You will need to model this carefully and circulate to offer feedback as students work. As the students finish, remind them to proofread and review their work and continue to think about and develop their ideas.

4. When students finish their graphic organizers, pass out pre-cut slips of paper, four (4) slips per student.

5. Instruct students to describe two (2) characters from their graphic organizers on a slip of paper (one character per piece of paper). Tell the students they will have approximately ten minutes to complete this task. Ask the students to be as specific as possible and write as much information as they can in the ten minutes they will have. Direct students to the character development questions on the board.

6. After ten minutes, collect the character slips and place them in a box or bag labeled “Characters.”

7. Instruct the students to now describe the setting on another slip of paper. Tell the students they will have five minutes to complete this activity. Ask the students to be as specific as possible and write as much information as they can in the five minutes they will have. Again, direct students to the questions on the board.

8. After five minutes, collect the setting slips and place them in a box or bag labeled “Settings.”

9. Instruct the students to now describe the plots on the last slip of paper. Tell the students they will have five minutes to complete this activity. Ask the students to be as specific as possible and write as much information as they can in the five minutes they will have. Again, direct students to the questions on the board.

10. After five minutes, collect the plot slips and place them in a box or bag labeled “Plots.”

11. Review the story elements you discussed today. Tell the students that tomorrow they will be randomly picking characters, settings, and plots to use to expand on and eventually write stories. (You will need to review the slips and note any that are "impossible" to use the next day. You might want to have some extra that you created handy before beginning the activity on day 2.)

Day 2
1. Review yesterday’s activities with the students. Review the story elements and show off the three bags or boxes of story elements (Characters, Settings, and Plots) prepared yesterday.

2. Assign students to groups of three or four. Remind students of appropriate behavior during group work. Stress that each group member needs to do his or her share of the work. You may choose to give individual participation assessment to the students for their work in the groups. If so, review expected group behaviors with students prior to putting them into groups.

3. Distribute the graphic organizer for writing a short story to each student.

4. Ask that one group member from each group come and pick two (2) characters, one (1) setting, and one (1) plot from the bags or boxes you have prepared.

5. Instruct the groups expand by including additional details using the graphic organizer and the information given on each group’s slips of paper. Each group member will need to write his or her own outline, but the students should work together to come up with the expanded outline. When this activity is finished, each group will have one story outline, and each group member will have a copy of this story outline. Again you will need to model this.

6. When the students have finished writing their group outlines, instruct them return to their seats and continue working individually. They will now individually expand their outlines to use later in writing their own short stories. Discuss your criteria for the expansion. (for instance, you must add two additional details for each character, two additional details for the settting and one additional rising action for the plot.) Students may need to add this on a separate sheet of paper which should be attached to the graphic organizer.

7. You may wish to give allow students to finish this story for homework or you may give them two or three days to work on the story.

Assessments

Use the graphic organizer checklist found in the associated file to assess the students' expanded graphic organizers. Offer feedback and suggestions to those students who need to continue working on their organizers.

Extensions

Students will need to use the elements of plot, setting, and character development to brainstorm and create their own short stories. As some of this work will be completed in groups, modifications for ESE and ESOL students can be met easily.
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