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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Writing: Encourage creative writing with Scholastic's Story Starters

I came across this excellent writing site while trying to find some new ways to help my 5th grade home schooled special needs child write a little more and enjoy doing it.  With Scholastic's Story Starters students get to spin a "Slot Machine" styled randomizer that randomizes parts of a theme.  Each part doesn't necessarily go with the other parts so a student would have to really be creative with his writing to tie in all parts of the writing prompt.

For example, after spinning the machine I get:
"Describe a typical day of"....."a weightless"...."inventor"......"who plays in an intergalactic football league."

The ideas don't match all the way, but now my son has to go and figure out how to tie together all parts of this story.

Here is a quick tutorial/show and tell about what you can do with Scholastic's Story Starters.

1.  Go to

2.  Your students will first pick a different story starter theme.  Adventure, Fantasy, Sci-Fi or a completely random idea.

3.  In this example I chose the Adventure story.  Your student will now type their first name in and select the grade level they belong to.

4.  They can either spin each individual part or the bigger lever which will randomly select all 4 part to the story.  You will see each part appear after you spin the wheels.

5.  Click the "Next" button found in the bottom right corner.

6.  Now they will pick what type of writing assignment they need to do.  The choices are writing in a notebook, letter, newspaper, or postcard.  You can also select whether they will need to draw as part of their story.  Click the "Next" button.

7.  Now your students will click on the paper template and start typing their story.  They can also click in the box to draw if they selected the "drawing" option.

8.  Off to the right of your writing canvas you will see some other buttons that allow you to start new stories, delete pages, add, pages, and navigate through your pages.  Once your students are done with the story they will click the "All Done" button.

9.  Your students will then be directed to a window where they can print or download their story.  The download button will download the story as a PDF.

Give the Story Starters a chance.  I think your students will surely enjoy the unique and many times weir themes.


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