As an author myself, I find the task of planning, writing, and editing a story challenging. How much more so for kids when they are told to write a story.
“What am I supposed to do, Teacher?” they ask.
Then they give you what they wrote. Sometimes the stories work, sometimes they don’t.
Teaching kids to write excellent stories is actually not difficult. All they need is a handle on the structure of story.
How can you teach your students to write a good story?
First, students need to know what makes up a story. Secondly, they need to put their story idea into that kind of structure. Thirdly, they need to write the story. And fourthly they need to edit their story.
The basics of a story are:
Three Point Plot development:
1. Start your lesson by making a chart like this on the board.
2. List some Adventure genre movies that the students can all relate to.
Movies are a great resource for teaching story, since they demand order and structure in order to satisfy the public.
Talk about the elements in each of the stories, eliciting answers as to the following questions.
- How is the Title related to the problem/setting/character of the story?
- How is the setting related to the story problem? Is it a vital part of the problem or is is non-essential?
- What is the core problem in the story and what is the outcome (climax) it moves toward?
- What are the characteristics of the main character, and how do they help him/her solve the main problem of the story?
3. Now make a Dramatic Arc above the Plot section.
Explain how a climax is like the most exciting thing that the story has been building toward. Story events fall on the lines building to the climax. In other words, things have to happen in order for the problem to be solved. Usually, the main character tries to fix the problem and gets himself into a bigger jam.
The solution to the problem comes when the main character uses his special powers (this can be cleverness or knowledge or magic) to be able to foil the bad guy.
Now talk about some of the events in the movies you have listed that build up the story and make the climax happen. These events work like rungs of a ladder climbing toward where the story wants to be.
After the climax, the story winds down. This is called the denoument. Loose ends are tied up and a new normal starts. Ask the students what final events happen after the climax in the movie-stories you are studying.
4. After the students have a general idea of story structure, they are ready to write their own story!
Use this excellent resource to enable them to plan and implement their own story: Click the picture.
I would love to read stories your students write after they use this plan. I’m more than willing to showcase winning stories from your class. Send me a message!