Students will demonstrate their ability to generate creative ideas by collaborating on a one-page scene involving two characters.
Koosh Ball (or any kind of soft, small ball), chalk, chalkboard, writing paper, writing utensils, magazines, books, photos, props, etc., “Treasure Chest” (any kind of box / container – can be decorated to look like a treasure chest), chalkboard, chalk.
Upon entering the classroom, students will find teacher sitting on the floor, holding a Koosh Ball. On the board will be written, “Please sit in a circle on the floor.” Once everyone is one the floor, the teacher will introduce the begin telling a story. It can start off very basic, and then get more dramatic. After a few minutes, at a crucial point in the plot, the teacher will toss the Koosh Ball to the student beside him/her, and tell the student to take over the story, then pass it along.
Step 1 – Directions: Once the students have each gone once, and the teacher gets the Koosh Ball back, teacher continues the story, but instead of passing it to next student, tosses it to a student in the circle (maybe across, diagonally, etc.). This process of tossing the Koosh and adding to the story will continue until everyone has gone four or five time, then the teacher will prompt the student that has the Koosh to finish the story.
Step 2 – Discussion: Teacher will discuss the activity with the students. Prompt Questions for the Students: What did you think about that activity? How did you feel throughout that activity? What made the activity good or fun and why? What wasn’t good or fun about it and why? What was the hardest part of the activity? Why? What was the easiest thing about the activity? What made that easy for you? Did you find that coming up with parts of the story came easily to you, or did you really have to think in advance? How did this activity change for you when the Koosh was thrown randomly?
Step 3 – Instruction / Discussion: Teacher says, “Since none of you knew we were going to do this when you came in this morning, how did you get ideas for the story?” Possible Responses: “Just guessed,” “Said whatever came into my head,” “It was something I heard on the radio / saw in a movie or on TV / read in a book,” “I’ve been thinking about that subject,” “Got the idea from my friends / family experiences.” Teacher writes students’ responses on board. Says, “These are all how we come up ideas for stories and plays. I’m going to combine all these places we get ideas for stories from.” Teacher writes “EVERYWHERE” on the board.
Step 4 – Instruction / Discussion / Checking for Understanding: Teacher asks for a volunteer to come up front by him/her, and gives that student a slip of paper, asking the student not to read it until told to. The teacher role-plays with the student, telling the student an idea for a story. After telling the idea, teacher prompts the student to read the slip of paper, which reads “That’s a stupid idea!” The teacher asks the class what they thought of that response and how it would make them feel. Possible Responses: “It was mean,” “It was judgmental,” “I would feel dumb,” etc. Teacher writes on the board, “Get juices flowing now, judge later!” Emphasizes that brainstorming is all about getting creative juices flowing, judging and rewriting come later.
Step 5 – Direction / Activity: Teacher tells students to follow her/him outside. Takes students to a spot on school grounds (can be a field, courtyard, etc.) and hands them all paper and writing utensil. Teacher gives students 10 minutes to freewrite (without judging) their thoughts, feelings, ideas, anything they want but has to be something that they wouldn’t mind their grandmother reading.
Mid-Lesson Assessment: Teacher walks around the students and checks to see how they’re working. If some students are having trouble writing whatever thoughts, teacher can assess and provide prompt questions to get the students writing their thoughts / ideas / feelings down.
Step 6 – Discussion: Teacher discusses activity with students. Questions to ask: How was this activity harder / easier than the Koosh Ball game? What made it easier / harder? How did you feel during this activity compared to earlier? What did you enjoy about this activity?
Step 7 – Directions: Teacher has students follow back inside. In the middle of the classroom, teacher has “Treasure Chest.” Asks students to each pick two items. Combine the two items they picked with the ideas generated during their freewriting time to come up with as many story ideas as they can, but at least two.
Step 8 – Discussion: After ten minutes, have students share their story ideas. After sharing their ideas, ask the students to discuss the experience. Questions to ask: Did the addition of the items help your ideas? How? Mid-Lesson Assessment Point: Determine the students’ understanding from the story ideas shared.
Step 9 – Objective Activity: Have students get together with person on their right. Using the story ideas they both came up with, have the pair combine one of each of their ideas into one main story. After they’ve come up with a final idea, they are to collaborate on a one page scene between two characters from their story.
Step 10 – Final Assessment: Students present their final collaborative pieces
Step 11 – Closure: Ask the students to share how they’ve felt throughout the process. What have you learned about getting story ideas? How can you apply the things we’ve done today to get story ideas in the future? Give students handout of ideas to help them write when they get stuck. Remind them that there are ideas for stories EVERYWHERE – they just have to look!
– Participation: 25 pts – Freewriting: 25 pts – Story Ideas: 25 pts – Final Piece: 25 pts