Story starters for any grade level are a great way to practice writing skills.
I remember being in 4th grade, and loving creative writing lessons with my teacher. I would be transported to space, the desert, or a fancy castle. It was a chance to show my creative side in a “quiet” manner.
Being a very, very shy child, shining bright amongst my peers was uncomfortable and embarrassing. But, I could show my creativity within my journal prompts. It was a safe place for me to shine.
What If Story Starters
Writing prompts can be quick or lengthy. They can be fantasy or even scary. Use pictures or text to convey the prompt to your kids.
Good examples don’t have to be long and drawn out. They can be simple short morning work.
Any of these are perfect for getting students to think outside the box. Older students can free write full pages of words, while elementary children can begin by drawing pictures to convey their ideas.
- the tigers at the zoo escaped?
- it started snowing during the summer?
- the sky was green and the grass was blue?
- you found the end of the rainbow?
- you won the lottery?
- your pet suddenly could talk?
- you could only eat your favorite food everyday for the rest of your life?
- we found another planet in space that was just like ours?
- video games no longer worked?
- polar bears stopped roaring and started tweeting like a bird?
- phones only worked if they were plugged into the wall?
- squares could roll?
- people were born old and got younger every day?
- snow was made of chocolate?
- you could fly?
- everyone had a dolphin as a pet?
- socks were worn outside of shoes?
- today was opposite day?
- you could only speak in rhymes?
- everyone agreed on everything?
Star Student Story
Another idea that I have used in the past to encourage writing is a Star Student Story. It’s a ton of fun and is super simple to implement:
- Begin by starting the story with a one page story you have begun. It can be about anything you like. But leave it open-ended.
- Place the cover, your first page, and one additional blank lined page into a report cover folder with brads.
- Then, read the first page to the class and pass it along to the next star student.
- He or she gets a week to add on to your story on the blank page in the booklet.
- On the day due, you take the folder and read again your page, then pass along to the star student to read his or her page.
- This pattern continues each week. Several weeks in, you will have a lineup in the front of the classroom in order ready to read their page in the classroom novel. Note: It will take some time to read it through the longer it gets, but the students LOVE being a part of the story and hearing how it evolves.
- After everyone in the class has had a page added to the story, you can write the conclusion page to wrap up the writing.
- As a special touch, I always typed up each child’s page at the end of the school year and included the author’s name on the page (reasoning is because the handwriting wasn’t always easy for all to read). Then I printed it out on plain white paper and had the child use markers to add a border around the edges and add their signature to the page.
- Last – I printed color copies of the “book” and used as an end of the school year gift along with a slideshow of classroom photos.
Parents, administrators, and students loved it and it cost me nothing to give those special mementos of the school year.
Would you like premade templates for the Star Student Story Packet?
Packet includes 24 pages, 10 customizable covers for your to personalize, and is perfect for grades 2 and up! Click HERE to grab it now!
Printable Sentence Starters for Middle and High School Stories
Having printed out writing starters for middle or high school students is a great homework assignment. You can assign one prompt per week that is due by the end of the week.
This allows students the flexibility to work on the homework when there is time in their extra curricular activities, employments schedules, and around family commitments. Plus, you can expect a much longer final version.
Some fun options for those older students that you could type up on a sheet of paper and pass out:
30 Good Ideas for Short Stories for Middle Schoolers: Some ideas include sleepovers, field trips, and dream cars. Great for this age group.
Writing Prompts: This site has an entire list of first or last sentences for the writing. Could be fun to see how students interpret those scenarios.
High School Creative Writing Story Starters: This site didn’t have a lot on the page, but it definitely had some ideas for older students to get started.
50 Story Starters for Teens: A great list of one sentence starters. Some include driving, ambiguous creatures, and dancing.
High School Writing Prompts: A Pinterest board filled with prompts for your viewing pleasure.
Halloween Creative Writing Prompts: If your middle or high school class is into scary or spooky things, this list of journal entries might be just the ticket.
Creative Writing Prompts Middle School: Here is a list of 36 different questions for students to write about for a writing lesson.
8th grade Vocabulary Story Starters: Love this idea for incorporating technology and current vocabulary into the writing assignment. Pretty cool!
What are your favorite ways to encourage writing in your classroom? We would love to hear your tips in the comments below too!