Where Short Stories Come From …

As we get into our daily routine of writing, I know some of my students will struggle with short story writing prompts. They need something to move them forward, to spark an idea. So, one activity that I do at the start of the year — and then repeat later on — is to have all of my students generate lists of possible short story titles. They then select one of their titles and “donate” it to the classroom. The title is written on a slip of paper and put into a Story Jar, which we then pull from as inspiration from time to time. I also record the story titles as a document that I keep on my computer.

You’d be surprised at how much fun they have with this assignment. It helps that I tell them that “you don’t need to know the story,” just come up with an interesting title. The stories may come later. Or not. They may never write the stories for the titles they create. I think they like that kind of freedom.

Here are a few that we generated yesterday from one of my four writing classes:

  • The Hole in the Garden
  • Trapped at Ground Never
  • Dead End
  • Inside a Lamborghini
  • The Big Red Tractor
  • The Norris School Nightmare
  • The Continuous Story of Jimmy the Jellybean
  • The Messed-up Play
  • The Boys’ Bathroom
  • The Charmed Pencil
  • Duck Duck Zebra?
  • My Worst Day Ever
  • I’ve Seen Better Days
  • The Hidden Passage
  • The Teacher in Room 201
  • The Pink Flooperbinkle
  • Leo the Classroom Elf
  • How I Got Trapped in our Cellar
  • Locker 231 in the Hallway of No Return
  • The African Alligator Rescue

Peace (in the possibilities),

  1. Sounds like a fun and productive activity. Also, what a great idea to have a “story jar” in the classroom. Thanks for sharing these Kevin. I may try something similar this year to get my students brainstorming possible story ideas for our movies.

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