In the video above is a little bit of why and how we are launching the story starters. The idea is that as teachers you can set a story starter for homework each week, to encourage children to write creatively and for pleasure. Homework often becomes a chore for both the child and the teacher and there is often little time in the school day to let children fully exploring their creative writing.
Obviously it is up to you how you use the story starters but here are a few ideas:
Just ask them to write a story. Fantastic! Children have fantastic imaginations and love stories as we found with our recent writing competition.
Ask them to write the story using some of the interesting vocabulary, but please be careful with this as we don’t want to stifle their creativity. The interesting vocabulary is not designed to be a spelling list as the story starters cover all ages and abilities.
Ask them to write a story one week and then edit it the next adding in certain vocabulary and grammar. Kids are always amazed when we go into school as authors and say it takes us a few days to write a story and weeks and weeks to edit it.
Use the story starters for a game of storytelling roulette. This is great for developing speaking skills. Each person in a circle tells part of the story. You point to the next person to continue the story. If someone can’t think of anything or are reluctant to speak just get them to say a word of two even if it’s ‘and then …’. There are more ideas on how to use storytelling roulette in the video.
For more writing tips please go to our Facebook page and in the photos you will see all the writing tips we released for our writing competition.
This week’s story starter is to write a story about a lost hat. Just after we recorded the video I(Natasha) had my own lost hat adventure. I was visiting Bruges in Belgium and it was very hot and sunny day and I hadn’t take a sun hat with me because I’ve struggled to find one that I liked and that was also easy to pack. Anyway we went to walk past a really interesting hat shop and went in to see if I could find anything suitable. I tried a few on and found one that I liked. I was really pleased to find one and wore it straight away feeling quite proud. We then walked to a beautiful park by the river and had a drink at a little bar. When we decided it was time for lunch we thought we would walk over a bridge and back into town. Just as we got to the middle of the bridge a gust of wind took my hat and dropped it into the river below! Oh no! It had taken me years to find the right hat and I had lost it in less than an hour and it had cost me 30 euros. It seemed hopeless. To begin with it didn’t seem to move as the water flowed through two arches the hat hat was caught between the flows. It was too far down to reach. Eventually it started to move and then it started to drift towards the edge. So we followed it, it was getting close to the side now but there were fallen branches in the water between me and the hat. It started drifting towards the branches surely it was going to get on a branch, so near but yet so far. But wait! It’s gone round the first branch and is still coming towards me. My husband quickly breaks a branch from a nearby bush. It’s gone over the second branch! My husband quickly leans over the wall with me holding his feet and retrieves the hat with the branch he broke off.
But surely the hat is runined?
No in fact it’s dry! The hat is waterproof! It looks as good as new I can’t quite believe it. I run it under a nearby tap, give it a shake and wear it for the rest of the day.
So now to your story.
Who does the hat belong to?
How does it get lost?
Or do you find a lost hat, maybe it’s a magic hat. What could it do?
There is a saying ‘keep it under your hat’ which means to keep something a secret. What secrets could the hat be hiding? After all a hat sees everything when it’s on someones head.
Here is some interesting vocabulary you could use:
This week we want you to rewrite your favourite story with you in it. Judith Kerr the author of The Tiger Who Came To Tea which is a favourite of a lot of people recently died and lots of people have been asking what is your favourite story? So may be it is the Tiger Who Came To Tea or another story but we want you to put your self in the story.
Think about how your audience will know that it is you in the story?
What character are you going to be or are you going to be a new character in the story.
This is a great exercise if you are writing and you get stuck or you can’t think of a story to write. The best thing for writers block is just to carry on writing and this is something you can write about.
Watching the formula 1 grand prix recently gave us an idea for a story starter.
What is special about the racing car? Does it talk like Lightning McQueen in the Cars movie.
Who is your rival?
Describe the race, maybe you could draw a racetrack to describe the action put post it notes with what happens at different points around the track. Then use the notes to write up the story, the notes are a good way for keeping you on track 🤣and so you don’t forget any of your amazing ideas.
We noticed a lot of schools are doing Ancient Egypt as a topic this term so we thought we would set a story starter where the children could use some of their new knowledge. See Natasha and Tonya give you some ideas for the story.
Pyramids were full of traps and dead ends, which is great in stories as it provides lots of problems to solve. What is it you are trying to find?
Pyramids were filled with lots of things for the afterlife of the people of died. Research what would have been in the tomb, what are canopic jars?
On a walk recently Tonya found a gigantic golden egg – yes really! Here is the picture to prove it. We thought it was a great idea for a story. See the video below for some ideas for the story. This would make a great homework activity for the Easter holidays.
Here are Tonya and Natasha discussing ideas for the story.
Think about who or what laid an egg like that. What happens when it hatches, how do you feel when it begins to crack. Also how did you find it?
Long, long ago in Ireland there lived a man called Dan Kelly he was the laziest man in all of Ireland. He lived all by himself on a farm, he would never do any work, so his house and fields were very poor, everything was overgrown and covered in ragwort. All his neighbour’s fields we full of crops all in neat rows. But Dan Kelly didn’t mind because he believed he didn’t have to do anything because one day he was going to be rich.
One day Dan Kelly decided he was going to go the fair in the local town. Whilst all his neighbours were working hard he was going to have some fun. So Dan Kelly put on his best suit and his favourite red tie. On his way to the fair he walked along one of his fields and he noticed the lace on his shoe was untied so he bent down to do it up. And that was when he heard it! Tic, tac, tic, tickety, tic, tac. What was that?? He peered closer to where the noise was coming from and there was a little tiny man all dressed in green hammering nails into a teeny tiny shoe. It was a leprechaun!
Now leprechauns are famous in Ireland, as it is said that where ever a leprechaun is they will have hidden their pot of gold. But they are tricky creatures and if you look away they will disappear.
“Whoa,” cried Dan Kelly. Now my luck has changed he thought, a leprechaun. With that the leprechaun looks up.
“Oh hello Dan Kelly. There’s a rock behind you. Why don’t you sit down?” the leprechaun said/
But Dan Kelly wasn’t going to be tricked by a leprechaun he knew if he turned around to sit on the rock the leprechaun would be gone so he stayed standing up.
“What are you making?” asked Dan Kelly.
“A pair of shoes for the queen of the fairies,” answered the leprechaun returning to his work.
“Well it’s not shoes I want.” said Dan Kelly as he rubbed his hands. He was thinking, ‘I’m going to be rich, I’m going to be rich, this is it.’
The leprechaun sighed, “I thought not”
“I want your pot of fold,” cried Dan Kelly.
The leprechaun put down his tools and asked sarcastically, “And what makes you think I have a pot of gold? I’m just a poor working man. If I had a pot of gold would I be working this hard?”
“All leprechauns have pots of gold, now tell me where is is.” Dan Kelly said as he grabbed the leprechaun in his fist. As he did his trousers split right down his bottom. But Dan Kelly was not going to take his eyes of the leprechaun and anyway he would buy a new suit when he had the gold.
The leprechaun squirmed but Dan Kelly just held him tighter. “Let me go” demanded the leprechaun.
“I’ll let you go when you show me exactly where the gold is.” said Dan Kelly.
“Ok, ok, I’ll show you,” the leprechaun replied.
Dan Kelly put the leprechaun down and followed him to a spot in the middle of the field that was covered in yellow ragwort, the leprechaun point, “That’s the spot, the gold is buried under there.”
Dan Kelly groaned he was tired from walking and following the leprechaun as he was very unfit, he didn’t have anything to dig the gold up with. But Dan Kelly had an idea, he took off his tie and bent down and tied it to a piece of ragwort where the gold was buried. He looked at the leprechaun and said, “Promise on your honour that you will not touch that tie.”
The leprechaun smiled and looked Dan Kelly in the eye and said, “Oh I promise.”
So Dan Kelly went back to his house rather quickly for such an unfit man and grabbed a spade and went back to the field. When he got to the field, he gasped and dropped the shovel in surprise.
There was red ties tied around every single clump of ragwort in the fields there was thousands of them. The cheeky leprechaun was of course gone.
Dan Kelly stomped back home, he didn’t go the fair, he spent the afternoon sewing up his trousers. A few times he thought he heard someone laughing but it was only the wind or was it? Dan Kelly never could afford to buy another suit but he never ran out of ties to wear.
I hope you like the story, we retold the story with the puppets, which the kids loved.