Story Writing -Skill Building

In every challenge, the story is worth a HUGE amount of points. You will want to do a story writing skill building day with your kids.

Also, your story has to be done first before you can make costumes, set pieces, or props. You can tweak and fine tune the story as you go, but you will want to have an outline of your story completed BEFORE winter break. 


Things to keep in mind before you start writing your story:

  1. Your story must have a clearly defined Beginning, Middle, and an End. 
  2. Your story needs to have clearly identifiable characters, setting, and plot. 
  3. Humor is usually highly rewarded by the judges (and they love a story with a moral). Puns and parody are often well received.
  4. Things to avoid: potty talk, anything in bad moral taste, violence, and politics. And of course no plagiarizing or copyright infringement. (This means that you may not copy the plot lines of movies or tv shows. The kids are supposed to come up with their own plot lines. If your kids are copying a move they love, remind them that that is plagiarism and it is not allowed. They need to come up with their own story.)
  5. DI cares a lot about how connected the details are to the theme. They like to see cause and effect. How does the setting impact the plot line/costumes/props? How does this character’s personality impact the dialogue or the plot twist. Encourage the students to explore why. Why would they have this costume? Why would that be the next line of dialogue? Why would that character respond that way? How would a character respond to this? How does the setting impact what happens next? The tighter the connections to the theme, the more points the team will score.


How to teach story writing:

  • Beginning/middle/end – Identify in a story they know (i.e. Three Little Pigs), and have them identify the beginning, middle, and end; then have them change the ending of a story)
  • Character/setting/plot/moral– Tell a familiar story multiple times, each time changing one thing (setting, character, plot, moral). How does that change impact the story?(i.e. Hansel and Gretel; change setting—Hansel and Gretel under the sea; change character — Hansel and Hercules go in a forest and find a witch in a candy house; change plot -Hansel and Gretel go in a forest and find a witch in a candy prison and they have to rescue her; change the moral – Hansel and Gretel go in the forest but they befriend the witch and find out that she really is so mean because she was bullied as a kid and they become her friend.)
  • Cause and effect; motivation (Why? Tell a story, act it out again with different motivation… but don’t change the words)
  • Stories need a problem/conflict (identify problems in well known stories)
  • Use Mix & Match Generating Tool & Storyboard – pgs. 12-13 Rising Stars (I labeled three cups: character, setting, plot.; then I have the students brainstorm ideas for each, write their ideas down on slips of paper, and then put them in the cup. Then we pull them out randomly and see the hilarious combinations that result. (I pull two pieces of paper out of the cup for characters….. a pig and Santa Claus take a bath on the Eiffel Tower)
  • Make a lot of mini-stories… just a sentence or two… to get ideas flowing; discuss which ideas make better stories than others. What characteristics of stories make for a story you want to hear?


  • Do not do “skill building” on the same day you write your story; brainstorm story ideas on one day, but write on another day


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