My fifth grader has a fabulous imagination. She loves to tell fantastic stories about all kinds of situations. The role-playing games she involves her siblings in are complex stories that are amazing to watch. We talked about what she would like to study this summer, and she decided she’d like to learn how to write a story. So, this is her Creative Writing Summer Project - Brainstorming and Plot Development lesson.
Lesson One: Brainstorming and Plot Development
Objective: To help students develop an idea into a complete thought
Brainstorming Worksheet, available here
A sharpened pencil
Begin by explaining that there are no right, or wrong, ideas. Explain that a story can be about anything and that we will need to develop three story ideas. Then, the story idea that is the most interesting to the children will be the one that will be turned into the story.
Have the children brainstorm three ideas they might like to write about. These don’t need to be complex ideas. My daughter came up with “food world”, “candy land”, and “princess/mermaid”. That’s all that needs to be in the first circle.
Next, have the children pose a what if question using the idea from the first circle. Have them write that answer in the second circle. For example, my fifth grader came up with “What if the world was made of food?” for her first idea.
The next circle is where the children write out the problem in the story. All stories need a problem, or conflict, to make them interesting. Writing out the problem helps authors know what they need to write in the story. It helps conceptualize the problem that the characters will be facing.
Finally, have the children decide how the problem will be resolved. This will help the story come to a satisfying conclusion. My fifth grader resolved her problem by linking it into another story she wants to write. She’s become so excited to get her ideas down on paper that she is now planning on writing a trilogy of stories.
After all the bubbles have been filled in, it is time to have the children pick their favorite idea line. After they have chosen their favorite, they need to fill in the plot line at the bottom of the worksheet. They should write down a few ideas for each part of the story so that when they begin writing the story they will know what they need to include.
That’s all for this part of the lesson. The next lesson will discuss specific plot development using page two of the printable in this lesson.
Again, this lesson is designed to only take 20 to 30 minutes to complete. Chunking the steps of creative writing into smaller units will help the children feel capable to write the stories. Also, this experience led to a lot of great creative conversations between my fifth grader and I. It is important, though, to note that all the ideas need to come from the student with little or no feedback about if an idea is good or not. A supportive and listening environment will make it easier for children to be creative and imaginative.