I always start my lessons with a Guiding Question. Always. But, today I had my students begin class with Story Starter 1 instead. It was kind of an experiment. I wanted to see if they could begin writing creatively without any instruction, or if they needed that usual Guiding Question and mini-lesson upfront.
My students have trouble with setting often. My recent DRA's have proven this fact. In this story starter, I thought I would work backwards and have them begin with the setting, then build a story around that. By having them put setting in the forefront of the story, it ensures they don't forget to include it, which is the case for some of their other stories.Having them respond to pictures, I've found, really produces nice writing.
I had them choose one house to use as the setting for their stories. I found all of these on Google images, but any three could probably work. I was thinking that I wanted one that was spooky, one romantic, and one that was mystical. I think these three houses capture that. Here is one student example, using the house on the cliff. She chose to make it science fiction-y.
For those who seemed to have trouble getting started, I had backup using the Story Starter 2 islide that displays beautiful and diverse locations. Students can use one of the settings in isolation, or create a story using all. I feel like when there are fewer instructions, they do better.
* And, by the way...my students did well with writing immediately. I think most of them are coming from Math, so an avenue for creativity is welcomed and they needed very little transition.