StoryTellers is a game about telling stories, but it also works great as a game about writing stories. Take a look at our guidelines for using StoryTellers in a creative writing classroom to see how it can help you.
Typical writing instruction focuses on following rules: grammar, sentence structure, paragraph structure, and so on. There are a thousand and one things for a writer to think about, and very few of them help with creativity or appreciation.
From beginning to end, StoryTellers has been designed to encourage writers. The focus is entirely on the strong points of each piece of writing. From Bravo Chips to Awards to Craft Cards, the game is all about recognizing our each particular strengths and exploring how to build on them.
Follow these guidelines and you'll have a classroom game where you and your students are writing good stories. They're thinking about key elements of writing. How can I change the mood of a story? How does adding a personal touch improve the story? Can I fit a rhyme in here? Should I? In the classroom, this makes for great discussions.
At least half of Storytelling is performance. The recitation phase of the game is a great chance to see your students perform. Even better: they're performing for Bravo Chips and Awards.
One great thing about this game is that the players have to listen to each other. I mean really listen. If you're not paying attention, your addition to the story won't make any sense. Even worse, when it comes time for the recitation, you're going to be really stuck. The recitation, by the way, builds another skill that is sometimes overlooked. Think about it: after listening to every one else speak, a player has to re-tell the story. It's not just listening and comprehension, it's rapidly processing the information.
That's what it's all about, right?
The storylines are all "G". The most suggestive of them is one where a person wakes up and he doesn't know whose bed he's in. That's it. There's no sex, drugs, swearing, or alcohol. And if you're really paranoid, it's easy to simply select the story line for your group ahead of time.
Here's one idea among several... Break the students into groups of five and give each group a copy of the game. Have every group start with the same storyline. Either use one of ours or one of your own (or even one from a book the class will be reading).
Have the students write notes about their stories as they play. Allow 10-15 minutes for everyone to play. After the time is up, either each group tell its story or (if there's not enough time for that), have them write them down.
You now have several stories that started from the same opening line. Look at them as a class. Can you tell what techniques were used in each story? Were they effective? Which story is the most compelling? The funniest? Why?