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Creative Writing – Collaborative Stories Lesson Plan

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Lesson Plan #:AELP-WCP0009
Author: Twila Chambers
School or Affiliation: Frost Elementary School, Chandler, AZ
Endorsed by: These lesson plans are the result of the work of the teachers who have attended the Columbia Education Center’s Summer Workshop. CEC is a consortium of teacher from 14 western states dedicated to improving the quality of education in the rural, western, United States, and particularly the quality of math and science Education. CEC uses Big Sky Telegraph as the hub of their telecommunications network that allows the participating teachers to stay in contact with their trainers and peers that they have met at the Workshops. Date: May 1994

Grade Level(s): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12


  • Language Arts/Writing (composition)

Overview: This is a creative writing time that takes a minimum of 25 minutes. During this time students are beginning their own story, reading another’s beginning and creating the middle section, reading yet another story and finally developing a conclusion for that story.

Purpose: This activity encourages students to be creative in their own writing, as well as being critical and analytical of another’s. I find that students who accomplish very little during a typical, structured writing time, become very involved in this type of writing.


  • Create the beginning of a story. Introduce the characters and the setting.
  • Develop the action for the story.
  • Bring the story to a conclusion.
  • Read and analyze another’s work.
  • Recognize the need for neat, well-organized work.
  • Time management.

Resources/Materials: Pencils and writing paper for each student.

Activities and Procedures:

  • Each student is asked to take out a clean piece of writing paper and a pencil. Do not put their name on this paper.
  • The direction is given to write the beginning of a story. The characters’ names should not be those of students in the class and gorey (blood and guts) type plots are not allowed. They are given 5 minutes to write as much of the story as they can. (Time might be lengthened for older students.)
  • At the end of 5 minutes, direct the students to pass their papers in a given order. I try to get them at least 3 or 4 students away.
  • Have the students read the story that has been started and continue it for the next 5 minutes. Remind them that they are developing the plot.
  • At the end of this 5 minutes, again have the students pass the papers in the same pattern as before.
  • The students now read their new story, keeping in mind that it will be their job to write the conclusion for this story.
  • Again allow the students 5 minutes for writing.
  • Tying It All Together:

    There are several possibilities. Any and or all could be used.

  • Pass the stories yet another time and have a fourth student illustrate the story then read it aloud to the class.
  • Collect the stories and use them for an editing activity. Two or three students could edit the same story.
  • After the stories have been edited, have them copied in best writing or put on the computer and published as a class book available for free time reading by all.
  • Everyone enjoys hearing the stories read aloud and listening to see if something they wrote is in that story and what others did with their story line. The books are fun to go back to later in the year and see how their writing skills have improved.