A Bit About My: "(Not Your Ordinary) Story Starters"

(Author's Note: The content of this post previously appeared in the "Sharing Our Blessings" Blog Hop and Giveaway. The hop and giveaway is complete, but I wanted to make sure readers were still able to reference the organization tips and ideas for my Story Starters.)

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Last spring when I began using my "(Not Your Ordinary) Story Starters" with my own third graders, the age-old complaint, "I don't know what to write about," was eliminated.

I wrote some engaging story starters and paired them with compelling photos, and the result was pretty fascinating. My students who loved to write were literally begging me for more writing time. But it was my reluctant writers who made me realize I was onto something. Seeing their eyes brighten and their pencils get moving without any nagging from me? Score!

Each photograph has four different writing prompts from which to choose, including lots of writing genres. I placed the story starters (in a "task card" format) in a little pocket on the outside of a file folder, with the writing paper inside the folder. Then I'd choose a few folders to lay out for the week.

We used the story starters as a choice during our Daily 5 framework.

I'm now making a set of story starters for each month!

Along the way, I've come up with an alternative organizational method, using a three-ring binder, a few binder rings and small Command hooks. Let me use my November set to show you how it works.

After laminating the prompts, I put each group of four prompts on a binder ring. Here's what the binder looks like when it's standing open:

Pretty slick, huh? I stuck a few Command hooks to the inside cover of the binder from which to hang each ring.

The teacher just pulls out the binder, hangs a few story starter rings, and stands up the binder on a counter. Students can come up and take off a ring that inspires them, and find the coordinating writing paper from the expandable file sitting nearby (or they can write in their notebook, of course).

The student takes their materials back to their desk to get started!

If you are interested in details about the November set, click HERE.

My Story Starters for DECEMBER {Not Your Ordinary Writing Prompts!} is now ready in my store. The December set is packed with 10 compelling photos, each one paired with three engaging story starters and one set of prompting questions. You can click HERE or click the product image you see below to see more details.


Themes in the December set include Christmas and the holiday season in general, North Pole happenings, reindeer, elves, holiday cookies, presents, snow, and hibernation, among others.

Here's a little taste from the set...

These monthly story starters are part of a "growing bundle" that will eventually include ten sets. I will be adding the remaining sets as I finish them. The complete bundle will be finished by this coming April, but you can get the "growing bundle" now at a significant discount. Click HERE for more details.