I've explored Scholastic Story Starter
This tool seems like an interesting tool to try with my 11-14 year-old girls and boys learning English as a foreign language, to practice writing in a creative and fun way.
The task comes in four levels: K-1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4-6th. You choose a level and start the adventure: you find yourself in front of a strange looking machine with four wheels you can spin with a click of one of four buttons or you can decide to click a big button which causes all parts of the machine to spin at the same time It looks quite amusing and game-like.
Every time you click you choose one part of your writing task:
- Form ( Write a postcard/ letter/ invitation/ to-do list,… Describe.., Write a funny/horror/.. story …)
- An adjective describing the main character (brainy, nerdy, young, old, stubborn, …)
- The main character of your story (movie star, rock star, dentist, weasel, gorilla, …)
- A part of the plot – a dependent clause (…. who writes murals, … who ages 20 years in one day, …)
I had a lot of fun spinning the wheel over and over and these are some tasks I got for level 4.6:
- Write a to-do list for a know-it-all president who explores a newly discovered planet
- Write a horror story about a greedy president who discovers she has superpowers
- Write a postcard from an unpopular vampire bat who ignores orchestras
Write a brief biography of an old rock star who hitchhikes cross-country
What I liked about the tool:
- a lot of creative ideas for writing
- visually attractive for students
- activity can be done in the computer lab but also printed or with one computer and a projector
- activity can be done in different ways, the tool gives only the idea and the template for writing and allows the teacher a lot of space for turning it into a lesson
- if written on the given templates, stories can be printed and look very nice because students can use drawing tools, too
- the tool is free.
Possible problem I've noticed:
- stories can't be linked to or embedded, only printed.