The Periodic Table of Storytelling is one of those special treats that comes through your feed and gets your mind buzzing with ideas of how it could be used with students.
As well as being pretty funny, the table covers most of the major story types and character arcs, making it a great tool for engaging students in creative writing.
Each story element has an identifier, name and is grouped under one of the following categories – structure, setting, modifiers, plot devices, heroes, villains, archetypes, character modifiers, meta tropes, production and audience reaction.
Ideas for use with students
- Give each student in the class one story element, making sure that all categories are represented. (You could make coloured cards for each element).
- Ask them to form small groups (3-4) and collaborate on a story that incorporates all their individual story elements. This could easily be a homework assignment or even a competition with time limits
- You could mix up the activity by asking them to write in different genres or mediums – film, play, poem, short story, tv show etc.
- To make this an individual task, give each student three cards and ask them to include all three elements
- You could also use these story elements to describe the books you’re reading. This would be a great way to build a shared vocabulary for understanding story and transferring knowledge of one story to other narratives
- The story elements could be a prompt for a library creative writing challenge – how many story elements can you get in your story? or even a weekly writing challenge with one element as the focus each week
- Put story element cards into a box and students choose one (or more) to prompt a free writing task
These kinds of forced association activities are a great way to get kids (and adults!) thinking creatively. If you have any other ideas or find something that works well for your students, let us know.
National Geographic Kids is a fun and educational site by the reputable crew from National Geographic. Featuring kids’ games, activities, animals, photos, videos, stories and more, this site is sure to be a hit with both students and teachers.
The site is choc full of content that is both educational and fun. Lots of geographical information on countries that includes facts, photos, videos, maps and more. Highly recommended!
Looking for a fun activity with your students? Previously profiled Teen Librarian site (UK) written by the very creative Matthew Imrie (@mattlibrarian) developed a Library Myth Busters activity that is sure to be a winner. Students love Myth Busters and they are a great tool for engaging learners. ‘Library lessons’ will never be the same again!
Matt kindly forwarded his entire Word document for Bright Ideas to publish:
This is an idea I have been working on that can be run with a Reading Group and also for breaking the ice for new users in the Library:
This event can be run by following the Myth Busters format of having small teams investigating various Library Myths and then presenting their findings to the entire Reading Group. If permission can be obtained for filming, a short DVD could be made of the proceedings. This could tie into a larger media and film-making programme that can be run over half-term or summer holidays. It is fun and educational – teenagers learn how the library works and what the staff do all day as well as debunking misconceptions they may have on what goes on in libraries.
Here are a a list of library myths that can either be debunked or confirmed:
- Librarians have lots of time to read on the job
- All librarians are fast readers
- Public libraries are only busy during the school year
- Public libraries are only busy during summer holidays
- Libraries are used only by those who cannot afford to buy their own books.
- Librarians have no stress
- Librarians have read every book in the library.
- Librarians know the answer to everything
- Everyone who works in the library is a librarian
- Libraries are just about getting books
- Libraries aren’t necessary because everything’s available on the internet
- Libraries have plenty of funding because they get so many donated books and charge so much in fines
- The librarian can be held responsible for everything that kids check out because they work for government and must protect the kids from bad things
- School libraries aren’t needed because kids can get everything they want at the public library or online
- Librarians wear their hair in buns, have wire-rimmed glasses, and say shhhhh! all the time
- Librarians only issue books
- Everything in the library is free
- You have to know Dewey to use the library
- Libraries are serious and quiet all the time
- Library cards are hard to get
- Libraries are for English readers only
The list is by no means complete and if anyone would like to add library myths in the comments you are most welcome.
Thank you so much for sharing your fantastic work Matt!