Periodic table of story telling – story starter activities

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.

eT@lking: Retribalizing, Literary Style: Virtual Book Clubs and Bookcast

Thanks so much to teacher extraordinaire Anne Mirtschin for passing on the following information about this free online learning session:

Time: October 27, 2010 from 8pm to 9pm (AEDT)
Location: elluminate webinar
Event Type: online_pdelluminatenetworking
Organized By: Anne Mirtschin

McLuhan (see the video) predicted we’d have to leave the bookworld behind to be “with it” in the electronic world but with social media we can do it all. Learn about an evolving virtual book club model, online or inworld, that culminates with the screening of collaboratively produced bookcasts, multimedia aesthetic responses to books.

To preview bookcasting, check out this ncbookcast festival You can post questions and comments to the wiki discussion.

Meet our Presenter: Cris Crissman, PhD, Distance Learning Consultant, USDLC, Adjunct Assistant Professor, NC State Writer and Producer.

Bio: Cris teaches the “Learning Through Literature with Young Adults” graduate class at North Carolina State University. After ten years of exploring online book clubs, she took the class and the book clubs inworld to Second Life. The students self-select genre book clubs and work collaboratively to produce bookcasts to share with the whole class and the world. Inservice teachers have applied the model in their classrooms. Every year the class leads a virtual author study for teen readers in the state and this year the featured virtual author is Australian Melina Marchetta whose award-winning Finnikin of the Rock is drawing rave reviews from American teens.
Link to join this session

Sounds like a fabulous opportunity to learn much more about a topic close to our hearts. And as Cris is presenting at 5am her time, a large audience would be welcome!

The recording of this session is available for anyone to listen to. Thanks to Anne Mirtschin for forwarding this link.

Feature blog – Emmanuel College

Joyce Sendeckyj from Emmanuel College has kindly sent in the following information about the development of a library blog.

 Just to share the Emmanuel College W.I.R.E.D. Blog that  we are launching for our students to coincide with Book Week and the introduction of our inaugural Book Club.

Blog homepage

Blog homepage

The idea for a Book Club and a blog combined nicely the aims of the promotion and enjoyment of reading and literature, the featuring of  book awards and the integration of web interaction and publishing (ie Web 2.0 tools).

Emmanuel College has two secondary campuses, and our goals also include the communication and connection between students and interested staff of both campuses.

The marketing of Book Club and the blog has included, regular articles in the newsletter, links on the school intranet, flyers, promotion and viewing of the blog on Open Day and reminders at meetings and briefings. Book Club is every Tuesday (our first day was 11th of August) and our next step is to assist the students to ‘register’ to the blog.

I have not  completed the SLAV 2.0 course (which I hear good things about) , however I did major in information technology and web publishing at CSU  as part of my librarianship degree. A great deal of my major included Computer Supported Communication and Collaborative Group studies which incorporated Web interactive technologies. I have come to realise how benficial this study was and am loving the ongoing professional development by SLAV and ‘Bright Ideas’.

Happy Book Week.

Thanks to Joyce and her staff for alerting Bright Ideas to the new blog.


BookGlutton is a website for the book glutton in all of us. It provides a number of online book clubs where readers can select which type of group/s they’d like to join whether it be by book or by friendship group.


Full text books can be read online without the need for a specialised e-book reader. BookGlutton also offers notes for books that you are interested in reading. Readers have the ability to read, annotate and discuss books online. Some more information is available here:



More help in the form of FAQs can be accessed as well.

BookGlutton is a very clever idea melding, two of the burgeoning areas of reading; e-books and book groups.