Story Spinner is a very versatile tool/toy for educators. Keep one in the classroom for when you need a quick Lesson Plan. Here are 13 Lesson Ideas to get you started:
1. ORAL STORY CIRCLE: Start a story using a STARTER and SETTING. Pass the Spinner clockwise. Each participant dials up a WORD to be used in her portion of the story. Go until all have a turn or if it's a small group, a predetermined number. With young ones, tell them which WORD to use. This lesson is equally amusing for Pre-K thru Adult Ed. It's also a superb ice-breaker for Homeschoolers meeting for first time. Heck, I've even played it at parties.
2. DRAWING: Spin one SETTING and 6 WORDS. Draw or paint a picture incorporating all 7 items. For all ages!
3. GROUP STORY: Write the STARTER on the blackboard/whiteboard. Get a SETTING. Each class member adds a sentence using a word they spin, while you write the story on the board. Afterwards, read story aloud in unison. This is perfect for ESL and up to 3rd grade.
4. IMPROV ACTING: Give a SETTING and a STARTER to one actor who begins. The next actor gets a WORD to use to interrupt and interact with the first actor. Keep adding actors and WORDS until the whole class is acting. Keep passing the Spinner around to add new WORDS all the time. Very fun and very funny for 4th grade on up.
5. POETRY CHAPBOOK: Using one Spinner RECIPE (on the back of the handheld Spinner), each class member writes a poem. Assemble these into a chapbook and print and bind it. Put a copy in the school library and also the local free library. For 3rd grade and up.
6. THEMED STORY COLLECTION: This is the same as the chapbook (#5) but students write short stories with one RECIPE (on the back of the handheld Spinner). When the stories are done, swap and edit them to teach a new skill set. Ask the town library or local bookstore if you can do a live reading (which provides yet another lesson). For 3rd grade up.
7. BOOK OF SHORT STORIES: Each student uses a different Spinner RECIPE (on the back of the handheld Spinner) to generate a story. Print and bind them into a book. Then ask a senior center if you can come do a reading. It's a great community relations project for grades 3 and up.
8. CHARADES: Divide into 2 teams. Dial up and then silently act out WORDS for your team. Keep score. Edutainment for grades 1 on.
9. HISTORY/SOCIAL STUDIES TIE IN: In lieu of the SETTINGS wheel, use a location or era currently being studied. Add 4 WORDS to make it extra challenging and maybe introduce anachronisms! Younger ones can draw instead.
10. GENRE WRITING: After studying genres of literature, use a Spinner RECIPE (back of handheld Spinner) to write in that genre. For 6th grade and up.
11. READING/WRITING ROLE MODELS: Pair up students in the entire school – one older with one younger. The older students interview the younger students to learn about them. Then every older kid writes a story with a Spinner STARTER using the younger kid as the main character. Then have a picnic where the older students read their stories aloud. Each older student presents a copy of the story to the younge student to keep. This is a great school-system morale builder for Pre-K thru 12. And a nice way for college classes to visit local elementary schools.
12. WARM UPS: If you teach a creative writing class, use RECIPES (back of the handheld Spinner) as warm ups to keep up students’ momentum.
13. START YOUR OWN CREATIVE WRITING GROUP: At a local bookstore or library, organize an event for those interested in creative writing. To start, do a 10-minute Story Spinner exercise. All read their stories out loud. Then do another exercise and read again. You’ll be amazed how entertaining your fellow writers are… and how fast time flies! No critiquing allowed. Simply have the person sitting to the right of the reader right mention one memorable gem from the piece.