Students are instructed to bring an object to class and the teacher collects them all and places them in a box. The students then separate into groups of three, and the objects are randomly distributed to the groups, each group having three objects. Students will be given a social studies theme, such as The Underground Railroad or Trade Union Development, around which to develop their ideas. The students are then allowed two to three minutes to brainstorm ideas that come to their minds based on the three objects they get (Archer, 2006).
Each group should have a designated scribe so that all the ideas get written down. After brainstorming, each person in the group will have a chance to generate a sentence or two toward the story. At his or her turn, a student also has a chance to modify what has already been written toward the story. He or she should add the sentence in both oral and written fashion; therefore, a paper (or notebook) should be passed around so that each person has a chance to write his/her sentence down.
The story should include most of the terms generated in the brainstorming exercise, but is not limited to those. Students will be instructed to keep adding lines to the story as much as possible and without breaking the rhythm. After twenty-five minutes, the teacher will collect all the notepads and make three copies of each. Students will each take a copy of the story home to re-read and think about ways to make changes to it and to add more detail to expand or deepen the social studies context. The official revision period will take place in a follow-up class.
Teacher Support The third copy of the impromptu story will be collected by the teacher, who will read it and generate questions about the clarity of plot and language. The teacher’s comments will be returned under the following headings: characters, language, grammar, organization. They will include ideas on how to give depth to characters, improve language by using imagery and figures of speech, avoid grammatical pitfalls, and improve organization. Audience Students will be a group of eighth graders of normal intelligence and reading levels.
Goal and Benefits of Strategy: The goal of the strategy is to develop the imaginations and creativity of the students. It is also designed to improve their ability to choose right words for a given occasion and to be descriptive about physical and personality characteristics. Modifications The strategy might be modified by creating a new context depending on the subject that is being taught. Science teachers, for example, might have these fiction stories be set within setting of Oppenheimer and Einstein and the creation of the atomic bomb.
Application and Assessment The fact that the subject being taught was social studies made it necessary for the fiction to be converted to historical fiction. The brainstorming and use of random objects seemed to work well for giving an extra boost to the students’ imaginations. Free associations seemed to bring out the personality of the group and helped them create a colourful story. The rubric were very helpful in letting the students know what was expected of them so that they created better fiction than they would have done in the past.