Boom! : A story-starting warm-up prompt

I was leaving my house when... BOOM -- Finish the story prompt

Boom!

Today I have a creative prompt that you can use with students of all ages. It’s so simple and colorful that I think both adults and children would respond well to it. If you’re an ESL teacher like me, it’s a good way to practice simple past and past continuous tenses.

Here are a few ideas for you:

  • Use this as a do-now or warm-up prompt. Display the image on your Smartboard or projector, and ask students to write silently for 5 minutes. Then ask them to share their mini-stories in small groups.
  • Or have students write in small groups and share their stories with the whole class.
  • If you want to make the exercise more structured, try telling students to write 5-sentence stories (or 7-sentence stories or 10-sentence stories…). Each sentence should have a different verb. Here’s an example: (1)First I saw a bear. (2) Then I slammed the door shut. (3)The bear heard the noise. (4)  He ran in my direction. (5) Finally, I called 911, and waited…
  • If you have a lot of visual learners in your class, you might even ask them to draw their stories into a comic panel organizer. After they finish drawing, they can either tell their stories to a partner, or write captions under each picture.

What do you think?

How would YOU finish the story? And if you’ve tried this activity with your students, how did they answer the question? Please share your favorite ideas in the comment box at the bottom of the page.

And if you have any other ideas on how teachers could use this prompt, please share those, as well.

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