I've read lots of ideas for story stones and other story starters. So I pulled a box from the closet, put a sign on it that reads "Story Box" and our story box was born.
Last week I had picture cards in the box. (All the pictures were words with the short /a/ sound.) Kids would choose a picture and write a story about that picture/word.
This week I took out the pictures and put in a variety of objects. The kids are so excited. Our special "story box paper" lends some specialness to this activity. We don't use this paper for anything else. (I got that paper from Donna Whyte's Web site - click on "Journal Paper 1-2" - this is a great resource.)
I introduced the story box in our group meeting. I chose a picture and we wrote a story together. Then, the story box was at the front of the room. It became one of the activities to do when all other work was done. This week the story box has resided in one of our centers.
I've loved reading (or sometimes trying to read) the stories generated. Kids have written about things that I don't think they would ever write about in general journal time. The pictures or objects have pushed kids' thoughts in all kinds of directions.
I'll use the box in different ways. I'll change up what's inside - pictures, objects, words, story stones..maybe even names. One thing is certain - we'll keep looking for ways to use it. Kids that generally rush through their journal writing or other kinds of writing ask about using the story box.
Amid the struggles to maintain and survive as a new teacher, it's nice to see things work!