Activity Types: Story Starters

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Getting "Handy" in the classroom with technology integration!

What are Digital Story Starters?
Story Starters have long been used to provide students with a general topic for writing--usually a first sentence or a phrase. Digital story starters are usually a single image, graphic, or icon that prompts the writing process. Then, the student writes a single paragraph, brief idea, or uses irony to develop a brief scenario based upon this one single digital image. The "punch line" is delivered by the digital image that is placed at the beginning (or for added impact, the end) of the story. Many times, the scenario is developed because the image is humorous, appealing, or catches the eye.

Advantages for use in the classroom:

  • Excellent center activity
  • Students can create their own story starters and have these available in centers for other classmates to use to create stories
  • "Stretching" creative thinking skills--creating a written statement based upon visuals (diagrams) requires students to think "outside the box."

Disadvantages for use in the classroom:

  • Students become frustrated when they are unable to find a picture that "speaks to them"
  • Teachers may need to supply beginning images for practice until students feel comfortable with the process

Student Example: Digital Storytelling

Copyright 2002-2011 Handy4Class Project


Candace Figg, PhD
Brock University
Faculty of Education, Teacher Education Department
500 Glenridge, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada L2S 3A1
(905.688.5550, x5347)


Jenny Burson, EdD
University of Texas at Austin (retired)
Education Department, Curriculum and Instruction
jburson@mail.utexas.edu