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Use Stories on Stix to introduce the important journalistic Who, What, When, and Where questions. Offer the app as an option for daily writing prompts for kids who struggle to come up with ideas, or use it as a whole-class writing exercise. The prompts will produce the kind of writing kids will be eager to share, and all writers will grow from hearing ways other students interpret the prompts. Though kids may miss the tactile interaction of choosing sticks from a jar, teachers will appreciate the ease of ready-to-go prompts rather than having to create and store actual craft stick story starters. There are no user accounts, and stories are saved automatically, so the file system could get cumbersome, especially if kids are sharing devices; teachers may want to specify how to name stories (perhaps with the student's name first, followed by the story title) to make them easier to find.Continue reading Show less
Stories on Stix re-creates writing prompts on craft sticks and then takes the strategy a step further, giving Who, What, When, Where, and Detail prompts. Students tap Choose Sticks to randomly draw prompts, which can create some pretty interesting combinations, like Who: Ghost; What: Ran away from home; When: Middle of class; Where: In the backyard; and Detail: A large picnic basket. Students then tap Start Writing and a word processing window, which looks like a lined page from a spiral notebook, pops up. Titles and book icon colors can be customized, and plenty of room to write a well-elaborated piece is provided. Stories are automatically saved in the app's library, and students can share their stories by email; stories are sent as the body of the email.
The funny writing prompt combinations will get kids laughing and encourage them to be creative in developing their stories, so Stories on Stix does a good job of getting kids to want to write by starting them off with fun ideas. The Who, What, When, Where, and Detail prompts will inspire kids to write longer, more creative stories. The strategy of including those silly details should transfer well to writing outside Stories on Stix as well. The far-fetched combinations may not translate into particularly well-developed stories, however, so this app is probably best used as an occasional tool. The in-app word processor is functional for drafting, but to revise and edit pieces, students will want to work outside the app. The prompts cycle randomly, with about 20 or so options for each category. With all the combinations created by the different categories, unique prompts seem almost limitless.
Key Standards Supported
Write narratives in which they recount two or more appropriately sequenced events, include some details regarding what happened, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide some sense of closure.
Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events, include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.
With guidance and support from adults, produce writing in which the development and organization are appropriate to task and purpose. (Grade-specific expectations for writing types are defined in standards 1–3 above.)
Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
Establish a situation and introduce a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
Write routinely over extended time frames (time for research, reflection, and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.