For All Teachers

One-Sentence Story

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  1. Have the entire group form a circle, facing the center. This can be done standing, sitting or lying down with heads toward the center. Sometimes lying down gives participants more freedom because they can look at the ceiling and let their imaginations roam.
  2. Start the story with, “Once upon a time…”
  3. Going around the circle each participant adds a single sentence.

  4. Let the story evolve and come to its resolution.
  5. Finish the story with, “And the moral of this tale is…”

TIP: Suggest that participants give names to characters. Sometimes this exercise can get very silly if the participants are in the mood for making the story purposely absurd. However after discussing good story-telling techniques such as development of character, mystery and revelation, the hero’s journey, etc., these stories can get to be quite good. It’s important to coach the participants to take risks rather than following formulas or genres. Return to this exercise a few times during the semester. Everyone will begin to see improvement over time.

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