Writing my own short story

Additional Info

  • Name: Writing my own short story

  • Linguistic dimension

  • CEFR Level: B2
  • Linguistic dimension - Skill(s): Writing / Reading with some speaking and listening
  • Duration: 90 minutes
  • Target language: English or any other language with plot generators available
  • ICT dimension

  • ICT resources:
    • Internet connection; Internet access, PCs with Internet access for all participants, projector;
    • plot generating tool e.g. http://www.plot-generator.org.uk/story/ (or other preferred by the teacher)
    • dictionaries e.g.:





  • ICT competences: browse the Internet for specific information; use a plot generator (see above); use an online dictionary (see above)
  • Detailed description of the task

  • Situation / theme(s): Writing a short story
  • I can...:
    • write clear, detailed text related to my interests
    • understand contemporary( literary) prose.
    • explain a viewpoint on a topical issue
    • understand extended speech and follow even complex lines of argument provided the topic is reasonably familiar
    • take an active part in discussion in familiar contexts, accounting for and sustaining my views.
  • Product: short stories
  • Product requirements or prerequisites:


    • must know / be ready to learn how to use a plot generator
    • should know about the structure of a short story, should have written their own story before this task
    • be able to understand the given words and find words that fit into the boxes of the plot generator (words can be taken from their own stories)
    • be able to revise their stories when necessary to improve the logic structure.
  • Process:
    • teacher and students discuss the use of a plot generator
    • students
      • reinforce the structure of short stories and collect criteria of a good short story
      • open a given plot generator
      • complete the boxes in a way that makes sense (avoid using the random option)
      • produce a short story with a plot generator
      • revise the product and create a story that makes sense, minding the criteria of a short story learnt earlier
      • annotate difficult words to enhance classmates’ understanding
      • publish the story on the Internet (e.g. padlet.com)
      • present their products to their classmates on a projector or on paper / individually read the published stories online
      • give critical feedback on their classmates’ products
      • listen to and accept critical feedback on their own short stories, make necessary changes to their stories, then republish final versions
      • comment on the user friendliness of the plot generator they used
    • teacher corrects short stories and students’ comments either by sending back digitalised versions of the various short stories or handing back collected paper versions
  • Consolidating activities suggested or follow up plan:
    • Collecting used nouns, adjectives, etc. in a mind map (see http://imindmap.com/how-to-mind-map/)
    • writing a second short story considering the criteria which make a good one.
    • if they are very good: try to translate the final products
    • role playing some of the stories
  • Success factors or evaluation criteria:

    Task is completed successfully if

    • students created coherent stories
    • students shared their documents with classmates and reacted to each other’s stories in meaningful ways, concentrating on contents rather than language

    Completion of task is excellent if the story is enjoyable, has a clear structure, uses correct grammar and a rich but not overcomplicated vocabulary (at about the level of the intended readers: the classmates). Completion of task is inadequate if the story makes no sense or is so poor in language that it is unintelligible.

    For peer evaluation see assessment grid below. Teacher may want to assign point values to the criteria on the assessment sheet if grades have to be given.

  • Authors: Ilona Fried, Ch. Doil-Hartmann, Judit J. Tóth
  • Acknowledgements: this example is based on a proposal by Roland Buehs
  • Didactic added value of the task and other information

  • Practical hints for teachers:
    • As at the beginning the plot generator may produce a nonsense story which can cause a lot of fun if the teacher and students consider the light side of the story (sense of humour required and recommended for teaching any foreign language!)
    • before introducing a plot generator to your students try it out yourself
    • make sure that all students have an Internet connection to access a plot generator
    • support and corrections will take some time, so you may ask your students to produce a story in a team
  • Additional methodological or didactic comments:

    to enable weaker students to write a story a list of vocabulary either related to the teaching unit or restricting the variety of topics would be helpful

  • Reasons why this task is a model of best practices:

    Writing ones own story motivates students to compare their products with other stories

  • Impact that it is expected to have on the teaching practices and attitudes:

    Using the internet and a plot generator might motivate teachers and students to use this device further on.

    The application of words might enrich the word power of the students

  • Reasons why this task travels well:

    This task can be used in any class that deals with literature/writing skills and with any topic of interest. It fits well into any curriculum.

  • Rationale and/or theoretical underpinnings of the task: The competences of writing and reading are in the focus, as are media competences and the consideration of the CEFR
  • Preferencial target age group(s): Young learners and high school students

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