Monday, May 9, 2016

Slicing Up Your Story: Story Board

Children Eating a Pie
Bartolome Esteban Murillo, 1670-1675
I like to use a variety of both written and interactive tools to help my students learn the art of Oral Tradition, telling stories! There are already several wonderful books with useful ideas, however, because many of my students return year after year, I always want to have something new and fresh for them to try.

While I use the traditional story board to help students break down their tales, and also created, What's Driving Your Story? (Available in my book, Story by Story), this year I designed another type of story board, Slicing Up Your Story. I use this towards the end of the program, long after they completed their initial story boards and were very familiar with their stories. I wanted to see if anything new bubbled to the surface and also how succinctly they could now describe different elements of their story, i.e. setting, character, events, etc. Below is the handout I used along with some of the answers the students shared.

Please feel free to use this in your own personal work; however I do request that you respect copyright, offer attribution, and do not publish it in any form without my permission. Note: You may share the link to this blog post with your colleagues.


Before I pass out the worksheet I go over the instructions with the students, using Little Red Riding Hood as an example.

1.      Who is the main character in your story? (Red Riding Hood)
2.      Describe one character in two words. (petite, brave)
3.      Describe the story setting in three words. (dark, damp, ominous)
4.      Describe the main event/problem in four words. ( Girl meets dangerous wolf)
5.      Describe something in your story using ONLY ONE of your five senses. Describe the wolf using the sense of touch: hairy, dry, coarse, solid, muscular) Note: Be careful to clearly explain that you are looking for descriptive words.
6.      Describe the ending of your story in six words. (Woodsman rescues girl and grandmother.) *Of course this might be different if you are using another variant of the story. 


#2. Describe the main character in two words.
  • Tiny/Forgetful
  • Cross/Selfish
  • Prankster/Beggar
  • Greedy/Thoughtless

#3. Describe the story setting in three words.
  • Sweet/Warm/Stone
  • Pretty/Colorful/Fragrant
  • Cold/Winter/Damp 
  • Green/Glistening/Well
#4. Describe the main event/problem in four words.
  • Sister, spell, fairy, curse
  • Monkey loses his tail.
  • Cat wants delicious cake.
  • Girl won’t share bread.
  • Tom wants leprechaun's gold.
#5. Describe something in your story using only one of your five senses.
  • Taste: Frosting: vanilla, sugary, delicious, rich
  • Sight: Cloud: high, white, fluffy, drifting
  • Taste: Bread: sweet, warm, buttery
  • Touch: Bucket: cold, smooth, shiny
  • Smell: Farm: animals, manure, flowers, fresh air
 #6. Describe the ending of your story in six words.
  • Tries to chase his baby donkey.
  • Sadly Tom doesn’t get the gold.
  • Nasty sister turns into an owl.
  • Be careful what you wish for.
  • Happy monkey gets his tail back.
Extra Bonus: Leave a comment on the blog and I will send you the actual worksheet in a .doc file so you won't have to make one up yourself. (I am not above bribery :)

If you are interested in more innovative storytelling tools and games, you will find them in my award-winning book, Story by Story: Creating a Student Storytelling Troupe.I hope you will have the opportunity to try this out with your students or even when you are learning a new story. If you do, please let me know, I would love to hear how it turned out for you.

Please note, websites change at a rapid pace and web links may change or break without notice. I cannot be responsible for redirected or broken links.  At the time of this posting all links were in working order. Thank you for understanding.

Karen Chace 2016 ©
This blog post was researched and compiled by Karen Chace. Permission for private use is granted. Distribution, either electronically or on paper is prohibited without my expressed written permission. For permission please contact me at Of course, if you