Popcorn Story Elements – How to Play!
I used to teach creative writing with 4th and 5th graders.
One afternoon, things got pretty silly when I invited the class to write various creative elements on little pieces of colored paper, throw them into the center of the classroom—the best part!—and then grab one of each and GO!
Everyone then had 30 minutes to craft a story. The only rule? It must incorporate ALL of the random elements received. (Spelling doesn’t count. GO!)
Of course, I wrote a story too.
Afterwards we enjoyed theatrical readings of everyone’s stories. Many giggles, groans, and guffaws could be heard as everyone waited to hear which classmate wrote about their elements. Such amusement!
One of my own favorite stories
My own story from that afternoon has always been one of my favorites, and I knew when I started this blog that I would offer it to all of you. Maybe this will inspire you to play Popcorn Story Elements yourself? 🙂
Here goes . . .
Here are the words that I found on my 5 little papers:
- Setting: “Texas”
- Time: “in the past”
- Character: “Smaug (the dragon from the Hobbit)”
- Conflict: “a big river”
- Object/thing: “a cow”
Muffy the Hydrophobic Cow’s Big Adventure
Years ago, in the distant past, far away in a mysterious place, Texas, there lived a cow. This was not an ordinary cow. This was a hydrophobic cow! The poor thing had never learned to swim and was utterly afraid of water. (No pun intended)
Things were going along just fine for our rather dry cow until one day something frightening happening! Our bovine heroine, whose name was Muffy, was just standing around casually chewing her cud when several of her little cow friends appeared carrying beach towels and a picnic basket. “We’re all going on a little hike to the Big River.
Wanna join us?”
“Uh oh,” moo’d our cow Muffy. She wanted to go with her friends, but she felt like she had giant butterflies in her stomach (technically in her second stomach). They asked her again, but Muffy couldn’t speak. All she could do was stare awkwardly down at her hooves. The other cows said they’d be back to get her in a half an hour, and then they trotted away happily laughing and mooing, just like normal cows. Muffy began to panic.
Suddenly, as though things couldn’t get any worse, Muffy heard a giant roaring sound overhead, and a deep shadow began to darken the field around her. Something huge was filling the sky, blocking out the sun, coming closer and closer, and it was loud! There was a great roaring sound and the acrid smell of flames and fire!
Muffy turned her giant cow head upwards to the sky to look. A huge dragon was flying straight toward her! It was glistening in the sun, each scale alive with the sun’s reflection, and it was surrounded by a great fiery halo of fire-breath! Fortunately, our heroine Muffy, although petrified by even the thought of water, was pretty mellow when it came to fires and dragons and such things.
“Hey! Who are you?” she called out.
Then, as suddenly as the dragon had appeared in the sky, it was parked on the ground right next to Muffy. “I’m Smaug, at your service.” Now Muffy was a big reader, and she had just finished The Hobbit, so she knew all about Smaug.
“Would you like to go for a ride?” asked Smaug.
“Sure” Muffy said as she hopped up on Smaug’s back. Smaug flew up into the sky and together they went gliding above the meadow, up past the tree tops, and across the hills. Muffy was having a fine adventure! Suddenly, Smaug banked his wings and took a sideways dip (he was found of flight tricks). “Hang on!” he called. Muffy grabbed Smaug’s upper wing and let out a moo-like giggle.
Then as Muffy looked down toward the ground, she said, “Holy Cow!” (Yes, in case you are wondering, cows do use this phrase). Right down below her she saw the Big River. Next to the river were all of her friends gathered around their beach towels and the picnic basket. Only they weren’t having a very relaxing time. All bovine eyes were looking up in the sky, at her, terrified. All of their little cow knees were shaking. Muffy waved to her friends with her one free hoof, and then said, “Cool! Smaug, let’s do a triple twirl next!” and so they did.