Karen Luciana's class reviews the game Story Speller, from Think-a-lot Toys.
Story Speller is a game in which all players become creative authors. The object is to fill a storyboard with element cards, choose your very own hero or heroine, and then learn to tell your own story.
Nobody wins or loses. This game was a huge, positive hit with my fourth grade students. They literally cheer when I place the boxes on each table.
The classroom connections to this activity are many. Teachers can use the storyboards to help children recognize character development, build on developing a character with character traits, outline a plot prior to brainstorming a story, or revise a previously written creation.
Here is what we all like about Story Speller:
- You can go as crazy as you want with your stories.
- You can make the story funny, sad, and no one tells you what to say.
- Everyone has a different card so the stories are different.
- It is your story; no one can change it.
- It is an easy game.
- There is a limited card selection so it makes your story end. The stories can’t go on and on forever.
- If you play with your family; it is short so you can play a bunch of rounds.
The common element in all positive reactions was that children felt a source of ownership in regards to their stories. This feeling of ownership, therefore, led to a sense of pride in their creative story telling abilities. Because there is no writing involved, children who struggle with placing comments from mind to paper feel huge success with this game.
Negative comments were few. These included:
- Little card selection. The children wanted more of a variety.
- Some children felt that the board is not big enough for the cards.
- Some felt that it was a little too easy and would like to have more of a challenge.
- Children are all about choices, and some did not like that players pick the hero card last.
- Lastly, some commented that there were not enough heroes from which to choose.
I look at the challenges as opportunities for many language arts activities. For example, students can develop additional hero cards to add to the pile. Or, in order to make the game more difficult, the students must work with a partner to combine two stories.
I am happy with Story Speller. My students frequently ask for us to play in small groups. I even receive applause when the game is placed at each group. Any activity that elicits creative thinking and enthusiasm in my classroom is a big hit for me! I highly recommend Story Speller.