Category Archives: Narrative Writing

Creating Comics on your iPad

Comics are very powerful pieces of writing.  Students enjoy reading and creating comics. Two apps on the iPad,, Comic Life and BookCreator, allow students to create their own comics. ComicLifeSample

One of the best ways to engage your students in a story writing dialogue activity, is to use Comics.   What better way is there to show how writing dialogue needs to appropriate, clear and effective?  If their characters’ dialogue does not drive the plot, then the audience cannot follow their story.

Students can use Comic Life or BookCreator  to display their understanding of any topic in their non-fiction writing:

  1. Autobiographies or Biographies
  2. Speech Plan
  3. Instructional/Procedural Write
  4. Travel Guide
  5. Poster

Comic Life and BookCreator have many unique comic features and the purpose for using these features needs to be explained to students.

  1. Panels and Pages
    • a panel is like a paragraph, with one main idea
    • size of panel shows time and importance
    • we read panels left to right, top to bottom
  2. Pictures
    • Background
      • shows us setting
      • develops mood
    • Foreground
      • Characters and important objects
  3. Text Features
    • Captions
      • carries the narrative of the story
      • tells us about setting
      • explains what happens between panels
    • Speech and Thought Bubble
      • displays characteristic of characters
      • Is often the core text feature, giving the most information
    • Lettering
      • Onomatopeias
      • Title
You can also have students explore App Smashing by:
  1. Adding themselves as characters on a background in PicCollage
  2. In Drawing Box, create their own drawings and add to their comic
  3. Create their own characters in Avatar Creator

Here is student instructions for using Comic Life


and Comics in BookCreator


Collaborative Writes Benefit all Students

Collaborative Writes Benefit all Studentsstudents-148163_640

  1. Collaboration strengthens writing skills and improves Communication 
  2. Sense of Responsibility to complete a task improves growth in Personal Awareness
  3. Sharing of Ideas with a diversity of opinions and styles promotes Positive Personal and Cultural Identity
  4. Sharing of Expertise with Peer Editing develops Critical Thinking Skills

*Bolded Core Competencies 

Using the iPads, collaborative writing can happen easily in the Google Environment.

Students can use either Google Slide or Google Docs to create and share the writing assignment.

Forms of Writing

Persuasive Writing (debate) using Google Slides or Docs

  • A pair of students choose to debate a topic on the same document.
  • Give Topics such as “Every child should or should not have a tracking device placed on them” or “Curfews”, “Uniforms” etc.
  • One student creates the doc/slide and shares to partner
  • When completed the writing, the students would edit, giving a strong argument for one, or decide to let the reader choose (more of a editorial write)

Research Writing Using Google Slides

  • Students in pairs or triads, research a topic together dividing the topic  into subtopics
  • One Student creates a Google Slide and shares with group
  • Students are each responsible to present the information on their own Google Slide pages, within the original document
  • Remind students that this is an oral presentation, with visual cues
  • Show students how to turn on the speaker’s notes, where they can add script to refer to in presentation

Narrative Writing Using Google Document

  • Give students a genre of a traditional/parody story to rewrite (Fractured Fairy Tale,  Animal  Story, Fable)
  • Divide students into pairs or triads
  • One student creates the doc and shares with the group
  • Put a table on the document, so that each student has a place to write
  • The (2×6) table could include: Introduction, Setting, Protagonist, Antagonist,  Problem, Attempt to Solve 1, Attempt to Solve 2, Attempt to Solve, Solution, Conclusion
  • Students divide the task and write in their chosen cell
  • Completed text can be copied and pasted into another application


  • Choose a poetry form with a distinctive form  such as sonnet
  • Discuss the characteristics of the poetry form
  • Sonnet 14 lines, 3 quatrains, 1 couplet,  each line 10 syllables, rhyming scheme of abab, cdcd, efef, gg
  • Divide students into groups
  • One student creates the document and shares
  • Create a table 2×14
  • Label  Column with rhyming scheme
  • Each Student completes their assigned line


Fairy Tale Writing: Fractured Fairy Tales

  1. Brainstorm Characteristics of Fairy Tale: Beginning, Ending, Setting, Characters, Problems etc.
  2. Decide on a fairy tale to write a parody on (try your favourite or least favourite)
  3. Reread the fairy tale in order to become an expert on the events
  4. Research to become familiar:
  5. Draft Story using Inspirations
  6. Change one of the literary elements: Point of View (reverse good guy bad guy), setting, etc.
  7. Write text for story
  8. Complete drawings for story: Drawcast or Drawing
  9. Use an Application to Present: Comic Life, PowerPoint/Keynote, Word/Pages, Book Creator etc

Interview a character from a fractured fairy tale and create aPodcast


Fairy Tale Writing and Fables

Telia the Monkey

With the popular explosion of Fairy Tales in Entertainment, students are becoming more familiar with classic fairy tales.  All fairy tales and fables revolve around a moral or a lesson. Using these classic examples, a variety of story writing activities can be generated.

  1. Fractured Fairy Tales
    A story that uses fairy tale characters, settings, or plot elements, and alters the story’s point of view or setting, to create a new and often humourous story. The original moral/lesson in the story may also be changed.
  2. Fable
    A story that uses morals to teach a lesson and often uses animals as characters.

Simple morals such as “Don’t Take Things From Strangers” in Snow White, to “Slow But Steady Wins the Race” in the Tortoise and the Hare, can inspire students to create stories which can be illustrated.

While working with a class last week, I gave students each a moral (ListofMorals) and asked them to generate a story from this moral.  As most fables revolve around animals demonstrating human characteristics (personification), I asked them to use animals as characters.  Their animals were to be well suited to the role like choosing a fox to depict a devious character.  The problem in their story was generated from their moral so the moral “appearances often are deceiving”  could have a character who trusts a “beautiful” character and/or mistrusts an “ugly” character.

The students were asked to use Inspirations ( Fableoutline) to organize their stories, generating ideas for characters, setting and attempts to solve problem.  Students were then to draft their stories on Word and begin chunking the story on pages for future drawings. I suggested a minimum of 6 pages, therefore 6 drawings.

The teacher and I talked about the opportunity for these students to read their completed stories to younger students.  This generated excitement within their class as now an audience was a reality. Story writing is more exciting when the audience is beyond their own class.




Using Comic Life

One of the best ways to engage your students in a story writing dialogue activity, is to use Comic Life.  What better way is there to show how writing dialogue needs to appropriate, clear and effective?  If their characters’ dialogue does not drive the plot, then the audience cannot follow their story.

Several of the WWP teachers are using Comic Life and Preview to help students put themselves into stories.
Follow my instructions in this ComicLifeMedia2Preview

Remember Comic Life can also be used in Nonfiction Writing.


The Writing Process

The Writing Process in a WWP class is generally no different than a traditional class except that students are using technology.  Teachers will still be doing activities of Prewriting, Brainstorming, Drafting, Revising, Proofing, Editing, and Publishing. 

1.      Prewriting and Brainstorming is any activity in which writers are determining their topic, and purpose. They should also be keeping their audience in mind.

  • Several teachers use the framework of RAFTS to help students plan their writing.  Not that they are trying to keep afloat in classes.  RAFTS stands for ROLE, AUDIENCE, FORM, TOPIC AND STRONG VERB (explain, persuade).
  • Primary teachers use drawing to help students to access prior knowledge about a potential writing topic.  Use Notebook or iPad apps such as Drawcast, to have students draw their ideas.
  • Use online apps such as Portrait Maker or the iPad app Portrait to create avatars for characters in stories
  • Use Media to help students come up with ideas.  Do an image search, find a sound effect or explore Educational videos through sites such as NeoK12, YouTube, or National Geographic For Kids
  • Using technology, students can quickly research topics using sites such as Simple Wikipedia or QWiki (also iPad app)
  • Using graphic organizers like Inspirations (Application and iPad App) allows students to web ideas and begin the organization of their ideas. They can use text, pictures and even audio to capture their ideas.

2.      Drafting

  • Using a word processing application such as Word, Pages or Open Office, allows the Process pieces for Drafting, Revising, Proofing and Editing to become intertwined.  No longer does the writer need to work through draft, then revise, then proof, etc, a 21st century writer does this simultaneously.
  • have students use the Quick Scales (available on this site) to self assess or have a peer assess their work

3.      Publishing

  • Their are a variety of ways for students to present their final projects

    iPad Apps

    Computer Apps

    Comic Life
    I Tell a Story, BookCreator



    Let students be creative in choosing a way to present their work! Enjoy!


    Word, Open Office
    Comic Life
    Garage Band: Podcast, iPhoto or PowerPoint





Collaborative Writing

One of the big ideas in the WWP is the belief that writing is social and collaborative.  Students generate creative pieces when they have an opportunity to share their ideas and build on other’s thoughts.  When students collaborate with writing, they have opportunity to expose themselves to different styles.  They get to see examples of “good” writing techniques.  There are a variety of ways to say “Mary ran into the classroom”.  As teachers we can introduce more complex language and sentences, but then sometimes, they just don’t get.  When they see their peers using a variety of words and sentences, it is almost learning by osmosis.  Try using this online site to create collaborative works.

Instructions to students

  1. One student goes to
  2. Give your Pad an unique “easy” name (madeupname)
  3. Have partner(s) type in URL
  4. Begin the writing
  5. One student exports the work at the end of the writing session.


Creating and Sharing a Talking Storybook

iBooks have some amazing and creative stories which can include audio.  Using the IPad , students have the ability to create their own talking stories using a variety of different apps.  They can add their own voices, audio sounds, own pictures, clipart, electronic drawings, and of course their own writing. Lastly, they can share their audio story, so others can open in iBooks.

Here is a outline of the apps you could use

  1. Open “Character Prompts”  Create a profile of your main character, saving to notes basic, physical , info, twists and questions.  Copy and paste your notes into “Pages“.  Begin to write your story.  You may use a graphic organizer app to ensure your story follows a plot profile (beginning, problem, attempts to solve, resolution and conclusion.
  2. Use “Portrait” to create an avatar of your character.
  3. Use a drawing app such as “DrawCast” or “Drawing Box” to create settings, etc.  Capture the screen in Photos.
  4. Open “Book Creator”.  Create pages, adding text (copy and paste), audio recordings, sound effects, avatar, pictures and drawings.
  5. Share to Evernote and email to your teacher, friends, parents etc.
  6. Your Audience will be able to open in iBooks.

Creating a Podcast on your iPad

Try the free app “I Tell A Story”

A lot of students have enjoyed creating audio stories in Garageband, but with the iPad version it was not a priority to include the podcasts.  The free app “I Tell A Story” allows the students to create a simple story.  It has some built in sound effects and access to the itunes library.  I would recommend adding your apple audio files to your itunes library.

  1. Listen to samples of audio stories online
  2. Brainstorm genres of audio stories
  3. Give an example of a written script (may give students a template for)
  4. Students write a script.
  5. Record script in sequential order in “I Tell A Story”
  6. Save, play and enjoy
  7. In the editing there is email choice, send to teacher

Below is a sample

Halloween Story