Most of us are familiar with storyboards. Children and adults use a storyboard to set up and define characters, plot, setting and generate the overall outline of a story. Although effective, storyboards do not work for everyone. Using a story pyramid will accomplish the same goal as the storyboard. By using a few words to describe characters and plot, any child can easily put together a story using the story pyramid method. Any child who is able to write or type can use this method.
Student will develop a plot for a story and one character using a story pyramid. Multiple story pyramids may be used to outline an entire story.
Ask students what they know about writing a story. Pay particular attention to setting, plot and characters.
Teach students about plot, setting and characters. Students should understand what makes a good, interesting story. A story has more than a beginning, middle and end. For a story to be engaging, a character or characters must have some form of conflict and a resolution to that conflict.
Creating a Story Pyramid
On a sheet of paper, number 8 lines, leaving two spaces between each line. The number of the line corresponds to how many words are on each line. Try to center the words on the paper so that it looks like a pyramid.
Line 1 is the name of the character. To create the look of a pyramid, center the character’s name on the line. The name is one word for now.
Line 2 contains two words describing the character on line one.
Line 3 uses three words to describe the setting.
Line 4 contains four words stating the problem or conflict the main character has.
Line 5 has five words describing one event that the main character is involved in.
Line 6 uses six words describing a second event involving the main character.
Line 7 contains seven words outlining a third event involving the main character.
Line 8 has eight words that describe the solution to the character’s problem or conflict.
Once the story pyramid is completed, the student will have a solid basis for a story. If done correctly, the main character is defined, the setting is outlined, the main character’s conflict is determined, and there are three events leading to the resolution of the main character’s conflict.
Cross Curricular Activities
Use pyramids as a unit study. Learn about the properties of a pyramid from a mathematical standpoint. Bring in social studies and world cultures by finding out about which ancient cultures built pyramids. Locate on a map or globe where remains of pyramids are found. Explore why some people believe that pyramids contain mystical powers. Ask the students to write a story that uses pyramids in the setting or as part of the plot. Have older students write a persuasive argument as to whether or not pyramids have mystical powers. Create a lapbook about pyramids.
Using a story pyramid can be very helpful to students who struggle to get ideas out of their heads and into written words. The flexibility of the story pyramid allows it to work well for students who are just beginning to write and for students who are in the upper grades. Adults can use a story pyramid to help work through “writers block.”
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