Wild cards, crazy stories

5th December 2003 at 00:00
I use a pack of index cards with the name of an object or a photograph on them to stimulate pupils' ideas for writing stories. It's an alternative to giving them a title or opening sentence and is especially useful for able writers who need something different.

I try to vary the the objects and photographs between the mundane and the exotic. I have about 150 cards and items include a wristwatch with a cracked glass, a pair of cheap sunglasses, a silk tie with a floral pattern, a penknife, a mutilated class photograph, a tin of brown shoe polish, a library card and a notebook filled with code. Each student chooses two or three cards at random. Each chosen item must then play a significant part in the story they write.

Another way of using this pack is to give pupils random cards while they are writing their story: the idea being to introduce that item into the story as soon as possible.

This has roused the jaded interest of many a class and has led to stories from the horribly contrived to the subtle and clever.

Gareth Evans, teacher, diocese of Victoria Nyanza in Isamilo School, Mwanza, Tanzania

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today