Mini Journals, Maxi Stories


Writing partners naturally imagine creative adventures! This colorful storyboard sends plots, characters, and settings in new directions.


1. Choose story triggers. Embark on a story-writing adventure in which you add exciting twists and turns. With your classmates, brainstorm 12 (or as many as you wish) challenging story triggers that keep a plot moving. Some examples: Change the setting, enter a different time period, develop a character's personality, or add an animal to the plot.

2. Make a storyboard. With your classmates, write the title of your creative writing expedition on posterboard with Crayola® Gel Markers. Measure a grid of boxes in rows and columns. Attach hook and loop fastener tape to the back of each mini journal and in each box on your grid. Attach a notebook and write a story trigger in each box. Add unique, colorful borders around the edges.

3. Start your stories. Pair up with another writer and begin a story in your mini journal. Write with Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils so you can make corrections easily.

4. Pick a trigger. Each day, writing partners choose a different journal, read the story that has been started, and then add a new twist based on the story trigger on the grid. Switch colored pencils with each chapter. After adding a new adventure, place the mini journal in a different box. The next pair of writers generates new excitement tomorrow.

Safety Guidelines

Adult supervision is required for any arts & crafts project. Observe children closely and intervene as necessary to prevent potential safety problems and ensure appropriate use of arts and crafts materials. Some craft items, particularly beads and buttons, are potential choking hazards for young children. Avoid use of such small parts with children younger than 3 years. Craft items such as scissors, push pins and chenille sticks may have sharp points or edges. Avoid use of materials with sharp points by children younger than 4 years. Read all manufacturers' safety warnings before using arts and craft supplies.


  • Create a larger grid with enough mini journals so everyone can create individual stories.
  • Wrap up the story-writing adventure by publishing a library of original works. Each pair of writers adopts one mini journal to revise, edit, and publish in a picture or chapter book. Share books in a classroom library for all students to read and review.
  • Try a similar project with biographies of people, famous or families. Include various aspects of their lives as triggers: early years, education, family, major accomplishments, memorable quotes.

Related Lesson Plans

Lesson Plans

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crayola supplies
  • Erasable Colored Pencils
  • Gel Markers
household supplies
  • posterboard
  • notebook
  • hook and loop fastener tape
  • measuring tool



  • Grades 4 to 6


  • Language Arts
  • Visual Arts


  • Multiple Sessions


  • Students identify story-writing triggers that keep a story's action, plot, character, and setting moving.

  • Students use story triggers to add to a community story-writing project.

  • Students work in pairs to write original chapters in ever-changing stories.


Research Canada Standards
Research UK Standards
Research U.S. Standards