Group Writing

If you have never tried to write a short story with your entire class, I highly recommend it.  Set a theme, agree on some guiding points, give the first sentence (or not, but it sets a nice poetic tone if you can come up with something filled with images and symbolism), project the document onto a shared wall, and then let the maddening cacophony of noise and ideas take over.

Your job is to type.

And criticize.

And provoke.

And probe.

And challenge.

Be ruthless.

Demand something better.

Take it one sentence at a time.

They will deliver.  And the result will be a collective voice that is more powerful than any individual can accomplish.

Read our story HERE.

It is amazing, I can look at any sentence in this story and tell you where the idea came from.  Who suggested it, who modified, and how it emerged.  Simply a fantastic way to spend an hour.


  1. This interests me a great deal. I co-wrote and workshopped a book with my Hmong ESOL students in St. Paul, Minnesota many years ago. It is now in all the public schools in Wisconsin, Minnesota and California. I've been longing to do it again, but feel daunted. If I were doing it in conjunction with (not together but alongside) some other teachers, I would be really keen to have another go at it. Ours would focus on life in an international school.

  2. It is great fun, and filled with great moments. I would say, that is boring, and they would ask why, and then another would give an example and another would counter it, and before you knew it, we were having this meta-discussion about what makes an interesting paragraph.

    I would use fiction as a way of communicating life in an international school. I have done this before with non-fiction and it was not as powerful. There is something about the power of words used poetically that really sparks good conversation. Maybe create a story that is a metaphor for life in international schools? Set that as your constraint and let them go.


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