Round Robin Suspense

Language Arts

Students will work in cooperative writing groups to develop a variety of possible stories around a single prompt.

What You Need

What to Do

  1. Divide the class into writing groups of about 5 students. Allow each group to select one prompt from the Suspense Writing Prompts list. Tell them that they will be writing 5 different stories using the prompt. At the end of the timed writing, they will select the version they like best to share with the class.

  2. Instruct the students to begin by writing the prompt as an opening. Then give them exactly 2 minutes to write. At the end of the 2 minutes, they must stop, even if they are in a middle of a sentence.

    They pass their papers to the right. This time you give them 3 minutes. During that time, they must read what the previous author has written and continue that story. At the end of the 3 minute segment, they again stop and pass their papers. The third writer has 4 minutes to write, the fourth writer has 5 minutes, and the fifth writer has 6 minutes. The final writing session should return the paper to its original owner for 7 minutes, where the story is ended.

  3. The stories are then shared within the small groups. After they read them, each group may select one version to share with the class.

Teaching Options

  • Each group may collaborate to combine, revise, and edit a final version of the story using the best plot, images, and details from all their stories. Remind students to review the elements of suspense stories, and to incorporate this framework into their finished piece.

  • Have students illustrate their stories and post them on a bulletin board for all to share and enjoy.

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