What All Good Stories Need (Anchor Chart) & Halloween Onomatopoeia Stories

We are working through our Halloween Onomatopoeia Stories as a class and I created this anchor chart with the kids the other day about what all good stories need:

Gotta love white-out tape for the oopsies :)

I really like comparing stories to a roller coaster ride- you want to stay on-track the whole time (keeping a narrow focus) and you want the story to build up to an exciting point (climax), then come to a fun and complete conclusion.

For those of you who asked, I do my heading beforehand and then do the rest of the marker with the kids as we talk and I teach. After the lesson, I go over key words in Sharpie so that it sticks out. I made this on my 1/2 sheet chart paper and love the size since my walls are filling up quickly :)

It is then super-easy to conference with kids using the symbols to help. For example, one of my struggling writers was stuck on narrowing down their story to just one problem, so on the top margin, I wrote:
?: _____________________

and he and I worked together to come up with just one problem and how it would be resolved in his story.

We are currently knee-deep in our Halloween Onomatopoeia Stories and they are so much fun to read. I love how the kids are getting so into the Halloween spirit and also using their imaginations to come up with so many more examples of sound words.

Kids first chose one card from each set: 2 characters, a situation, and an onomatopoeia:

I put them face-down on the edge of the table so they would be surprised :)

They then spread their cards out and, using our anchor chart to help, began drafting a story that included all four cards in some way:

We are now working on COPS editing and some kids have started to publish. They came out so cute, I can't wait to see the final copies in our hallway for the Halloween all-school parade next week :)


  1. Stephanie, I love your anchor chart. I am working on narratives with my 2/3's at the moment, so I might *steal* borrow the set up from your anchor chart. I particularly like the rollercoaster metaphor. I will send you a pic if you like of how it turns out. Great idea
    Mrs Poultney's Ponderings

    1. I'm so glad this could help! I would love for you to send me an email of your chart :) Thanks!!


  2. You have the best writing anchor charts! I always love reading about how you do your writing block.

    :) Kaitlyn
    Smiles and Sunshine

  3. This is exactly what we've been doing this week (the anchor chart part) but I love how you combined it all on one anchor chart. We've talked about how stories need a beginning, middle, and end just like a weinie dog has a b, m, and e. They love the analogy and thinking about what a weinie dog would look like without one of those parts. :) I also LOVE the Halloween onomatopoeia idea. What a great way to have them practice what they've learned. Thanks for sharing!


    1. LOVE the wienie dog example~ how fun! The Halloween piece has been a hoot, especially for my boy-boys who love the blood and gore.... at least it gets 'em writing, right? ;) Thanks for your comment!


  4. I use the rollercoaster analogy, too, but I really like the way that you put it all together in a visual with the anchor chart. I may have to make my own like that. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Fantastic anchor chart! I've always used the roller coaster but the visual is perfect. I like the question mark/exclamation point as another visual for the kids. Narrowing it down is so hard for some! They want to write everything! Thanks for sharing!!
    Beach Sand and Lesson Plans