Creating stories with novice learners could be challenging but not impossible if you provide the language and a template for them to complete. Although they are not completely coming up with the details for the story, giving them this support provides them with a sense of autonomy in the target language. Rolling stories have become an all-time favorite activity for my second and third graders; the best part is that this can be done in just one class. My classes don’t last more than 45 minutes, so during this time, students get to create the story and illustrate it. This activity is so simple that students can decide to do it in groups or on their own, and now we have stories for different seasons and celebrations.

What do you need in order to roll a story?

  • Story Template: This guide includes sections for the type of character, color, emotion, place where they live, and what they like to do.

  • Dice: Using dice adds randomness and creativity to storytelling. Students roll to determine story elements.


  • Additional Story Template: This optional tool provides extra structure, which is especially helpful for younger students. It maximizes class time and relieves students from writing from scratch, which could be overwhelming for many younger students.

  • Flashcards with articles:Believe it or not, this question has come up in my second-grade classes, and it has been an opportunity to talk about definite and indefinite articles. That’s why I now support this with visuals when writing these little and short stories.

Once students have completed their stories, they illustrate them. I like keeping them in the notebooks. In the next class, I use a document camera to read their stories and ask questions about them. Some students might have the same stories, but believe it or not, they all want to hear them. I also expand by using their illustrations to talk about the stories. Rolling stories has to be one of my favorite stand alone activities that are engaging and meaningful.