First graders were working on finding the problem and solution involving the main character from stories they'd been reading. We took this information and applied it to writing our own short stories.
I had them draw around their hand "as if it were a big puffy Mickey Mouse glove." Then they cut the hand out and turned it sideways.
next they directed their imaginations to the task of making up a story with a MAIN CHARACTER, a PROBLEM, and a SOLUTION. They were to share their ideas with the students at their table.
Then I showed them the pink poster with the directions:
1. BOX the main character.
2. UNDERLINE the problem.
3. CIRCLE the solution.
We shared them with each other and did tiny illustrations. We put them in the hallway for a while, but not long, because the 1st grade Talent Pool students couldn't wait to take them home!
I think our stories were much more interesting than if I'd just said, "Write a short story."