Warm up activities

Collaborative Storytelling

Promote a sense of community and break the ice in class with collaborative storytelling activities.

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Collaborative Storytelling
Educator prep: None
Student prep: None
Synchronous or Asynchronous
Shared online space
Duration: Variable

Activity purpose

Promote a sense of community and break the ice in class with collaborative storytelling activities.

Useful for

Can be used at any time in the semester and even as an on-going activity throughout the semester.

Fun way of encouraging students to pay attention to details, engage in close reading, and think of logical possible scenarios. Teaches how to follow a unified style and voice. Is an outlet for students’ creativity.


Setting up a shared editable Google Doc or a Wiki within your LMS.

Deciding whether you want to let students collectively create a prompt to begin the story or wish to use an online random plot generator to get things started such as https://www.plot-generator.org.uk/ or https://blog.reedsy.com/plot-generator/  Another alternative is to get the ball rolling by creating a basic story plot related to the course (e.g. An anthropologist conducting field research or a scientist working at a research lab or an entrepreneur setting up her business).


Post preparation, make it clear how many times you’d like each student to contribute to the story per semester (e.g. 3 times) and how much content (e.g. a paragraph each time).

Create ground rules for students. E.g.:

Please don’t delete or edit the work your classmates added.

Read what has been written so far carefully. You have total freedom to create exciting twists and turns and move the story forward, but whatever you add has to make sense and seem logical given what comes before it. That means being true to the characters, plot, and style so far.


This is an asynchronous activity. It can run from the start to the end of the semester, or can be done for just a few days.

Technical requirements


Useful resources


More 'Warm up activities' activities:
Equity Unbound Activity
Tiny Demons/Drawing Monsters
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Lyse Edwards
Equity Unbound Activity
Pop-up Psychogeography Journey Journal
To invite students to use their bodies to represent, collaboratively, an image of something that is worth discussing.
Sarah-Jane Crowson

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