Grade 5

Story Wars

Global Collaborator


Story Wars is a free collaborative story writing website. Students can write a chapter that is part of a collaborative story. The students submit their draft chapter. People from all over the world will be contributing their own version. The submissions are voted upon and the students may have their chapter accepted! 

There is a classroom version where the stories are only written/edited by the students in the subscribed class. Check the site for classroom pricing. The teacher can track the  students writing progress, readability level, spellcheck & sentiment. It is highly suggested that teachers use the classroom version for safety reasons and to stay compliant with COPPA. 

Students will:

  • Be able to improve their writing skills. 
  • Be able to give input on other's writing. 
  • Be able to collaborate with others on a story. 

Vocabulary Words:

  1. Collaborate: To collaborate is to work jointly with others. 
  2. Input: To give input is to give one's opinion on something. 

To prepare for this lesson:

  • The teacher will login to Story Wars and create an account. 
  • The teacher will look at the different stories available to be added to. 
  • The teacher will look at several completed stories and find one that is appropriate to share with the 5th graders. Search for 5th grade and there are stories about 5th graders and stories being worked on by 5th graders. The stories can also be searched by keyword or topic. 
  • Story Wars' stories are being worked on by children and adults alike. The writers are encouraged not to write about inappropriate subjects and use swear words, but there will be stories that are not appropriate for your students. It is best then to steer the students toward stories selected by the teacher. 
  • Story Wars does teach collaboration and writing skills. Students are encouraged to write drafts and have them checked before submitting them to Story Wars. Spelling and grammar should be checked and fixed before submitting. 
  • Story Wars also is teaching the students to read what is already there and then continue with a story that makes sense to the reader. 
  • View the Story Wars videos on their YouTube Channel. There is one on how to use the classroom version
  • Go over the rules:

    • Don't write "The end", "To be continued" in the story.
    • Plagiarizing is not okay. You can reuse other people's work if you add something meaningful to it.
    • Hatred towards a group of people or a certain person won't be allowed. You are of course allowed to write about the subject but a story that implies that a certain group in society is less worth than others will be removed. You can write about racism but don't be a racist. You can write about sexism but don't be a sexist...
    • You are not allowed to use multiple accounts to vote for your own drafts, please respect the voting system. You will be warned first and get a heavy point reduction. Then followed by a ban if you don't change your ways.
    • No spam, this is not the place to tell us about your business.
  • Keep in mind
    • Keep your story open-ended.
    • Good spelling helps others when reading your story.
    • A good cover helps when looking for stories to read.
    • It's not your story alone, you are writing a story together with others.
  • Don't let the students get hung up on points, have them work to create the best story possible. None of their versions may get accepted the first time or every time. It is still a good learning experience. 

Note: This activity could also be accomplished by using Google Docs and sharing with another class and having close supervision with the other teacher. This is a FREE alternative and the Google document will only be shared between the classrooms in the project. 

See Accommodations Page and Charts on the site in the Teacher Resources. 

Directions for this activity:

  1. The teacher will choose a story or stories for the students to read first. 
  2. The teacher will tell the students they are going to collaborate with others and help write a story. 
  3. The teacher will choose a story for the students to collaborate on. 
  4. The teacher will divide the students into groups to write their own version. 
  5. Each group will submit theirs. 
  6. After two drafts have been added for a chapter, a countdown starts. This is the remaining time when other people can add new drafts for the chapter.
  7. When the countdown has reached zero, a voting round will start, featuring all the drafts that had been added.
  8. The students will be able to vote on all the versions and decide which one they feel is the best one to continue the story. 
  9. All user-created content on Story Wars is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Note: You can edit your story if you notice a mistake in it. But you can only edit the story in the first hour. This is to give the writers who want to add a new chapter a fair chance to know what they are continuing on. Press on the Edit story menu option.

Different options for assessing the students:

  • Observations
  • Check for understanding
  • Create a rubric for writing a chapter:
    • Spelling
    • Grammar
    • Creativity
    • Following the story line
    • Collaboration with others in the group

MITECS: Michigan adopted the "ISTE Standards for Students" called MITECS (Michigan Integrated Technology Competencies for Students) in 2018.

Global Collaborator
7a. Students use digital tools to connect with learners from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, engaging with them in ways that broaden mutual understanding and learning.
7b. Students use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts or community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.
7c. Students contribute constructively to project teams, assuming various roles and responsibilities to work effectively toward a common goal.

Device: PC, Chromebook, Mac, iPad 

Browser: Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge, ALL

Chrome Story Wars

Story Wars

Story Wars Videos on YouTube Channel

Story Wars Video on How to Use the Classroom Version

  • The students are improving their writing skills. 

  • The students are also improving their reading skills by reading the chapters and then continuing the story. 

The students wlll create a cover for the book. 

This task card was created by Melissa White, 21Things Project Manager, REMC Association of Michigan, April 2018.