I love fun tools that help us spread literacy! Here is a relatively fun and easy program for any age that can write independently, although I don’t recommend mixing age groups too widely. Rory’s Story Cubes are cubes with pictures on each side that represent things that can be included in a story. You roll the dice and write a story including all or some of the pictures that come up.
Rory’s Story Cubes come in several sets. The original is pictured above, but there is also a “Voyages” and “Actions” set that has more options. The Story Cube Blog also mentions that fantasy, pre-historic, and mystery themed “mix-ins” are on the way and this is super exciting. I own the originals but if I was going to buy them today I would buy the Max set as the cubes are much bigger and would be easier for group use.
All you need to do to start is roll the cubes and have the kids write stories using the symbols on the dice. They can do this individually or as a group. The symbols are somewhat open to interpretation which makes the whole thing more fun.
You can also use cubes for a verbal storytelling game. Let one participant start the story and tell a cube or two’s worth then move around the circle continuing the story using the remaining cubes and storytellers. You could also put the cubes in a bag and have each child or teen pick a cube at random and use whichever side they like as the basis for a story.
The Story Cubes website has some videos and instructions on ways the cubes can be used, but for some more ideas check out this GeekDad column at Wired, some classroom inspired ideas, and even more ideas from another teacher. Once patrons become familiar with how to play you could even make them available for group or individual use outside of programs.
But that’s not all! Rory’s Story Cubes is also available as an iOS App! So, if you have a group set of iPads or even one iPad to use with a projector you can use the app in much the same way as the cubes. The app is only 1.99 and additional sets of cubes are available as in app purchases for 1.99 as well. Shake the iPad or press the icon at the bottom of the screen to shake the cubes and then write away! You can take a picture of your roll if you get a particularly interesting one.
So, whether you’re digital or old-school let the storytelling games begin! I’ll be talking about storytelling card games in a future post.