Lesson Plans, Writing Activities

See a Story Created By You Come to Life

Watch as author and illustrator David Costello transforms thoughts about scary characters and fun plot twists into an exciting picture book.

  • Grades: 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

When author and illustrator David Costello was looking for ideas for a new monster story, he turned to the experts — kids!

For several weeks, we collected story ideas from students around the country. Here, you can see how the author transforms ideas about scary characters and fun plot twists into an exciting picture book.

Visit the Monster Story Discussion Board to see the ideas submitted, and to discuss ways to use the project in your classroom.

How David Created His Story
Here is an outline of the steps David used to create his story:

  1. He choose the theme for the story. David Costello decided he wanted to write about monsters so he asked for your help.
  2. He then brainstormed characters with you on the discussion board.
  3. He then visualized a setting for the characters.
  4. Outlined the events for the story.
  5. Created sketches that represent the beginning, middle and end of his story.
  6. Pulled all the pieces together to create a final illustrated story.

Let's explore how he did it.

Watch Your Ideas Become a Story

Costello 1

First, We Develop the Characters
Are there monsters lurking in your school? Some students imagined there might be, so those and other strange creatures were chosen as characters for our story.

Costello 2

Next, We Create a Storyboard
Based on the characters and students' other ideas, David Costello creates sketches that outline the plot and set the scene for the story.

Costello 3

Then, We Sketch & Color the Illustrations
After planning out the ideas, the illustrator begins to transform the action into full-color drawings for a book.


 
Costello 4

Finally, We Have a Final Story
View the video or print out a copy of the final story, Mr. Allgunky and the Missing Monster!


 

The Final Storybook- Mr. Allgunky and the Missing Monster!
Print out a PDF version of the final story, for your students to read.

Activities to Do With Your Students
Use these activities to review the elements of a story with your students using the following graphic organizers.

Create Your Own Story
Use the following steps and printables to guide students through the creation of their own story.

  1. Choose a theme for your story. David Costello knew he wanted to write about monsters. What do you want to write about?
  2. Brainstorm characters.
  3. Visualize a setting for the characters.
  4. Outline the events for your story.
  5. Create sketches that represent the beginning, middle and end of your story.
  6. Pull your pieces together to create a final illustrated story.

For higher level students consider giving students a larger product to produce like a actual book, or a PowerPoint presentation of the story on a computer. Students can work in co-operative groups with roles that match their strengths.

  • Producer (gathers materials, leads project by keeping track of time in meetings, helps all group members stay on task, organizes all parts to create the final product.)
  • Writer (works closely with editor, takes notes in the brainstorming meeting, writes or types the story on a computer, consults with the team for ideas)
  • Artist (Creates illustrations by hand or on a computer.)
  • Editor (Works closely with the writer. Checks for spelling errors, as well as, story illustration accuracy and and proper sequencing)

All students work together to brainstorm ideas for their story, take notes and produce the final product.

Here a few great Book Lists to use for ideas:

Learn more about the work of David Hyde Costello on his website.

 

  • Subjects:
    Ghosts, Monsters, Vampires, Witches, Plot, Character, Setting, Story Elements, Writing, Creative Writing, Writing Process, Educational Technology, Teaching with Technology
  • Skills:
    Plot, Character and Setting, Problem and Solution, Sequence of Events, Descriptive Writing
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