The Great Sizzling Start Challenge

Our picture prompt inspired many different sizzling start ideas!

Image by Kate Pruitt http://www.designsponge.com/2012/10/diy-project-tiny-doors.html

“Glowing brightly from a distance the Queen Bee and her beloved King Cockroach open a door to their land of Bugsville.” – Natalia, Queensland.

“Knock, knock! The door screams as I open it. Little army men are marching quickly with their small pointy weapons heading my way.” – Ayden, Queensland.

“Bang bang! I pecked my head out of my mini door. The giant was walking towards the door. So I ran to my emergency hide out and listened to the giant’s “Fe fi fo fum!”…” – Jack and Oriana, South Australia.

Three of the original “sizzling starts” created by students in Queensland and South Australia.

On Thursday our class participated in “The Great Sizzling Start Challenge” with two other classes from Queensland. It was the first time we collaborated with other classes in real time, and it was FAN-TAS-TIC!

To start with, we skyped 5SK in Queensland to say ‘Hi!’. The sound came out loud and clear, but the students were a little surprised that the image was a bit blurry, especially when the camera was focused on the group of Queensland students waving at us. The reality is that video files are huge and the quality has to be compressed in order to be sent quickly over the Internet. No doubt this will evolve for the better in the future.

After that, it was time to start the challenge, in real time, on Padlet! All classes and students were presented with the picture prompt above and challenged to imagine a “sizzling start” to a story inspired by this prompt. A sizzling start need not be very long; rather it should consist of three to four carefully crafted sentences, designed to grab the audience’s interest and make them want to read on… As we started the experience, students working in pairs or trios on Padlet could see Padlet notes appearing on the collective board as everyone shared their writing online. Here is our Padlet Board:

After the writing phase, our class regrouped and shared our thoughts about the experience. There had been a tremendous buzz in the room as the activity was going on and the students all loved the challenge. We logged on to Twitter to share our thoughts with the other classes. Here is some of the feedback that was shared on Twitter:

Hugo, from Queensland – “I liked how the boxes kept popping up!”

Oriana, from South Australia – “It was exciting; we’d never done something like this and we would love to do it again!”

Samara, from Queensland – “It was the best writing experience I have ever had.”

This activity was very successful – there was a sense of purpose as we were sharing with a real audience, as well as excitement as the action was unfolding before our very eyes! It was inspiring to see what ideas and writing styles others contributed. It was a writing experience that made writing come to life in our classroom, and we can’t wait to do it again!

Thank you to 5SK and TullyCrew for their enthusiasm, meet you again soon!


Mrs Pratt


  1. Hello, my name is Scotty and I’m in 6th grade. I really like your story and I have been posting many stories on my blog. Please come check out my student blog at http://j4ah15.edublogs.org

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