To start our story the students created a character. Then they took a line from their journal the week before and added a second line. They were instructed to rhyme the last word in each line to start their song lyrics.
We started our unit by handing out a wheel of musical styles (seen on left under the journal). We improvised singing in that style, and wrote down key elements of each musical style. The students were extremely shy and hesitant to participate (much more than other classes I've worked with). As a result, we asked them to reflect in their journal some ways they could overcome the reluctance and become more confident.
The following week, they took a line from the journal (seen on the left) and used it as the first line of lyrics in their song.
Here is an example of the round writing we did to create the plot for our musical. Each student wrote a portion and then passed it to two more people. It was an interesting process with the 6th grade. They care more about how their work is viewed my their classmates then the other grades and sometimes the stories were used to make jokes or show off. They also had some of the most insightful ideas too! The process was very enlightening in terms of their writing abilities, personalities and creativity.