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Collaborative Story Writing with Emoji Random Generator


Activity Website:
Tech Product/Equipment:
Computer and projector, Mobile devices for students, Printer (optional)

Activity Description

Assorted Emojis
Source: Pixabay by Pixaline (License: Protected by Copyright (c) [i.e. screenshot])
Students work collaboratively to write a descriptive story from randomly-generated emojis. This is a team writing exercise intended for students to add details to their writing. 


1. Decide if you will provide the emojis that you have randomly generated from the site (as in Sample Story Prompts) or if you will have students in teams generate the emojis. If you do the former, copy and paste the emojis into word-processing files and print out. If you decide to do the latter, be prepared to show students how to use Microsoft Snipping Tool or to do a screenshot and copy, paste, and crop the emojis.

2. Practice with the site.

3. Make sure that the site is not blocked at your school if you will have the teams do the random generation of emojis using the site.

4. Plan and execute a lesson on how to make writing more descriptive, a grammar lesson that you intend to connect to the activity, or a parts of speech lesson.


1. Open a web browser and navigate to the site

2. Select "Start Over" if the first emoji displayed is not desired. Select "And then" to add a set number of emojis (five for example). 

3. Model the activity as a whole class or show the "Sample of Teams' Emoji Stories" file so that students understand what they are expected to do.

4. Discuss your expectations for team work, such as everyone must participate, and provide phrases for teamwork (such as expressions for agreeing or politely disagreeing, for example).

5. Once teams have their set of emojis, give them a time limit for writing their stories (5 - 10 minutes, depending on your students' level).

6. Circulate as teams are writing to give feedback, answer questions, and check on progress.

7. When time is up, teams rotate their stories to another team. Give those teams time to view the emojis and to read what the other team has written. Then give teams a set time to add details to the first story.

8. Repeat for however many desired rounds (three rounds is a good minimum).

9. Collect all teams' work. Read (or have teams read) the first sentence/story and last and discuss what details were added and how the story was improved or changed.

Teacher Tips

Teams could also work together to generate the emoji and then copy them into a word-processing or slideshow file. Teams could be required to use a specific verb tense that has been studied (such as simply present or simple past) or a certain number of parts of speech if they have been taught (such as 5 nouns, three adjectives, and two adverbs).

More Ways

Teachers can project the random emoji generator and add an emoji one by one as individuals, pairs, or teams of students write a story adding a new twist with each new emoji. The same process could be used for impromptu storytelling.

Program Areas

  • ESL: English as a Second Language
  • ASE: High School Equivalency Preparation
  • ASE: High School Diploma


  • Intermediate Low
  • Intermediate High
  • Beginning Low
  • Beginning High
  • Advanced

Lesson Plan


Start with the following sentence projected or written on the board:

The man walked in the park.

Ask students to take 5 - 10 minutes to draw a picture illustrating the sentence. After time is up, have students share their pictures with the class. Note the variety of illustrations and as you show them, add descriptive words to draw students' attention to how, given so few descriptive details, the sentence was interpreted in many different ways.


Show students a few emojis, some common and some less well-known. Ask students to tell what they emoji represents or symbolizes. Tell students that they are going to work on writing more descriptive prose based on random emojis by adding in adjectives and adverbs.


Model the activity. Open a web browser on a computer and navigate to the Random Emoji Generator. Project onto a screen. Select the "And then" button until you have the desired number of emojis.

Working together as a class but starting the class off thinking aloud, first name what the emojis represent and write them on the board or type into a word-processing program. Then start off the story, eliciting ideas from the class. At this point, do not push the class to be overly descriptive. Just elicit one or two sentences. Then go further by asking questions such as "What kind of...? What does it look like?" - questions that elicit numbers, opinions about the appearance or quality, size, age, shape, color, origin, material, purpose, method or manner, frequency, etc. Add these words to the original sentence. Ask students which sentence was more interesting - the first sentence or the second with the added descriptive details and why.


In small groups, either distribute a unique random emoji story you have generated from the site (as in Sample Story Prompts document) and have taken a screenshot of it and copied it onto a Word-processing file and printed it out or into a shared Google Doc or Google Slide. 

In round 1, each team writes two or three sentences about their story. Give a set time limit.

In round 2, each team rotates their emoji story and the story they have written that accompanies it to another team. The next team adds more details to the other team's story. They may add more sentences, as well.

Round 3 repeats.

You may choose to add more rounds.

After the activity has finished, collect the teams' work.


Show each team's random emoji story. Then read the first story each team produced and the last team's work to compare. You may choose to have the class vote on the most descriptive emoji story. 


Students will be able to write class assignments, such as sentences, paragraphs, essays, and reports with more detail, as well as be more descriptive in writing tasks in their everyday lives.



  • Language Arts - Writing
    • Language Facility
    • Organization of Ideas


  • Reading
    • CCR Anchor 4 - Interpret words and phrases as they are used in a text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning or tone.
  • Writing
    • CCR Anchor 3 - Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details and well-structured event sequences.
    • CCR Anchor 4 - Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.
    • CCR Anchor 5 - Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach.
  • Speaking and Listening
    • CCR Anchor 1 - Prepare for and participate effectively in a range of conversations and collaborations with diverse partners, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.
  • Language
    • CCR Anchor 1 - Demonstrate command of the conventions of English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • CCR Anchor 2 - Demonstrate command of the conventions of English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • CCR Anchor 3 - Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.


Grammar, Speaking, Writing, adverbs, collaborative, descriptive, grammar, writing, parts of speech, random emoji generator, teamwork, verb tenses, writing, emoji, adjectives


Byrdseed Random Emoji Generator

Creative Commons License

CC BY-SA:This license allows reusers to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format, so long as attribution is given to the creator. The license allows for commercial use. If you remix, adapt, or build upon the material, you must license the modified material under identical terms.
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN220124 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.