with Michelle Cameron
Character, Part Two - Plus Dialogue
The action words everyone brought in were excellent. I asked the kids to either jump or do cartwheels at lunch. Did anyone?
This week we started off by reading the stories that they began in class last week. A number of them were inspired by movies or books – particularly Frozen and Harry Potter. While I’d prefer they came up with original stories, I never tell them that – and hope you don’t, either. In fact, I always liken derivative work to artists who set up easels in museums, learning from the great masters. And I always remind myself that my early inspiration was highly derivative as well. So if that’s where their imaginations go, ask them where they’ve contributed their own bent to the story. It’s always interesting to see how they put their own stamp on retread stories.
Today we started by reading “Mister Lucky Straw,” a story from a collection of Japanese Children’s Favorite Stories. The children recognized that the story hinged on Mister Lucky Straw’s generosity and kindness – and that if he were mean or stingy, the story would have fallen apart.
Then we began to create a play. Each student picked a specific character puppet. Each of the puppets has a unique personality which can be perceived by their appearance. We named each one and ascribed personal attributes to them:
The challenge – and a hard one for many of the kids – was to not only stay in character, but to be responsible for only their character. In fact, it was so hard for them that at one point I had them trade characters, to give them a chance to be responsible for a different character.
Here is the play we wrote (with thanks to Kim for scribing for us).
Scene One: The Preschool Classroom
Scene Two: The Playground
Scene Three: End of the Day
Missy (in squeaky voice): Goodbye!
Duncan: See ya, dudes.
Lila (insincerely): See you tomorrow, Missy.
Charlie: Do we have any homework?
Allie (talks on the phone as she walks out the door).
Billy: Homework? We’re in preschool. Are you an idiot?
Duncan: Chill out, dudes!
We then read the play in parts and gave ourselves a well-deserved round of applause.
This week’s word collection should be house words. Many of the writers have left us with cliff hangers on their stories. Please have them continue writing.
When we come back from the Columbus Day break, we’re going to Set Sail on imaginary voyages. If anyone has a box big enough for the kids to sit in one at a time, can you bring it in? If we have more than one, that would be ideal. See you all in two weeks!