with Michelle Cameron
Getting to Know You: Story Magic
What a great start to the session! I really enjoyed meeting your young writers and learning about their summer vacations, favorite books, and the fact that so many of them have great story ideas.
To get us started, I asked a number of questions. They wrote the answers down (sometimes with help – thanks so much, Kim!) and then we shared them. Here was what I asked:
1. What color is your toothbrush?
2. What is your favorite food?
3. How many pairs of shoes do you have?
4. What is your favorite animal – real or imagined?
5. What name do you wish your parents had given you?
6. If you could go anywhere – on earth, in outer space, an imaginary place – where would you go?
7. When you knew you were starting a writing class today, how did you feel?
8. What’s your favorite toy?
9. What’s your favorite thing to do?
10. What’s the best way to capture a dragon?
Have them show you their answers and you’ll see why I’m so excited to work with them. Their imaginations are on over-drive – exactly the way they should be, at their age.
We took my answers (which I was jotting down on the whiteboard as we talked) and made a story out of the resulting words. I did my best to pull them away from being too literal (just because my toothbrush is red and white, it doesn’t mean we need to include a toothbrush in the story!) and encouraged them to think nutty.
Some of them wrote complete stories, while others just got started on theirs. Both results are fine. Children (and adults) write at different speeds and the worst thing to do to a slow writer is to push them to hurry up. I did ask those who just started stories to work on them over the week. Those children that did finish their stories have been challenged to write a brand new one, using the same words. Parents, please help them both rethink their word lists as well as scribe for those who need it. Our philosophy at The Writers Circle is that we don’t want the mechanics of writing to slow down the children’s imagination and enthusiasm.
Of course we shared what they wrote and I let them know that they need to start off from the positive when talking about anyone’s work. I already see that they are good listeners.
Finally, each child has been given two index cards to collect two “red” words this week. I was pleasantly astonished that they’re already considering emotions as well as concrete words – when I asked for examples of red words, they volunteered angry and mad, as well as apple and blood. If they’d like, they can list all the red words they like in their notebooks and just give me their two favorites next week.
I hope they enjoyed the class as much as I did! See you next week!