I’m at Charlie Lake in British Columbia, Canada, working as a writer-in-residence for a whole week at the elementary school here. This is my third or fourth time having come to this school and it’s absolutely a wonderful experience to be able to roll up my sleeves and work with the same group of kids for an extended period of times. It’s also gratifying to see kids from years past and see how their imaginations and interests have grown.
It’s a great format that has been established at the school. I do one focused workshop with each division. Then, in the afternoons I get to work with two separate pull out groups that are comprised of the kids who are most interested in writing.
For my morning sessions, I worked with a grade one class using keys as inspiration for stories. Each of them got to select a key and then imagine what that key would be used for. Some students decided it was for doors. Others decided it was to operate a magical vehicle. Still others, decided it was to operate a robot!
For the next group, a K-1 mix, we designed enchanted trees. The main task here was to try and get the students to think about all the wonderful things that a tree can grow. After they had designed their specific trees, they had to think about a character who would try and pick the magic “something” from the tree. Finally, they had to imagine a problem that might arise along the way.
Finally, for my pull0ut groups, we made monster bottles. I’ve done this a few times recently, but I can’t seem to get enough of it, since it is so much fun and leads to such great story starters.
In this activity, the kids make the bottle and then imagine that a character has purchased it from “The Monster Magic Shop.” The bottle comes with a set of instructions (that each student has to write). Then, they get to work on the story and imagine what would happen if the character doesn’t follow the instructions exactly.
Here’s all the bottles and ingredients lined up and ready to go. (The table looked like it had been torn apart by rabid wolverines when all was said and done.)
And here are just a few of the photos of the monster bottles. We made almost a hundred of them today, so there was no way I could snap photos of them all!