Category Archives: Building a Story

September 15, 2016

My Boyfriend!

not-mr-cleanI love Mr. Sketch.  Given the choice between Mr. Sketch and Mr. Clean, duh, Mr. Sketch hands down.  Apparently my Mr. Sketch love has not gone unnoticed by my students.  One of my students drew a happy, green Mr. Sketch marker as a possible character.  Because I need to feel a good deal of love for whatever we are talking about, in order to make the story take off, of course I seized on this amazing gift for our first story of the year!  Part One is here and Part Two is here.

I spent too much time on the exposition – the Who.  My Story Driver needs to drive me harder, I see.  The Story Driver is the best thing to ever happen to me, when it is working well!  It is SO EASY without that job for us to just talk and talk, losing kids’ interest.  Even though I am firmly committed to making the story zip along and have pontificated about that at great length, it is so easy to slip into the cozy sound of my own voice.  Getting that Story Driver to drive me to go in a zippier fashion is going to be my job Tuesday when we do another story.  Monday we will write this story up and therefore the next time I need the Story Driver will be Tuesday.

Gist of the story (only got to one location because of the aforementioned Story Driver issue):  There’s a marker named Mr. Sketch.  She is a woman with the name Mr.  She loves kindergarten rooms.  She is in Forest Park in Portland with a kindergartener.  This kid is naughty.  He screams in class.  He throws markers.  They are on the top of a tall hill in Forest Park.  He screams, “I want to throw you!”  He throws her.

It would have been fun to see where she landed but class was over.

The problem popped up in the addition of the kindergartener.  Of course he had to be a naughty boy!  And there they were on top of a tall hill.  Perfect.  Second character plus location made the problem appear.


September 12, 2016

Pulling out of the Station and Riding the Rails to Storytown

Today in French 2 (second semester of first year, eighth grade) we pulled out of the One Word Image station and started our little CI train down the tracks to Storytown.  We did not get all the way there because the period ended, but we did get a nice little vignette going:  a magic rainbow-colored tiny pig who could only speak English, not Pig, was at the Théâtre Argentina in Buenos Aires with his girlfriend, a fox.  However, since the fox only spoke Pig and the pig only spoke English, miscommunication and heartbreak ensued (hey, kids, this is why you need languages!)

In this video, you will hear the class using actors.  They are sitting off-camera on little stools.  The stools are not too high nor too low.  You will see me encouraging the actors to parrot me, to stay in synch with my words, and act like puppets or visual aids;  I say that often to my actors.

Sammy the Salad

I love this story.  It was created by the students in my sixth period class back in April using Ben Slavic’s Invisibles, as I was assisting Ben with piloting the approach and writing the book.  The story was really cute.

Había una ensalada, que se llamaba Sammy la Ensalada.  Era una ensalada pero no era una simple ensalada.  Podía hablar y tenía sentimientos.  Pero nadie sabía que no era una simple ensalada.  La gente pensaba que era comida.  Pero en realidad él era un personaje muy importante en el cuento de sexto período.  Vivía en el pelo de Kaitlyn.  Su pelo era castaño.  Sammy era verde.  (Es normal;  ¡era una ensalada!)

Un día, una persona muy mala fue a la escuela.  Se llamaba Sr. Fork.  Tenía hambre.  Mucha hambre.  Quería comer a Sammy.  No sabía que Sammy era un personaje importante.  Pensaba que era una simple ensalada.  Kaitlyn estaba nerviosa y Sammy también.

Kaitlyn tuvo una buena idea.  Fue a un salón de belleza.  El salón se llamaba Hair N’ Stuff.  En el salón había un empleado, un vestidor de pelo, que se llamaba Taryn the Cool Guy.  Kaitlyn le preguntó:  Señor, yo quiero pelo verde.  Un hombre muy malo quiere comer a mi amigo Sammy.  Necesitamos camuflaje.  Necesito pelo verde.

Pero Taryn the Cool Guy no era un simple vestidor de pelo.  Era en realidad un agente secreto.  Trabajaba para Sr. Fork.  Él le llamó por teléfono a Taryn the Cool Guy.  Le dijo:  Señor, Usted tiene mucha hambre y quiere un a ensalada verde.  Tengo una ensalada verde aquí en mi salón.  Voy a tintar el pelo de la chica pero voy a usar un verde diferente.

Taryn the Cool Guy tintó el pelo verde oscuro.  Sr. Fork llegó al salón y comió a Sammy.  Después, comió a Kaitlyn.  Después, comió a Taryn.  Después, comió el salón.

(My kids like sad endings…sorry!)