Seeing pictures of Miss Emily on June Sproat's last blog reminded me of the Wild Writer's Workshop we held at the library last week. This wasn't a workshop for adults but for kids; we hosted one for Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd graders and another for 3rd-5th graders.
The first and most important question I asked them was, "Did you bring your imagination with you today?" They all asured me they had. And boy, were they right about that.
The premise was they worked in teams of four and were to pretend to be TV writers coming up with a new idea for a show. We had a 3-ring binder for each team with questions to help them along with their planning. Our high school/college librarians helped each group by serving as secretaries. We had a glossary in the binders to help with unfamiliar words like scenario, plot, resolution, conflict, etc. To the kids, the glossary was better than a candy store. All were excited to learn new words. One little boy said, "I love glossaries." Several others commented, shaking their heads very seriously saying, "Oh, yeah. They're so cool."
Another tool we provided to stimulate their enthusiasm although they really didn't need it was chances to pull from our scenario jar, character jar and action jar. These were situations or types of characters to help them along in developing their storyline. They had to use at least one from each jar. They were silly and didn't go together in the least but the kids had a great time creating their stories, deciding what happened when and how and why.
Once they had worked their way through to the resolution, these kids were so totally emersed in their TV show they far exceeded our expectations of what a group of young kids could do. Each group was ready to produce their show! The best we could do was have them deliver their proposal to a panel of producers (aka) parents and fellow librarians.
As each child departed for the day, we handed out little notebooks and pencils to encourage our young writers to keep using their imagination. I'm not sure which was a bigger hit, the notebooks or the suckers! Both were received with enthusiasm.
I've always been a bit worried about kids not having enough chances to develop their imagination in today's technical thumb-moving, brain-numbing world, but I no longer harbor that fear. Our Wild Writers Workshop set all my fears aside. The new generation of writers is going to do just fine. They will be better than fine, they will blow us away with their creations!
Til next time ~