Writing from someone else’s viewpoint can be difficult. We see everything through our filter and may have a hard time grasping what anyone else would think of a particular event or experience. Yesterday my summer school students started working on their main characters for their novels. I selected our writing warm up knowing I wanted something that would leave them thinking about a character’s viewpoint.
I ended up using a video I had seen shared multiple times over the past few days: That of a cat showing up unexpectedly during a flight of small aircraft. Unsurprisingly, many of the students chose to write from the cat’s point of view. The cat was anything from a sleepy stowaway to a spy on a mission. Perceived emotions on the cat’s part ranged from excitement to terror. A few kids chose to write from the pilot’s perspective.
Today is the last day of the week for the class, and I’m excited to see where the stories they started to go as well as to decipher where my take on the video is going.
Today marks the first day of summer school in my district, which offers a variety of enrichment classes in addition to skill-building classes. This summer I have the privilege to teach a class based on National Novel Writing Month’s Young Writer Program (http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/).
Each day we are going to start with a writing warm up. In addition to writing prompts in the form of story starters or illustrations, we are also going to a use a variety of creative games to get our ideas flowing. One of these games is Rory’s Story Cubes. (https://www.storycubes.com/)
While there are several different games to play with these image-laden dice, my favorite is to have students roll for stories. I have them get into pairs. Each partner takes turns rolling the dice. They then have to tell a short story using all the pictures that come up on their roll. For those new to the game, I might have them start with four or five dice rather than the full set of nine. For an extra challenge, I have students add expansion dice to their games.
Story Cubes come in three sets: the original, Actions and Voyages. My favorite set is the Actions one as characters get into quite the predicaments. The sets are color coordinated, which assists in clean up when you have multiple sets in play between the different story groups.Mini-expansions called Mix Sets are available, such as Clues or Enchantment. These sets allow the stories to become a bit more genre specific in their prompting. The stories that result are bound to have both your students and you laughing. Ios and Android apps also available, which gives you access to the original and the Actions cubes with the entry level price (https://www.storycubes.com/apps). Expansions are available as in-app purchases.
One thing I found helpful with playing Story Cubes is to have the groups spread out well and to play on the floor rather than on the table tops. For younger players, you might want to consider this homemade dice roller (http://www.parenthacks.com/2012/09/dice-roller.html).