I had a lot of fun visiting Grandview Hills Elementary School last week. I got to meet the third-grade classes and their teachers, and we had a good time thinking up story ideas.
I gave my “How to Write an Animal Fable” writing workshop, and during the workshop, after discussing different elements of a fable, we brainstormed and came up with an outline for students to write their own fable. Everyone had a LOT of good ideas that they wanted to share, as you can see from the picture at the left.
There were four big tables of students, so after discussing each story element, like the setting or the character, I gave the students a few minutes to come up with ideas. Then each table shared their favorite idea with everyone else. We wrote all four ideas down on a white board and then the teachers helped by voting on which one they liked best. We got some good results for a possible fable this way, and in case any of the students need a quick reminder of the story plan we made, here it is:
- The Problem: The character always leaves other people out.
- The Lesson: Treat other people the way you would like to be treated.
- The Main Character: A selfish, lazy cat. (There were lots of other personality ideas we thought of for this cat, but I’m only including a few just as a reminder.)
- Another Character who helps the main character learn the lesson: A dog.
- The Setting: A school.
I really like this story idea, because you hardly ever
read about a cat being helped by a dog. It makes me think of all sorts of interesting ways this could happen. I can’t wait to see what kind of stories everyone writes, because in connection with this visit, I am sponsoring my first writing contest for the third-grade students at this school. They can send me an animal fable based on the characters and other details we discussed during my visit, an animal fable they invented all by themselves, or a tall tale, and I will give out a first, second and third prize to the three winning stories.
We had some other interesting suggestions on the supporting characters for this story. One of the ideas was that a whale would help the cat learn its lesson. I’m not sure what kind of school has both whales and cats for students, or how a whale could help a cat, but I do know one thing…there’s got to be a great story that explains how that would work!