Like many picture book writers, I make a lot of visits to nurseries and schools, and I often use a picture book as the basis of a workshop to inspire children to come up with their own stories.
I've recently been working in parallel with poet Chrissie Gittins in Sandown Primary school, helping children to create their own stories and poems to exhibit for the Tell me a Story festival that took place this week in Deal, Kent, sponsored by the Astor Theatre.
I used different picture books to inspire work from all the year groups in the school, but for this post, I'll stick with Reception. That's Reception in the UK system - they're a year younger than Reception in the USA. At this end of the school year, some are just beginning to write a word or two, but mostly they record their ideas in drawings – and they all love the idea of being authors and illustrators.
First, I read one of the Gilbert stories and we admired the wonderful illustrations by Charles Fuge, with the children identifying lots of sea creatures and getting ideas for what other things might be under the sea.
Then I introduced the idea of the class having a submarine adventure. I put a simple submarine shape made from paper tablecloth and sugar paper on the carpet and talked them through getting into the submarine. We set off (making chugging propeller noises) on our exciting journey…
The children each drew a porthole to show their ideas (real and surreal) about what they might see on their journey.
a sticky session with paper plates and craft materials is fun.
The children put their portholes on the submarine and I told the story (complete with joining-in sound effects) of the class journey, pacing the exciting bits - a giant sea monster tentacle slaps agains the porthole…aargh!
Each child then recorded their own submarine adventure in words and/or pictures in their Captain's Log - a small pre-made book.
We all had lots of fun.
Thanks and congratulations to the young authors and illustrators for their fabulous imaginations and work, and to their teachers and parents for permission to the pictures .
Please feel free to to use and adapt the idea.