Children love stories. It is well-known that they learn a lot by listening to well-crafted stories. They can easily associate with various characters and follow the interactions in the story. To boost their creativity you can get children to make stories too. However, starting from a blank page can be daunting. If you just tell a child that it is now his turn to tell you a story, he is unlikely to be able to come up with one.
You will first need to set up the scene and warm the children up. Here is how you can do this.
First you need to get the children excited before getting them to think of making a story. You can also give them visual content so they don’t have to start from a blank page and have something to fall back to. This exercise helps you to do both of these.
Make a story based on a number of pictures from a comic book.
What You Need
A graphical comic. See preparation instructions below for details.
- Find a graphic comic that is suitable for the age group of your audience. Preferably find one that has a clear visual content that can be interpreted in different ways. Ideally, the less text it has, the better.
- Before the course, cut out a number of panels and laminate them. Select panels with detailed visual content both in the foreground and the background. This will help kids to be more creative when going through the exercise.
- The number of panels should be about 50% more than the number of participants. For example if you have 10 kids, you need 15 panels.
Before the Course:
- Just before the kids arrive to the class, place these laminated panels randomly around the class. Place them face down, out of the way and in unusual places. Once kids arrive, instruct them not to touch any of the panels until they are told that can do so.
- Explain that on your mark, they must go around and pick as many panels as they can.
- Start the exercise by saying “go”.
- Expect kids to go around the room and pick up the panels.
- Once all panels are collected, check to see if anyone doesn’t have any panel. If so, get a panel from those who have the most panels. At this point everyone must have at least one panel, but some will have more than one.
- Now explain that we are going to make a story based on the images. Each person has to tell a story based on the image or images they have.
- Get everyone to sit in a circle.
- Now ask for a volunteer to start the story telling.
- Give each person about 2 minutes to tell a story.
- Ask the person on the left of the volunteer to continue the story using his own panel. Ask the participants to connect their story to the story told by the people before them.
- If someone has more than one panel, he has to tell a story based on all panels.
- Continue until everyone has told their stories.
- Follow with a discussion.
Explaining the Exercise: 2 minutes
Activity: 3 min searching for panels + 2 * N min storytelling = 23 minutes for 10 participants
Group Feedback: 10 minutes
What did you think of the story? Do you know the original story of the comic? If so, how do you compare your story to the story of the comic?
To Tutor: Just for fun, if kids don’t know the original story of the comic, you can give a copy of it to them and ask them to read through it. Next, compare the original story with the story they have made together in this exercise. It will be fun to compare these stories but you should also consider teaching them about creative thinking, character development, scene setting and comic art drawing.