A story about a Walrus

walrus brainstorm

Well, this blog post is a little delayed. Okay, a lot delayed. Between re-releasing Heart Like an Ocean, editing Embraced by the Ocean, editing for a customer, and, well... other projects... blogging just did not happen. But, since I promised a blog post about the writing workshop I did recently, here it is.

This is the second year I went to this school to do a writing workshop. I went a year ago to talk to grade 7s and 11s about writing and decided that there's nothing more boring than having someone just stand up there and talk... so we did a writing workshop. You can read about there HERE.

Anyway, on to this year.

So, once again, I went in to do a writing workshop with the grade 7s and 11s. This time, it was the first class of the day--I don't know about you, but my brain is not fully functioning at 9 am. I need a LOT more coffee before I'm ready to really think. But I figured it'd be no big deal. Brainstorming a story with a group of kids isn't that hard. Yeah... until they give you the word "walrus" as your starting point.

I debated asking for a new word... after all, I hadn't had nearly enough coffee to work with the word "walrus", but I also didn't want to discourage the enthusiasm of the student. After all, I was there to encourage and facilitate writing, not create the story I wanted to create.

So, we went with "walrus". The grade 7s seemed to have a blast with it. I really had to direct the brainstorming and ask some questions to keep them on point, but the imagination in these kids was fun and infectious.

In the end, when they read off stories, it was neat to see the strengths in each kids' writing. One girl had great characterization--she really focused on his wants and needs. Another had a fantastic grasp of active sentences. Other's told a story in just a few short sentences. Some only got an opening scene written. 

One of my favorite things about doing these workshops is seeing and hearing the different approaches to a story, even when we all brainstormed it together. Just goes to show that even though a story could have the same premise, everyone is going to tell it differently.

The one downside to this workshop was that the grade 11s weren't nearly as excited about working with "walrus" as the grade 7s were. When you have two drastically different ages together, I think that's bound to happen sometimes. Especially since I prefer to have the students give me a word, rather than me feed them one. I want them to know how to create  a story (short or long), article, essay...etc... off of a single theme or word. Walrus was a challenge, but we managed to create some fun and amusing stories out of it. 

If you're a teacher and interested in having me come and do a workshop in your class, please don't hesitate to ask. The easiest way to contact me is through my booking page.