Monday, April 25, 2011


I don't know if you experience this, too, but it seems that when you become aware of something new, you begin to see reminders of it EVERYWHERE!  For instance, you've recently peed on a stick and two blue lines appear in the little window (oh my!); from that moment forward everything and anything remotely related to pregnancy catches your eye, including all the pregnant animals at the zoo.  Pregnant people or babies pop out of every nook and cranny, you glance up just in time to see a baby jogger rolling by in front of a huffing mama, the color pink suddenly becomes's just a phenomenon that I've noticed with all sorts of topics!  If I'm interested in a Subaru, I start to notice them all over the road in all manner of colors and styles.  Prior to that I never paid them any heed.  It's like your brain throws a switch and you suddenly see!  Does this ever happen to you?  I think it's weird.  Not saying I'm pregnant!  That's merely an example to get my point across.  Really. 

What I am becoming more and more aware of lately is information and materials to help teach a bouncing kinesthetic learner all sorts of things from world history to math to writing and more.  You know you have a kinesthetic learner if he or she has a hard time sitting still with pen in hand.  While helping him sort out the directions to an assignment your happy little kinesthetic child vaults from his chair to "go get something".  He returns a moment later with his rubber sword and a cape, stuff he says he needs to complete the assignment that you have so diligently planned out the night before.  You had intended that he'd sit at the table quietly and his little hand would craftily wield the pen, creating a mighty hand-written story replete with stunning character development, witty verbal exchanges, titillating plot sequences and a nicely wrapped up moral lesson that executes itself exquisitely in the last sentence.

Instead, your brave little swordsman leaps into action to slay the invisible dragons in the living room, the ones belching fire from behind the couch, the ones that apparently you can't see, but they are going to set the curtains on fire any second.  He insists that the house must be saved and he is the only one to do it!  You are left standing next to the table holding the pen, a bit bewildered about how he slipped out of the writing assignment.  Again.

Well, you have a couple of options.  You could grab your laptop and join your little knight in the living room and ask him to narrate his story, capturing his skill and prowess while faced with a fire-breathing beast surely set to gobble him up at any second.  You could video tape his play and have him watch it later while he narrates what happened.  You could also let him play out his dragon theme for awhile and then call him back to the table to play a very fun game called Create-A-Story!

I think I need this game or I need to design one like it and use it.  Max hates to write and he's clever at coming up with ways to avoid it.  During game play players work their way around the board and pick up story cards that provide the characters, plot, dialogue, moral or lesson, problem, resolution, ending, etc.  Then you use the handy outlines that are provided to help organize your very silly story and make it work.  It seems that humor surely comes in handy during this game, of course.  At the end of the game, the child writes out his story and hopefully it wasn't too agonizing for him to do so!

Stuff like this is popping up all over my radar screen, which is great.  I obviously need to pay attention and to continue to seek and find.  Maybe you've got a little dragon-slayer lurking in your household, too?  Let him wear his cape, brandish his sword  and try games like Create-A-Story to help make the learning stuff fun and more aligned to his style.  It might just be the best thing ever!

NOTE AT A LATER DATE:  I ended up purchasing this board game and we've had it out to play it.  Fun!  Challenging, too.  We giggled several times as we drew our characters and descriptors and tried to fit them together in our outlines.  Getting Max to do the outline was easy and I saw him think through several possible scenarios.  He wasn't so excited, however, to figure out what happens first, second and third and how to pull it all together into a story, so I wrote the first one.  He loved it - it was about a mummy getting to meet the president at an amusement park on the hottest day of the century.  We'll continue to work with this game; the important thing is that he gets a feel for elements in a story and how to tie them together.  It's tricky sometimes to wrap up a story neatly with the resolution and lesson!  Fun game, though.


  1. I have seen this game and considered it too. Both of my children are reluctant writers but make up many stories verbally. Just wasn't sure how much we would like it.

  2. Hi Martha -

    I'm sure we could figure out a way to make a game like this that could work for our kids - maybe using index cards, some dice and some fancy ideas? I know what you mean. Sometimes I get all excited about a new thing and Max turns up his nose at it! Maybe just helping them learn how to construct a story is what matters instead of having them actually apply it to paper. That can come later. Best wishes!


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