Story Writing

I recently ran a series of story writing workshops for children between the ages of seven and ten.

The challenge I set was to design a series of characters around fruit and vegetables and to use these characters in a short story that a very young child (aged about two or three) would enjoy.

The first workshop centred on looking at picture books designed for younger children. We disused the language, the use of rhyme and repetition and the use of illustrations to help tell the story.

During the second workshop the children drew and described their characters using pencil crayons.

The third workshop was about writing an introduction.

The fourth and fifth workshop covered the development of the plot.

The sixth workshop was about writing a good conclusion.

The seventh workshop concentrated on illustration.

During the eighth and ninth workshop we published our stories using the ‘Book Creator’ app.

The tenth and last workshop gave everyone the opportunity to share their story to the rest of the group.

In order to guide the children through the whole story writing and illustrating process I followed the challenge myself and during the ten week period wrote five stories myself about the little folk who lived on ‘ Five a Day Hill’

The illustrations of all five books are in Pencil Crayon as this was the medium used by the children during the workshops. It is also the medium available in most homes. One of the books also uses digital images created using free apps easily manipulated by seven year olds.

You can listen to the narrated story of PEDRO PEAR using the link below. I chose this story because it was and still is, one of my granddaughter Maia’s favourite. (Aged three).

She loves joining in with the many repetitions especially the ‘BOO’ and ‘YIKES’!!

LINK TO THE NARRATED STORY OF PEDRO PEAR

Learning about Lizard

Today we saw a lizard in our little garden. She was very active and very healthy. But, a year ago we found one in our cantina. She wasn’t very well at all. We christened her ‘Little LIZZIE Lizard’.

Read on to find out what happened.

Yesterday we found this little lizard in our cantina and it wasn’t very well. We called it Little Lizzie Lizard!

She looked so thin and lifeless and so dull that we were really afraid she would  die but we were determined to do our best and try to help her.  First we needed to find out some facts about lizards.  We have shared them and the story of Little Lizzie Lizard below.


Some Lizard Facts!

Lizards belong to an animal class called REPTILES.
Reptiles (with a few exceptions) are cold-blooded animals which lay eggs. They have a backbone, four legs and are covered in scales.   Lizards can be found all over the world except at the North and South Poles.

 Can you guess why? 

There are over 3,000 different types of lizards and they come in all sorts of shapes, colours and sizes! The smallest measures a tiny 7cms whereas the largest, the Komodo Dragon can reach lengths of 3 metres.
Lizards have four legs each with five little toes and they are very fast runners and very good at climbing. They also have a very long tail part of which can detach itself if a predator grabs hold! The lizard then grows another one!

They are insectivores which means that they eat only insects but some of the larger ones are carnivores and eat small animals,
Most lizards live in trees or under rocks and are more active at night. During the day they like to sunbathe!

 Why?? .
Well, it has something to do with the fact they aren’t found at the North or South Poles !!
Do you know what the climate is like at the poles?
Yes! Ice and snow and VERY cold.
You and I and all mammals like dogs and cats and rabbits and mice and horses are warm bloodied which means we are able to control our body temperature. To keep it the same even when the temperature outside changes. But reptiles and that includes lizards, are cold bloodied which means that they can’t control their body temperature. So they need to sunbathe to warm up!

This is why our little lizard was so poorly when we found her.   She had been locked in a cold underground room with no sun and was very, very cold.  She was also very dehydrated which means her  body was lacking in water and dehydration is very serious.  We couid tell she was poorly because she was so happy to be handled and that is NOT normal.   The poor thing hadn’t the energy to run away!


So!  The Jumbles came to the rescue!!

We had to warm her up and re-hydrate her which means we had to make sure she drank some water.  We held her near a bowl of water and were really pleased because she started to lap it up !

Then we found a nice big bowl and popped her in with a shallow bowl of water and then we put it in a nice warm spot outside but not in direct sunlight because it is VERY hot here at the moment.  We also gave her a little box just in case she wanted to hide!


Then we left her in peace but kept checking every hour.

After about four hours Lizzie Lizard was looking very different. More alert and a much better colour !  So we put a few ants and maggots into the bowl to tempt her to eat.  The DOG BISCUIT was not for Lizzie Lizard! It was just a quick way to catch some insects and transport to the bowl !


By the following morning Lizzie Lizard  was anxious to get out and, instead if wanting to be handled she ran off when we tried to touch her !

That was a good sign Lizzie was feeling normal again.

It was time to let her out !


And that’s what we did!

It was such a great feeling to have helped an animal back to health and to return it to the wild.

Video of Little Lizzie Lizard’s recovery!

Rainbow Coloured Flowers

Georgie had a surprise at Rome airport yesterday when she came face to face with a Christmas Tree multicoloured just like her! Here she is with Paolo and Ruben from UNICEF.

Then we saw this cake in patisserie Glacé in the Marina Bay Link Mall, Singapore so now you know where the JUMBLES are visiting. Yes, it’s Singapore!

So it was RAINBOWS everywhere!

For a fun rainbow activity see the link below.

Fast, simple and fun investigation to do at home. All you need is a plate, milk, liquid soap and food colouring.

Be warned that food colouring stains everything including fingers. In the video I use my finger to apply the soap because it’s easier to film.  You may want to use a cotton wool bud instead!

Hands! New Sunday Challenge

Hands may look boring but just look what you can make with them!

With a little practice, young children given a chunky pencil, felt tip or crayon can draw around their hand. They will find it even easier to draw round yours.

The outlines can then be coloured or patterned and cut out to,make collages or funny people, creatures, trees or flowers. There’s no end to the creativity.

Older children can be challenged to find a different way to texture each of the fingers.

Progress from drawing round a normal hand-spread to moving some of the fingers to suggest dogs, rabbits etc. Just like when you use your hands to make shadows on the wall.

This is a fun family activity which can be adapted to suit all ages and abilities.

It improves hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills and creative thinking.

Why is it important to develop a child’s creativity? 


Why is it important to develop a child’s creative thinking skills? 

Because creative thinking is probably the most important skill they will ever learn!
Developing creative thinking is about developing self esteem and self confidence. It is about developing a love of learning. Of having the means to deal with the confusion, risks and failures that are part of everyday life. The confidence to lead and to be different from the crowd.

I believe that all children are creative by nature but, unfortunately, many lose their creativity before reaching adulthood. In our education and social system where examination success and conformity reigns supreme, creativity seems to have been forgotten.

Creative thinking is vital in all areas of life. It is a skill which will give your children the edge over others in their chosen career enabling them to be the person who initiates new procedures rather than one of the majority who follow already established routines. It opens the door to new opportunities and new inventions.

It also makes a person interesting! Ensures they are never bored ! Someone who is popular socially and is capable of meaningful and long lasting relationships. 

So how do we recognise a creative thinker
A creative thinker is able to think out of the box. They are curious and questioning and not afraid of making crazy suggestions knowing that there may be many possible answers. They make mistakes and learn from these mistakes being happy to try and try again. Creative thinkers don’t feel guilty about daydreaming knowing that often this is when the best ideas are born and when they realise these new ideas they will push them to their limits. They are optimistic, have boundless energy and, despite accomplishing a great deal, still have free time to enjoy their family and hobbies. Last, but not least. They are never bored!

My  Free ‘ Jumble Fun’ learning programme aims at developing creative thinking by: 

Asking Open ended questions

The stories include open ended questions. You are encouraged to ask questions which require more than a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. “What do you think we should use to make …?” “what would happen if …?” “What couid we change…..?

Making choices

The programme encourages children to make their own choices. To make decisions and try them out. If their choices fail to achieve the desired result they are encouraged to try again.  From this they learn to view making mistakes as a new beginning and not as a failure or the end of a 

Story telling and dramatic play

There are opportunities for children to make their own ‘Jumbles’ and to weave stories around them. 

Inventing

The ‘Jumble’ characters enjoy inventing things from well, …… jumble! In other words, from ordinary, everyday household items and objects they can collect in their local environment. Using the characters as inspiration and role models, children will become collectors and inventors, viewing ordinary objects as blank canvasses on which to stamp their own individuality

Fun ! 

The JUMBLES are fun and they encourage your child to have fun being creative and being active rather than passive.  

Enjoy