When my children were small we would do add-a-line stories at a meal, in the car or if we were waiting somewhere. Someone would start a story. (You know, the once-upon-a-time kind of story).
Me: Once upon a time there was a family of owls living in the forest.
Daughter: They played hide and seek with the other birds. And then…
Son: they saw a fire breathing dragon. The owls were afraid because …
Daughter: they didn’t like fire, but the dragon’s fire was all used up. So…
Son: The dragon went to the evil witch to see if she could help him. And..
You get the point. My son was always adding the danger and my daughter trying to fix it!
Recently I read Sam & Eva by Debbie Ridpath Ohi, (Simon & Schuster, 2017) and was reminded of this game. In the book Sam is drawing when Eva joins him. He doesn’t want Eva to draw with him and so begins a drawing battle, as they keep changing the story with their drawings. When Eva’s Marmot is a superhero with a rocket, Sam’s velociraptor shoots lightning out of his eyes. Eventually even the text is being amended by Sam or Eva to change the story. A falling piano becomes confetti which becomes exploding confetti. Eva decides she doesn’t want to draw, but then things get out of hand for Sam as the drawings seem to take over, so Eva draws them a way out. And then it begins again!
While Sam & Eva are telling their story with drawings, I think add-a-line stories are a fun activity for home or the classroom. Maybe a big blank sheet of paper on the bulletin board each week with a story start and students can add to it. Collected over the school year they could be illustrated (maybe in art class), copied and students could go home with a book of stories they helped create! (Of course you might need some ground rules!)
Find lots of Debbie’s amazing “doodles” at Inkyelbows . They will inspire the artists in the room!
4 thoughts on “And then…”
We did this at home and school, too. As my students got older we passed a paper around and each student added a line in writing.
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I like the idea of passing a paper around. You could even have groups of students with the same story start and see how the stories that each group comes up with differ.
I love how Debbie uses “found” objects to create her art. She is so inspiring!
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She is amazing! I love how Charles Schulz and the way he was able to make such expressive faces with a few lines. I have the same feeling with Debbie’s work.