April 10, 2012

Story Cubes!

 Before I get started telling you about the most awesome literacy game EVER, I have to share a little story from yesterday's trip to the contractor's showroom.  This, my friends, is why I love Joe so much (well, one of the many reasons).  We had just picked out the finish for our cabinets and walked around with our cabinet door to find the perfectly matching slab of granite.   With all of that picked out, the last thing to determine was the kind of sink we wanted and honestly, I have no opinions about sinks.  None.  And Joe seemed to care, so I went over and wrote checks for deposits while Joe and the counter top guy talked sinks.  Joe fell in love with one, which the guy pointed out was a bit more expensive because it was hammered out by hand.  Joe said, "We're not exactly by hand people.  You don't need to look up the price.  If it was made by hand, it's not in our range."  The guy said, "Well, if it's the shape that you like, we have this one, which is always our favorite choice."  Joe liked the one he pointed out, but rather than saying, "I like it!"  he said, "Well, you should get something you like too, so we'll take it!"  The men all looked like this was the craziest thing they'd ever heard.  Then Joe then turned to the cabinet guy and said, "What about you?  You should get something you want too!  Anything you want in our kitchen?"  I have never heard such uncomfortable laughter.  "Umm, no sir.  I'm good."  It was hilarious!  Having known Joe a while now, I knew he was just being funny, but I'm pretty sure those guys thought he was being serious.  They kept shooting each other looks like This guy is crazy!  Joe and I had just been talking a few days before about how people here don't really joke much and so they're never sure what to do when you make a joke.  These people couldn't even identify the joke and so it was all the more funny watching them look so uncomfortable.  Joe never did tell them he was kidding.  Just left it at that.  I could have died with laughter!  I laughed all the way home.  I love that man!  After all this time, he still keeps me cracking up!  Can't ask for much more than that!  Honestly, I'd rather have a husband who can make me laugh than anything else in the world.  Never a dull moment with this guy!

Okay...on to Story Cubes!  Am I the last person on earth to have heard of these?  They are awesome!  I saw them at Red Balloon and sent the Easter Bunny back to snag some for Haven's Easter basket.  I honestly thought Haven would see this as a thinly veiled attempt at sneaking education into a holiday, but he genuinely loves them and Hannah Jane and Hunter have begged to use them too.  It's 9 cubes with different pictures on each side.  There are endless ways to use them, but the gist of it is that you roll them and make up a story using the pictures.

This morning we started our school time off with a few turns of Story Cubes.  Hunter was angry that he couldn't just turn them to the pictures for the best story he had made up with them thus far, and repeat that one since it was such a gem.  But I made him roll and be creative.  When he finally stopped whining about the good story he came up with last time, his story went a little something like, "Once upon a time I was walking and I saw a pyramid, an alien, a bridge, a set of scales, and a fish.  The end."  Not very creative, but I get that he was angry and this was his mini rebellion.  Haha!  I've seen worse, so I was happy to get the list of things he saw on his walk instead of a cube in the ear.  This was really a subdued response for him when he's not getting his way.

Page 1 of 2 in Haven's grand adventure

Once Hunter got started on his book work, Haven and I sat down with a plan for using these little cubes for a real, week long literacy lesson.  First he narrated a story from the cubes, which I wrote down word for word, skipping lines on the page as I wrote.  Then I read it back to him and asked him to tell me extra details about parts of the story.  I wrote in his details in the spaces I had left between the lines.  By the end, his story was really great!  

Tomorrow we'll talk a little bit about story elements of setting, characters, tension and resolution and we'll identify those, see how we can enhance them, and then I'll type up his story on the bottom half of several pages and he can illustrate it.  I think this will be a real blast.  When it's all said and done, I'll share it here.

When Hannah Jane came downstairs after finishing her math, she had a go with the story cubes as well.  Her story amounted to a paragraph, so we'll go through the same steps of elaborating and adding details for the week too and see what we get by the end of the week.

For Hunter, I'll probably let him go back and find the pictures from what he thinks was the best story he's ever come up with and let him work with that for the week.  There's no reason to force spontaneity if he's already got a story he's proud of.  We'll work that story until it shines and save the spontaneous creativity for another time. 

These are the coolest little things I've ever found.  And how often can you pull off a language lesson as a gift and not get a nasty look?  They are a hoot! 

1 comment:

  1. The biggest part of a kitchen remodelling project will be the kitchen countertops. But there are ways to update your cabinets without spending a fortune.


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