Activity: Found Fiction
Objective: Students will use a collection of 8-12 found objects as prompts for writing a story or poem. (Why are found objects so magical?)
Materials: A container (shoe box, cigar box, old lunch box), 8-12 found objects, word processing program, flip chart or white board for group talk/mind mapping
Preparation: Invite your class to keep their eyes and imagination open as they walk in their neighborhood, in town or out in nature. They will look for some object that they find to be interesting, curious, odd or idea-provoking. Suggest that while taking a stroll in the afternoon or walking around the block, something might catch their eye. a scrap of paper, a gizmo, a piece of cloth, an abandoned toy..... for some reason it calls to them. Some little thing that one person might think of as trash, could be a treasure to someone else. That is what they will collect and bring in for this activity. (Discuss appropriate and inappropriate "collectibles" if you think that might be necessary).
Students will bring in their "found object" and the fun begins. Line all the objects on a table. Each writing activity will require 8-12 objects. (For children in grades 2-3, three or four objects may be easier to work with.) Have the students group and re-group the objects into "families of 8-12. Discuss why they want some grouped together. As you get all of the objects organized into groups, tuck them into their "treasure box." This can be any sort of box, but the more interesting the box, the more the entire collection gains in writing intrigue.
Line up the collection of 8-12 objects your group has decided to work with first. be sure each child can see the collection. Begin to have the students arrange the objects (kinesthetic/spatial) in the order the objects could be used in a story.
As ideas, words, thoughts and possible titles are offered, have a teacher or student write these on the board or flip chart. Once a story thread has been started, create a title for the story or poem. Use that as the center of a mind map. Allow the children to pick up and touch the objects as they offer their thoughts and ideas for the mind map.
After the discussion, you can have the children create the story in many ways. They can develop it orally or in writing, in groups or individually. Be sure that the words, ideas and mind maps they created as a group are visible to all as they write.
Once a story has been developed with this collection, the other collections can be used as writing station prompts at other times.