The End

the endSpoiler-heavy free write anyone? All you need are old photos, pen, paper, and a moment to ponder how to tell a story – by only writing its ending! This exercise premiered at Cotsen Critix, our literary society for kids ages 9-12.

At the program, we scattered a bunch of old newspaper and magazine photos on the tables (thanks library recycling program!) and instructed the kids to select an image, Then, they wrote the final paragraph of a story, with the selected image serving as the very last scene.

I also ask them to think about a few things before they got started: Who are your characters? What happened in the story? What’s the resolution of the story? How can you conclude the story without summarizing it? How does everything come down to this image?

It was a challenging prompt, but check out some of these seriously cool endings…


whale photo

Kate and Tristan turned around when they heard the huge SPLASH! Winston dove out of the water, splashing happily. Kate smiled “He looks happy here.” Tristan nodded and called out to Winston.

“Goodbye Winston! We’ll miss you!”

Winston dove down and disappeared into a patch of soft sea foam, creating another splash. Katie turned to Tristan “Well, he’s finally safe from Envetson and his henchmen now, all thanks to us.”

 


man and elephant photo

As I turned, Hannibal tooted as if to say I’ve been with you these last 50 years. I’ve been with you when you were at death’s door. I’m not going anywhere. “I’m going to miss you old friend.” I choked out. The great beast threw this head back and trumpeted so loudly, so deafeningly, I almost thought he was laughing. He then lifted me up on his back. I laughed. “Well then, one last ride.”

 


panda bear photoThe very last thing I could remember seeing was… a panda eating bamboo. And then my eyes refused to cooperate any longer. Blackness. I can only remember the crunch and the green. That’s it. Memories are weird like that, you can always remember the most bizarre parts. Even with my eyes closed, I can taste the dew on the nearby grass. I still feel the presence of a fluffy being right beside me, chomping away. Crackle. Snap. That’s all…

 

 


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Fabulous Family Portrait

fabulous carrot family portraitThis handsomely framed three-dimensional portrait is a must for any home. And if you want to portray your sweet little family as carrots, well why not?

We read All Kinds of Families! written by Mary Ann Hoberman, and illustrated by Marc Boutavant (Little, Brown, 2009). This beautifully illustrated picture book describes, through charming rhymes, the various kinds of families in the world. Not just mothers, fathers, brother and sisters either – forks, spoons, numbers, animals, plants, clouds…all kinds of families!

You’ll need:

  • 1 cardboard box
  • Paper towel tubes and/or toilet paper tubes
  • Brown poster board
  • A selection of construction paper
  • 1 pipe cleaner
  • Scissors, glue, and tape for construction
  • Markers for decorating
  • Hot glue (optional)

There are 2 parts to this project – the family, and the frame. The family is basically toilet paper tubes and/or paper towel tubes decorated with construction paper and markers.  The important thing is to measure the tubes inside the frame box before you start decorating them. Otherwise, your family might not fit inside the final frame!

carrot familyThe frame is a box cut down to 2″ deep. We decorated the back of our frame with patterned paper (but you can also have kids draw the background on with markers). Next, we offered different brown poster board shapes to glue around the edges of the box:

finished portrait frameTo hang the frame, twist a pipe cleaner into a loop, then attach it to the top of the box with tape. Want to make it extra secure? Cut a slit in the top of the box, thread the pipe cleaner ends through the slit, then tape them to the interior top of the frame. Here’s a shot of our frame from the back, hanging loop in place:

back of finished portrait frameHang your frame in your favorite room of the house, place your little family inside it, and  feel the love!

Ghostly Guppy

ghostly guppieAfter spotting the fabulous upside down goldfish ghost Marissa designed for her literary exhibit, I vowed I would find a way to replicate it as a story time project. And behold! A floating paper plate goldfish ghost marionette!

We read Goldfish Ghost, written by Lemony Snicket, and illustrated by Lisa Brown (Roaring Brook Press, 2017). Goldfish Ghost, who comes into being floating on top of his fishbowl, floats out the window to seek company. But the world is vast, loud, and bustling. Goldfish Ghost is disheartened to find no company. Until he meets the ghost of the lighthouse keeper. Now the two are the best of friends, settled in quietly together, by the lighthouse light.

You’ll need:

  • 2 paper plates
  • White construction paper
  • String or clear elastic beading cord
  • 1 drinking straw
  • Scissors and tape for construction
  • Black markers for decorating

goldfish ghost marionetteTo make the marionette, trim the outside perimeters off 2 paper plates. Use marker to draw eyes, a mouth, and scales on the plates.Next, tape a white construction paper tail and fins to the inside of 1 plate.

In the book, Goldfish Ghost floats upside down, so tape a length of string or elastic beading cord to the belly of the fish. Then tape the 2 plates together. Knot the string around a drinking straw, and your fabulous marionette is complete!