Friday, September 10, 2010

Creative Prompt - Innovate on Something Else



My article today is the first in a series of prompts that I hope might spark some creative expression in your kids, and maybe you too. I explained the series in my article: New Series - Creative Prompts from the Book Chook.


Using something else as a model for our own creative activity is a great idea. I'm not talking about stealing someone else's ideas. I'm talking about piggybacking on an idea to come up with a new one of your own. In future articles, I'll provide a more specific starter. But today, as a warm-up, I want to make a general suggestion that we look at any kind of media, and use it as a prompt or model for some kind of creative expression.


This is a wonderful way to involve the whole family in creativity, and it helps develop literacy skills too.


I took a song as my beginning, and re-wrote some song lyrics. You and your kids might prefer to mashup a video, write a story, create an oral story, improvise a play, or create a collage. You could base it on my song, or a song of your choice. You could invent your own war cry based on your favourite football team's, or create your own answering machine message sparked by one you heard recently. Use my song as a starter if it suits your purpose, or find one that's better for you. Forget songs entirely even - the whole point is to look at this prompt, a very general one, and see what comes to mind for you and your kids. Then go on and create.


Creative people have been piggybacking on someone else's ideas for years. For some examples, look at Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes which innovate on traditional fairy tales like The Three Little Pigs, the Barney Song, which unless I'm mistaken uses the tune of This Old Man, or even my own innovation using the pattern from Hickory Dickory Dock:


Higgery Diggery Dama
I got cross with a llama
I took all his clothes
Now he's wearing a rose
And a polka-dot spotted pyjama.



What I did


The song I chose for my prompt today is Alice the Camel. Do you know it? It was perfect for what I wanted: a simple tune so I could invent one of those songs you can put actions with. It suited my audience because we had a baby visiting recently and I decided to make the poor defenceless mite my guinea pig. Here's what Braden and I came up with:


My baby Braden has ten toes
My baby Braden has ten toes
My baby Braden has ten toes
So bounce, Braden, bounce (up higher)
{Standing him on my lap, hands under his arms, bouncing him}


My baby Braden has two eyes
My baby Braden has two eyes
My baby Braden has two eyes
So blink, Braden, blink (blink-blinky)
{Sitting him on my lap, facing me, blinking in an exaggerated way, more owl than chook!}


My baby Braden has one tummy
My baby Braden has one tummy
My baby Braden has one tummy
So tickle, Braden, tickle (ickle-pickle)
{Sitting him on my lap, using my hand to aeroplane down towards his tummy, and then a gently tickle}


Luckily Braden was an unsophisticated critic and giggled the whole time! My song won't ever be top of the charts, but it worked fine as a fun time for an adult and baby to play with words. Once we start to be alert for opportunities to change things around and create something new, it becomes easier every time.


Maybe you have no interest in creating a silly song for a little one. If you're not sure where to start, take a look at some send-ups and spoofs others have made. You'll find plenty on Youtube, or Vimeo. Be alert for literature, music or movies your child loves, and then introduce "what if?" 


What if we decorated the cake in the style of Batman? 
What if we wrote different words to the tune of Barney's song? 
Let's see if we can make up our own rhyme about a pussy cat. 
I wonder if we could make our own little movie about a boy hero.
The Book Chook made a Higgery Diggery rhyme - what if we did that too?


Here are some examples of innovations others have created:


Perhaps you've seen things written in Dr Seuss style?


Here's I Will Derive, a song based on I Will Survive.


Here's a spoof on the Star Trek theme by Youtube user, qcotms.


One word of warning: I try to be careful with copyright. For me, that means using pictures or music or text that I have created myself, or have permission to use. If I intend to publish them on my blog or website, I look for Creative Commons licenses, attributing where necessary, or use things from the Public Domain. ( My image above was from Morguefile, which doesn't require attribution, and I added the text myself with Skitch.) The easiest way to get around this is to create everything yourself, images, music, video! Remember, we're starting with someone else's idea and making it our own, but if we're going to publish online or in print, we need to respect the laws of intellectual property. If you're just singing a song in your own home, not publishing it on the net, of course this isn't a problem.


{If you and/or your kids respond to this prompt and you'd like me to showcase it on my blog, I would be thrilled to do that, provided you have copyright permission to do so. A photo you've taken yourself of your own version of the Mona Lisa is fine; the original I couldn't include! If you post about it on your own blog, please let me know (in comments or email, via the Contact Me tab), and I'll add your link to this post.}


RESPONSES:


Here's a most unusual response, from EstherIrish on Laugh with Us blog. It's called Potty Training Treat. Thanks for sharing, Esther!


Here's another response. This one's from some Kindergarten students who took the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb, and combined that with one of their favourite book characters, Grug. Read their teacher's description below, then scroll down to check out some of the kids' drawings and stories.
  
Here's what I did with this prompt ......  


Have you ever come across Grug by Ted Prior? If not, you must hunt him out and collect the whole series! I have been using these books with my Kindergarten class for the past term and they have fallen in love with the character. This is one of many activities based around Grug that we have done (inspired by your prompt). 


I decided to go with an innovation on a song - Mary had a little lamb. I started by choosing six possible locations that Grug may go/have been in his travels - the beach, zoo, snow, aquarium, disco and school. These words were inserted into a large pocket dice. As a whole class we rolled the dice to decide where Grug was going to go AND what he might do there.


This was a talking and listening activity. Rather than having one child telling me what s/he thought, I had everyone participating by allowing time for the children to talk to their partners before calling for responses (which were quickly recorded on the IWB). We then started in on the fun - whilst our brains were overflowing with ideas!


I modelled by rolling the dice and singing `Grug went to the beach one day, beach one day, beach one day, Grug went to the beach one day to swim in the waves' . The children then took turns rolling the dice - we all sang the first part with them and they finished off the saying what he did. This resulted in some interesting activities (rapping at the disco, bob sledding down a mountain and so on!). 


When it came to literacy group time (the children are organised into small groups of 3), I used the dice with each group and allowed them to roll the dice, sing the rhyme and then write it. The song was a great scaffold for remembering the now extended sentences. Some children wrote one sentence - others were able to write many. 


The next follow up lesson was for all of the children to chose their favourite sentence with a thinking partner - always talking, discussing, learning - then write and illustrate the sentence ready to put together as a class book. I also used an easispeak microphone to simply record the children singing their sentences to put along with a copy of the writing - onto their individual iweb pages. These microphones are fabulous - so easy to use and really great quality. 


Lots of fun and great results! Thanks for the prompt. (from jdowling)







12 comments:

  1. Imitate and innovate are such essential building blocks for chidlren's literacy development to support their inventing. These are great ideas for parents to use.
    Thanks Susan

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Joy! Lovely to "see" you. And you are so right - imitate and innovate are kind of scaffolded creating in my mind.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Esther Irish11 September, 2010

    Here's mine! I hope you like it. I hope you laugh!

    http://www.laughwithusblog.com/potty-training-treat/

    ReplyDelete
  4. These always make for fun and creative project. I find that students are always less concerned about the outcome and just enjoy the creative process because the main idea has been started for them.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Esther, you have really taken the idea and run with it! What an unusual innovation! Thanks for joining in and for sharing the fun.

    ReplyDelete
  6. That's an excellent point Kelly! That's why I think prompts can work so well - sometimes complete freedom to be creative can almost be too much freedom, and we don't know where to start. Whereas if we get a hint from someone else, it gives us a direction and gets us moving, and the creativity starts to flow.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love it! I'm putting my thinking cap on.

    ReplyDelete
  8. That's great Kelly! I look forward to reading what you come up with!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi Chook,
    Here's what I did with this prompt ......
    Have you ever come across Grug by Ted Prior? If not, you must hunt him out and collect the whole series! I have been using these books with my Kindergarten class for the past term and they have fallen in love with the character. This is one of many activities based around Grug that we have done (inspired by your prompt). I decided to go with an innovation on a song - Mary had a little lamb. I started by choosing six possible locations that Grug may go/have been in his travels - the beach, zoo, snow, aquarium, disco and school. These words were inserted into a large pocket dice. As a whole class we rolled the dice to decide where Grug was going to go AND what he might do there. This was a talking and listening activity. Rather than having one child telling me what s/he thought I had everyone participating by allowing time for the children to talk to their partners before calling for responses (which were quickly recorded on the IWB). We then started in on the fun - whilst our brains were overflowing with ideas! I modelled by rolling the dice and singing `Grug went to the beach one day, beach one day, beach one day, Grug went to the beach one day to swim in the waves' . The children then took turns rolling the dice - we all sang the first part with them and they finished off the saying what he did. This resulted in some interesting activities (rapping at the disco, bob sledding down a mountain and so on!). When it came to literacy group time (the children are organised into small groups of 3), I used the dice with each group and allowed them to roll the dice, sing the rhyme and then write it. The song was a great scaffold for remembering the now extended sentences. Some children wrote one sentence - others were able to write many. The next follow up lesson was for all of the children to chose their favourite sentence with a thinking partner - always talking, discussing, learning - then write and illustrate the sentence ready to put together as a class book. I also used an easispeak microphone (http://www.softwaretime.com.au/computer-products/easi-speak-microphone-yellow) to simply record the children singing their sentences to put along with a copy of the writing - onto their individual iweb pages. These microphones are fabulous - so easy to use and really great quality. Lots of fun and great results! Thanks for the prompt :)

    ReplyDelete
  10. jdowling, that's fabulous! I'm thrilled that the kids took off with the idea. I'm guessing you can't link us to the individual pages due to privacy constraints, which is such a pity as i would love to see/hear. But I can imagine!

    Love the Grug series too.

    Would it be okay with you if I moved this description up and added it to my blog post above?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Chook,
    I can't link you to the individual pages but will add a few images here (had to crop names off). You will have to imagine the voices ......but another thought has just popped into my mind - I could put them on our school blog. Will send a link if I get it done over the next few days! I am also more than happy for you to add the description to your blog post.

    P.S - I love the Grug in the bob sled - he is making Grug sounds as he flies down the hill - Bo bo bo bo!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Great! I have added it to the post and will add the link if you send it. You can always use my email if it's easier - cunningly hidden under the Contact Me tab.

    ReplyDelete

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