Thursday, June 4, 2009

Another of our stories : Elmer the Squid

This is one of my stories, from the cards "Squid", "Food Manufacturing" and "A mysterious phone call".

"I hate working on the baked bean packing line" said Elmer the Squid.

"But you're so good at it - with all those extra legs you can label five cans at once" said Petra Goldfish.

"They're actually called 'tentacles'" pointed out Elmer.

"Oh, great, we really need your pedanticness."

"It's actually called 'pedantry'" muttered Elmer.

Elmer wasn't having a good day. He shouldn't have been on the baked bean packing line - in fact, why did he work in food manufacturing at all? He'd been to Melbourne University and studied philosophy.

Just then, the phone rang. "Is that Elmer the Squid?". It was Eddie McGuire from Channel 9. "Do you want to be a competitor on 'Australia's Brainiest Squid'? You'll be versing squid from all over the country!"

Elmer thought for a while.

"Nice offer, but 'versing' isn't a proper word. See you later!"

And Elmer sat back next to Petra and labelled another tin.

One of our stories : Fred and Fredina

Catriona wrote this story, with the prompt cards "Hippos", "Marriage" and "Public Holiday".

Fred and Fredina were 92 and 16, and they were hippos. They were getting married. Awww. They went to the wedding chapel - alright, a pole of rocks and stick - and the minister, Bob the crocodile, recited a speech he had stolen from an official looking guy.

"America has lost its way. We need to fix it. Yes we can!" he said. And then they were married. When they went to the airport to go to the Himalayas for a honeymoon, it was Christmas Day and all the flights were cancelled.

Tips for players

  • Get started straight away, don’t wait to think of the whole story. It will probably come to you as you write.
  • Use the ideas on the cards, but remember you can go more specific. If your card says the story is about spies, you might make them retired spies, or spies at high school, or alien spies ...
  • The first two cards tell you how the story starts, and the third one tells you the unexpected thing that happens. Your characters will need to deal the “problem”.

Tips for teachers/parents

  • Keep a special book for each player to write their “Jimmy” stories in. Nice pens or pencils would help too.
  • Particularly promising stories could be edited and published in a class newsletter, but don’t mention that until well after the game. Players will write better if they know it’s a quick game with no pressure.
  • Groups of up to six can work, but with any more players, there will be too much reading aloud and not enough writing.
  • Everyone should be encouraged to share their writing. If reading aloud is too hard, work out another way to share.
  • A whole class could respond to the same cards, and write at the same time. This could encourage different interpretation of the cards.
  • Players should be encouraged to finish their story properly.

How to play “Jimmy The Altered Bean”

Each player needs:
  • Some paper, preferably a blank book
  • A pen or pencil
  • Shuffle each of the three decks
  • Deal one card from each deck to each player, face down
  • Start a five minute timer
  • Players read their cards (they can place them on the provided template if it helps)
  • Players write a story that fits the outline.
  • When the timer goes off, players finish their stories.
  • Players take turns to read their stories aloud.
  • Shuffle the cards back into the decks, and play again at least one more time!

How to set up "Jimmy The Altered Bean"

Here's what you need to do to get started:
  • Download the prompt cards from this site
  • Print each page on a different colour of card (or print on paper, and adhere to card later)
  • Cut apart the cards
  • Keep each “deck” separate
  • The cards could be laminated if you wanted
  • Download the story template from this site
  • Print one for each player