The Me that is, and the Me that might.

It is the third day of my residency in Chanhassen, which means, as per tradition, that we have – through trial, through tribulation, through desert and plain, through  fields of lava and and impassable mountain ranges and outer space, through robot armies and radioactive spider attacks and hordes of maniacal villains,  arrived at SUPERHERO WEDNESDAY. It is clearly the best day of the week.

My reasoning for instituting SUPERHERO WEDNESDAY was simple – I work these kids really hard. I have a theory about teaching story writing to kids, and it involves writing a lot. And I say a lot using my ever-so-serious I mean business voice, and the kids take it to heart. They write a lot. And they learn about narrative arcs and character development and the integration of personality, choice, and the options of the physical environment into the creation of plot, and they write like crazy.

But, by Wednesday, they need a break.

By Wednesday, they need to do something fun.

And by Wednesday they need to engage in one of the purest forms of storytelling for the upper-elementary-school kid: The Superhero Narrative.

These are kids who, for the first time, feel utterly in control of their bodies. They know what they can do, they know what they think.  They are starting to be global thinkers – connecting their own experiences to the wider world. Puberty hasn’t hit yet, but they know it’s coming. They know they’re headed toward a massive transformation – that the body they have will become something….else. They know that everything about themselves will change – they will have eruptions, additions, bizarre pustules attacking their faces. Their very voices will change (imagine! your voice!).

I think it’s no wonder that kids this age are drawn to the narrative of transformation, where that transformation is something powerful, noble, and can possibly save the world. (Because, really, what kid doesn’t want to save the world. I know these kids. They all want to save the world.)

Today we will write transformation narratives. Today we will also draw, dream, and sketch out panel-based storytelling. Today we will be superheroes. And it will be awesome.

 

What’s on your schedule today?

 

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11 thoughts on “The Me that is, and the Me that might.

  1. Well, let’s see. Drug test for my job at Menard’s this morning. Stopped at Social Security office to drop off a form from my previous employer, communing with the world via 1’s and 0’s, soon off to lunch and a pleasant afternoon of yard work. Reading this evening.

  2. First of all, I want to say I SOOOOO wish you were teaching my son. He could use a teacher who gets story. The boy spent 3rd-5th grade doing nothing in his spare time at school but superhero narrative play.

    I also love super heroes. My first novel is based on a super hero premise; what if you had a super power you didn’t want?

    And today I am sitting at a computer and using my special powers transforming my time into that most masculine form of power; cold, hard, cash. Perhaps I’ll get a cape to go with the skateboard.

    Finally, am I the only one who hears a voice in the back of his head saying, “No Capes!”

  3. Which superhero do you want to be? Not Batman, too psycho. Not the Hulk, too green. Not Peter Parker, far too serious. Wolverine has trouble scratching. The Mighty Thor is a possibility.

  4. Don’t we all have the capacity to be a superhero within us? Be kind, compassionate, giving and tolerant. That’s all the superhero anyone needs.

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