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StoryLab in a Library: Day 1 and plan Day 2

A Story Lab in a Library

for 7-9 year olds

Day 1 As they came in and were checking in with librarian, to distract from awkwardness of those waiting we invited them to make a name badge for themselves. As they did this we asked them to think of a story about their name. Gave general overview of what we would be doing, and how first day would be about ’getting to know’ each other and just thinking about stories we liked etc. Told them how I work mostly as a puppeteer and how they would be meeting some of my puppets and would be able to ask them questions about their stories. They met two table top, one glove and some shadow puppets from four different stories. We interspersed this meeting of the puppets and the childrens’ asking questions of them, with inviting them to tell little stories about their own names. This was voluntary, just one to three each time, about half the children told one. My assistant and I told one too. Often they asked me also about the making of the puppet, operation etc. I told them about how we made up or adapted each story, and commented on similarities between their stories and others the children brought up or guessed. They had a chance to handle and interact with the puppets. They were very excited by the shadow puppets, and wanted to start making immediately!

After this with clipboards they were invited to make a list of their favorite people from stories - from films, books, TV, fairy tales, any kind of stories. As part of this they were free to move out into the library, collecting ideas, titles etc. but they did not all leave their seats. We were getting short of time so as they finished we hung up their sheets on the wall, and very briefly named and discussed each. They are a lively group, and the space is a bit constricted so things were getting hectic towards the end.


Clipboards with A4 paper

Sample puppets, including shadow puppets, overhead projector and screen. Puppets hidden until needed and placed out of sight when finished with.

Coloured name badges re-usable from week to week



Plan Day 2

As they come in gather what they liked about their chosen story from last week - why they like the character / place (and get the place of a story if you have only character, and characters if you have ony place) what were the primary actions in the stories. Make an ideas board from these under headings character, place, happening / action.

All in, introduce the idea of generating ideas from story clues. We play it like a game with rules: everyone quiet except the person choosing. In a small ’treasure chest’ I have small objects wrapped so they ’lucky dip’ to get something. For fun we make a drum roll singsong as they open their clue, they show it to everyone but everyone stays quiet about their own ideas about it. Then that person uses the clue to dream up a character or place. If they are stuck they can ask for help. Anyone with ideas can then put up their hands and the person chooses up to three of them. Then they decide which idea they will take or make up a new idea that they got from the others. These all recorded on a new ideas board. When everyone has had a go, they have a chance to draw a picture of their character or place, and to dream up a little more about them to add into the picture, they can try and connect their ideas and places with other peoples. Has anyone any ideas for inter-connections? etc When they have done this we stick them up/spread them out and all look at them and begin to group them together seeing who or where might go together, until we have two groups and the beginnings of a story. In their groups with each of us as ’chair/secretary’ they begin to make a simple storyboard (maybe just by re-arranging their drawings and adding titles, or by using cards with simple stick figure drawings on each) the aim is to tell a story in just four-eight pictures or sentences. Time allowing I will demo shadow puppet making but this will probably be next week’s work


15 Story ’clues’ wrapped, clipboards and pencils, large sheets and markers, cards for flexible storyboarding, sample storyboards, 

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