A list of words that have some connection to a picture. What can a child do with this combination? There is room for exploration and several ways in which a child can express himself or herself using this combination.
What could this dog be looking at?
That formed the crux of the story the young readers were asked to create using as many words from a given list, to describe the scene leading to the climax- that would let the reader/viewer know the reason behind the dog's expression.
Using any form of expression
They could share their story using any or more than one of the following ways:
Write the story and read it out later to the group
Enact the story
Create a drawing
Any other form of expression that appeals to them.
Different expressions, different stories
Those who detest writing chose to enact. Those who prefer expressing their thoughts at their own pace, chose to write the story. A few others who enjoy drawing, came up with their original approaches. Aarti* (name changed) chose to narrate the scenes leading to the climax and then showed us a drawing of the dog's owner. She said that the dog was used to being cuddled by the owner when she came back home everyday. But that day was different. The owner simply stood looking at the dog. That left the rest of us wondering what could have happened. Why was the owner not petting the dog as always? Zaina* (name changed) chose to show her story by drawing a complete comic. She managed to use several words from the list in her comic. Ankush* (name changed) decided to create a story in the form of a poem using the words in the list!
Every young reader drew connections from real life. While some drew inspiration from books they have read, places or people they have visited, their own dog others drew ideas from movies that they have watched! On the whole we had an amazing set of stories created based on the same picture. This was the winning picture of two options given to the young readers.
Growing in confidence by finding their voices.
Active learning enables different children to recognize what they are capable of. When given the support and encouragement to choose their mode of expression, they begin to open up. When they see their peers enjoy their creations, they feel happy and inspired to do more.