Now that I'm doing Make it and Take it every Monday, I can try out some new ideas! Yesterday, we did Chester stories. If you know me, you know I am all about Melanie Watt's Chester. So, this is what we did! Last summer, one of my teen volunteers wrote me two "Chester stories" with spaces and cues for illustration (my teen volunteers are a small but brainy bunch!). I put out copies of the two stories, blank paper, markers, pencils and pens, and red paint.
I explained to the kids that we were going to make Chester stories - all but 2 of the 10 kids had heard of Chester and were very enthusiastic about him! We read Chester again to refresh our memories and then we got started. I had a wide range of ages, so very different responses. The younger kids had trouble grasping the idea of writing their own Chester story, and some of the older kids wanted to make their own story. So what we ended up with was...(all ages are approximate)
6 year old - drew a picture of Chester and colored it with markers, then copied Chester words out of the books in red paint. 2nd six year old also drew a picture of Chester and then settled down at the table to re-read all the books. He took one of the Chester stories to illustrate at home.
7 and 9 year old girls decided to draw castles. One of them also took a Chester story to illustrate at home.
two 7 year old girls drew giant Chesters and decorated him with red paint. They also wrote some dialogue to go with their pictures.
9 year old boy, coming for the first time, made a little one page story with sharks, then redrew the picture in red paint.
two other 8ish girls were inspired by this and drew Chester underwater with submarines.
one fourth grade girl got the idea and made a Chester story! "Chester's Opposite Day" was her title. She drew a cover, and in her story everything is opposite, so Melanie Watt is messing up Chester's story. She had plot and dialogue and a conclusion! She wrote the story and drew illustrations in pencil, then touched them up with markers and red paint.
So, this worked out very well I think. The kids weren't really interested in illustrating the pre-written stories, but they liked drawing their own. Chester is well-known and loved in our library, so makes a great inspiration for kids to do their own drawings and stories.