Saturday, September 8, 2012

Story World

Title: Story World: Quests and Adventures: Create-A-Story
Author: John Matthews 
Illustrator: Caitlin Matthews
Publisher: Templar 
Publication Date: February, 2012 
Genre/Format: Fantasy/Create-a-Story Kit
GoodReads Summary: Create your own action-packed adventures with this new kit from StoryWorld. The box contains twenty-eight cards that suggest all kinds of characters, places, and objects that you can use to make up your own stories. Pick a handful of cards and use their pictures, descriptions, and questions as inspiration. Discover more ideas about how to use the cards and read sample stories in The Storytelling Book that accompanies each set. 
What Kellee Thinks:This is such an amazing idea. Many ELA and reading teachers struggle with ways to include kinesthetic activities in their classrooms that are meaningful and worthwhile. John & Caitlin Matthews's clever idea of StoryWorld Create-a-Story kit is perfect in both teaching elements of narratives as well as including hands-on activities. 
     The way Create-a-Story works is that you have 28 cards that have characters, settings, or items on them and on the back there is information about the card as well as guiding questions that could guide a story. Since this set is about quests and adventures there are cards like "The Enchanted Spring", "The Magic Castle", "The Emperor", "The Clever Dwarf", and "The Spell to Command Time". You can play solo and just use the set to create a story. To get started, the introductory book has some suggestions, but really there are no rules. The introductory book also gives ideas on how to use it with 2 people, for a group, with parents, or some games that can be played. There are endless ways that this activity can be used in the classroom or at home. 
What Jen Thinks: In July, my family and I went to the Bristol Renaissance Faire in Wisconsin. It isn't too far of a drive from us but we had never been before. It was like being transported into a completely different time. I was amazed by all the different activities and shows and shops. It was pretty amazing. I felt a totally new excitement for the Middle Ages. Similarly, in December, we visited the Art Institute of Chicago and went to see the armor they have on display and also the wonderful painting of Saint George and the Dragon. When I opened this quaint box of cards, I was so excited because I could see how they could easily be paired with an experience like the Ren Faire or the art museum but also a history/social studies lesson or with books about King Arthur. Like Kellee mentioned, these cards really get kids thinking about stories they can tell but they are also amazingly open-ended. There is so much room to create a story even within the 28 cards. The booklet that comes with the cards outlines different activities to try depending on the students' needs. 
Use Together: Grades 2 to 12
Use Alone: Grades 4 to 12
Read With: Saint George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges, The Once and Future King by T.H. White, Tale of Desperaux by Kate DiCamillo, Expository about the Renaissance or Medieval Times,  
Snatch of Text:  On the cover of StoryWorld is "The Quest Knight" which is also one of the cards. On the back of "The Quest Knight" card: 
*The bravest of all knights
*What adventure is he setting out on today? 

*Where has the page boy gone? 

*What is the dog saying? 

"Remember, there are no rules - you can make any kind of story you like with these cards. It can be exciting and frightening, funny or sad. You might not know anything about the people or places on these cards, but you will feel the tickle of a story beginning somewhere inside you. Perhaps it's just one line, but as soon as you hear that line in your head, you will begin to sense the next pieces of story arriving. there is no 'right' story, only the story you make. That is story magic." 
Reading Strategies to Practice: Identify Story Elements
Writing Strategies to Practice: Characterization, Plot Development, Cultivating Writers, Narrative
Writing Prompts: Choose a character, setting, and item card and then write a story that incorporates everything from the cards you chose. 
Topics Covered: History - Middle Ages, Relationships, People 
Kellee *hearts* It: 
Jen *hearts* It:

**Thank you to Candlewick for providing copies of StoryWorld for us to review**

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