Invisible Creatures

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9 thoughts on “Invisible Creatures”

  1. I am dying to share something I’m learning and trying out in my classroom and it fits so well with the premise of “invisible creatures” and fits so well with our collaborative storytelling approach!
    . . .

    Role–playing games (RPGs, e.g. Dungeons & Dragons (D&D)). I knew nothing about these 1 week ago, but since then I’ve skimmed manuals, online forums, and watched multiple hours of YouTube footage. Dungeon World is what I am focusing on. It’s a simplification of D&D and more focused on the narrative.

    All sessions start with character creation. You choose an archetype (wizard, fighter, thief, etc.) and fill out a character sheet. I am going to link you to the simplified Spanish version I am using now.

    Then, you have a 3-dimensional character to use in any “adventure.” I am going to have groups of students create their own characters and collectively they will play as that character during the adventure.

    There is A LOT we can learn from RPGs. We could conduct our entire class this way. In fact, we kinda already do!

    I love the role of chance. If the character wants to do something, then he rolls dice. There are number ranges by which you are granted your action, permitted your action with a cost, or not granted your action and instead something bad happens.

    I love the role of the narrator. This would be us, the teachers. We set the scene. We storyask. We give options. We come up with the consequences depending on the dice rolls. Your narrator style can range from very organic and improvisational and dependent on player feedback or be more preplanned. There is back-and-forth. You set up a situation/problem, the players tell you what they want to do (maybe they roll dice to decide), then you deal the consequences (which leads to a new situation and repeats the cycle).

  2. In first period today I tried this out. Its Spanish one. Seventh grade. . A girl was reading and kind of meowing quietly. She’s got this cat thing. She loves cats. So I said in Spanish
    as they’re reading, do I hear a cat? She of course said yes. I said, what’s it’s name? Sky, she says. By the end of class we had talked about her invisible tiny blue cat Sky and this other kid said that this other guy has a big red dog. And the cat is not afraid of the dog because the dog sits quietly and only speaks Spanish and doesn’t speak dog. They did get very engaged. Blurting cropped up with a vengeance. But yes. Engaging in the extreme.
    Still haven’t seen an opportunity to get this off the ground in fourth period. Only worked in first. But my thinking is I gotta get some whiteboards to really do this justice. Because the other classes will see and hear about them. And then they’ll all want to make creatures. I can see huge potential in this. But what’s really lighting me up right now, more than just this, is untargeted input of highly-compelling nature.
    The class minutes competition for how long we can talk in the language has also gotten off to a great start. And Grant’s Cambio game is really good for Squirreley Springtime classes.
    Such great ideas!

  3. I would add here Tina that Saint-Ex’s definition of taming (pulling the chair inch by inch closer each day) is applicable. If we say “Class, we are going to do a new project. We are going to make invisible characters and it’s going to be really neat!” we all know that will fail. They have to think that it all came from them, more than all the other strategies we use here. So maybe that fourth pd. class can come around if just one of them creates an Invisible. Just a thought. This particular strategy really needs to seem as if it is coming totally from them. When you react to each creature in surprise and wonder and curiosity, that is when their desire to tell you about it reaches a zenith. That is the beginning of real communication, of real negotiated meaning. For the first time in my career with TPRS, I am not the one trying to initiate the conversation – they are.

    1. Yes, that is so true, about the taming. That is why I have not done anything in fourth period. But I know they talk about what happens in class (which makes me feel awesome, by the way) so I expect the other classes will hear about it. I am just waiting to see a chance, and I totally agree that if this comes from them it will be pure gold.

  4. Another thought about things coming from them…does anyone else have to edit the suggestions their kids make? My kids seem to think that because I like funny, cute things, I also like drugs, sex, and rock n’ roll. Well, these things (except MAYBE rock n’ roll) are not OK in school, even in a story. So at least once per week I have to say, “That is not appropriate.” Any ideas for quelling this kind of thing?
    PS totally kidding about the rock n’ roll. 🙂

  5. Getting back to the idea of invisible creatures. . . I can’t believe we haven’t been doing it this way in our classes before! Now it seems like an obvious extension of what we do 😉

    Establish some characters with some real depth. This is an awesome way to also then spin out PQA. Then, use these characters in our future stories. Then, we can have an ongoing book per character! So the class picks a character as the protagonist that day and the class story gets added to that character’s book. At the end of the year you have a bunch of books, each the “adventures” of a character.

    Me likey!

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