OWI – 3 questions

Mila, who is working to master the Invisibles process (and quickly getting there) asks:
Q. So, they already drew the OWI character. They decided the details of the character: ex., gigantic red sheep named Geppetto* who is dumb, very rich, very sad, who is crying a lot because he has all the money in the world but cannot buy love.
I read the “Overview of the Process” from the Natural Approach to Stories and it says that during the process of creating a story the artists do two-panel story drawings and it says this is for 1st year classes. Does this mean first year with CI which means I should do it with all my classes?
A. Yes. Even kids in level 4 who haven’t heard much of the language are beginners. Maybe they are experts at worksheets, but they are beginners at the language.
Q. Regarding Question Level 6 – “the problem”, do we use the same one they already came up with while creating the invisible or do we create a new one? Or whatever works?
A. Yes, whatever works. And if no problem comes up, we simply end the story and create the reading via W and D or at home as a reading from the notes we got from the Story Writer. Or drop the story altogether. Although when you have something like a big red sheep who is very rich but cannot buy love, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to find a problem from someone in the room. Whether they give it to you in English or not doesn’t matter. So what if the solution to the problem is only that he can’t find love? We put WAY too much pressure on ourselves to create the problem and the solution and it just doesn’t matter. If the ending doesn’t satisfy the students, tell them the truth – they need to come up with something more interesting and you are just the person processing the language, not the talent.
Q. Do you recommend doing the 7 steps for story creation all in the same day or does it matter?
A. Yes, and all in under 30 min. if possible. That is the job of the Story Driver – to keep you moving. Stories should end because the kids want to know what happens. Otherwise we lose their trust that they will find out what happens in that class and with it their interest.
Here’s Geppetto:



2 thoughts on “OWI – 3 questions”

  1. Alisa Shapiro-Rosenberg

    Wow that Geppetto is some AWESOME professional-looking artwork!
    I think one of the biggest take-aways from Ben’s astounding Invisibles/NT work is the need to finish the story in +-30 min. He gave us all permission to flout the regular TPRS advice to milk, milk, milk the details with no worry about the storyline, plot, arc, etc…
    But the kids DO want to see the outcome, and their sustained engagement depends on it. They are very aware of problem, pacing, attempted solutions – the art of story making – and we shouldn’t squash or divert their attention in a lame attempt to get more reps. (I do feel strongly abt this issue based on feedback from my Ss).
    Even 4th graders, I have observed, have excellent ideas about what to take out /add in to say, leveled novels, to make them more compelling…
    Follow their lead and co-construct the story! Sometimes maybe we wanted to extend the story to get more mileage out of it, but the literacy extensions allow us to do that. Longer processing – shorter stories…

  2. Alisa said:
    …maybe we wanted to extend the story to get more mileage out of it, but the literacy extensions allow us to do that….
    Yes. That is what I have thought. And what is really important is that those extensions, and it just doesn’t have to be dictee and WCTG like I put on the star sequence but anything – as long as it is done after the reading – creates a real nice sequence that is BETTER than milking only w speech input (long stories) bc it involves reading and writing afterwards, so different modalities are engaged (not so boring) for the kids.

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