I had the most amazing day with my young writers today. My dear friend Cindy Sterling gave me a writing exercise she used to do in the classroom and I adapted it to my workshop.
Give each participant a piece of drawing paper and either crayons,markers, or pencils. Have each person remove one shoe(you might want to spread newspapers on the desk since who knows where those shoes have been?) Draw an outline of the footwear and set the shoe aside.
Here is the fun part: this exercise can be designed to fit a specific moild. I asked my kids to write a biography of their shoe. Where did it come from? where is it going? what does it see? hear?
My young writers stunned and amazed me. Tamara's shoe was a plain white tenis shoe reluctantly bought by a young girl who later decorated it with paint and glitter, and it followed the girl throughout her life.
Jenny's flip flop was washed away on the beach and ended up in Hawaii.
Nathan's shoe was a very pristine men's business shoe that quickly learned the meaning of dirt- literally from the streets, and figuratively in business, and Mia's shoe experienced the drama of witnessing several love relationships, and ultimately being thrown against a wall.
I wrote a short piece as well, but it was not nearly as good as what the kids produced.