A Collaborative Story by Mother and Son

Last week you met Ian and read about his first conversation with his dad via the letter board and then text. Today’s post features Ian with his Mom! Rosaleen is a mom who awes and inspires me! Her dedication to her children; tireless effort to insure Ian is supported and happy; and community outreach – all with the most infectious laughter I have ever encountered – makes it a joy to work with Rosaleen and Ian. This collaborative story lesson was the perfect choice for such a fun mother and son! I wish I could claim credit for this idea, but I stole this from my friend, Brianne, who is an RPM teacher extraordinaire working in New York. The process is simple – develop an impromptu story by having two or more people contribute one line of a story at a time. Although the process is simple, creating a story as clever as this one is pretty impressive!

I am a firm believer in lessons for RPM sessions. Why? Cognitive lessons feed the hungry brains of our kids who desperately want to learn. Cognitive lessons also allow you to work with information that you have just presented and then build upon with your questions (Soma refers to this as teach-ask). A nicely structured lesson allows you to build the complexity of language (and warm up the motor skills to point) as you progress during the lesson (and over time using RPM – remember, building to open communication takes time!!!). Move from simpler tasks like making choices, spelling, and answering closed ended questions (questions with only a few possible correct answers); to a little more challenging responses like definitions, to wh-questions; to more abstract questions like prediction and inference questions; and finally to open communication. This is collaborative writing lesson is the perfect solution when you want something a little different from a content lesson. Just don’t forget to warm up with some spelling and questions!

(*Note: Ian’s responses written on the letter board are in all caps, my comments are in italics and his mom’s in regular font!)

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A Collaborative Story  – by Ian and Rosaleen

Ian, we are going to do something a little different today.  Before we do, I have a couple of questions for you.  

First, spell collaborative. COLLABORATIVE

What does collaborative mean?  WORKING TOGETHER

Do you like working collaboratively?  SOMETIMES I LIKE IT

Do you know what Improvisation is?  DOING SOMETHING SPONTANEOUSLY

What do you think I am up to?!  I THINK YOU ARE GOING TO MAKE ME DO SOMETHING WITH MOM.

Very good!  What do I love to do at the end of lessons?  CREATIVE WRITING

Exactly!  So, I am going to have a you do an improvisational, collaborative creative writing assignment with Mom!  What could be a positive about this process?  IT COULD BE FUN. What could be a negative about this?  IT COULD BE A TERRIBLE STORY

*Ian chose to let Rosaleen initiate the story:

R:  In a time not so very long ago

I:  THERE LIVED A BOY WITH GLUM THOUGHTS

R: Sometimes those thoughts needed to be expressed

I: BUT HE PUT THOSE THOUGHTS IN AWAY IN A MAGIC BOX

R: There had to be a special key to get into that box

I: BUT NO ONE COULD FIND A KEY TO FIT THE LOCK

R: The key was searched for throughout the land

I: PEOPLE TRIED ALL KINDS OF KEYS

R: It was so very important to let those thoughts out of the box

I: COUNTLESS DIFFERENT KEYS WERE TRIED TO NO AVAIL

R: Then, one day, a special locksmith came into the town where this boy lived

I: PERHAPS THE LOCKSMITH WOULD HAVE A NEW SOLUTION

R: The mother of the boy sought the locksmith’s help

I:  THE LOCKSMITH QUESTIONED WHY THEY HAD BEEN LOOKING FOR A KEY

R: The mother told the locksmith that her son’s glum thoughts were locked in a box and she wanted to help get them out.

I:  THE LOCKSMITH ANSWERED THE MOTHER’S REQUEST FOR HELP

R: Soon, the locksmith pulled out a key that looked as though it would fit the lock

I:  FIRST THE LOCKSMITH SAID SOME MAGIC WORDS

R: Abracadabra – And the box flew open!

I: ALL OF A SUDDEN THE WORDS FLEW OUT OF THE BOX

R: The mother knew if they could get those glum thoughts out of the box her son would be happy

I: THE BOY REJOICED, GLUM THOUGHTS FLEW OUT OF THE BOX

R: The mother was so happy that the locksmith had come to town and made it possible for the box to be opened

I: THE BOY KNEW THAT AS LONG AS HE KNEW THE LOCKSMITH HE WOULD NEVER HAVE GLUM THOUGHTS AND HIS WORDS WOULD NEVER BE LOCKED UP AGAIN.

You don’t have to do RPM to write a collaborative story – this is language and interaction at it’s best for anyone! Even if you are at the beginning stages of RPM, you can adapt this format to paper choices or single words. For example: “do you want to write a story about an animal or person?”, the collaborator would take that choice and incorporate it into a sentence finishing with a new choice….”Once upon a time there was a magician (person) with the power to disappear/levitate, etc.  The possibilities are limitless!

Be the locksmith! ~Elizabeth

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4 thoughts on “A Collaborative Story by Mother and Son

  1. Great post! The collaborative idea is very nice, but most of all the story written by mother and son is so touching. I am literally moved to tears by this. Keep being the locksmith!

    • Lisa, as you know through your RPM communications with Philip, one of the great things about RPM is the ability to connect with your child on a whole new level! It is is such an honor to witness this process!

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