Thursday, August 14, 2014

Using Story Cubes for Creative Writing and Art

Ever have trouble getting your kids interested in creative writing? Don't have time to develop a lesson plan for Writing and Art?

We started a light school schedule last week, and I've already discovered a few helpful tools to make the year go smoother, especially on those days that are more defined by the word perspiration than preparation.

If your family is anything like ours, there are some who love to write and are always developing another imaginative story, and some who have just as active imaginations, but would rather act them out with their army men and Legos than write them down on paper.

I've been looking for a way to draw some of those army men types  into the art of creative writing for a while now.  And frankly, some days, I myself could use some help in that area after all the years of "mommy brain", and everything else that seems to suck the creative juices right out of me.

I saw these story cubes at Target a long time ago, and thought about trying them out, but never quite got around to it.

Then, my husband and I went to a friend's house for a little adult get-together (another good activity for sufferers of "mommy brain").  We had a good time using the cubes to tell stories.  

After that, I decided to get our own set and give it a try with the kids.It worked out really well, and we all had a blast telling outlandish, wacky stories. Even my lego-loving "army man" got involved.  

It was also good to see how each child thinks differently.  My older kids used the cubes more metaphorically, while the younger ones really enjoyed telling a literal version of their story.  Some spoke in the third person while some used the first person, so we were also able to discuss styles and tools of storytelling. 

After a few warm-up rounds, we decided to end with illustrating a scene from their last story, before writing them down in a composition book.  That way, the process of writing the story out was a way of recording the scenes from their imagination. Here are some samples of their illustrations.

The story cubes are a great way to get kids thinking creatively. If your'e rolling the dice at a table, the storytelling easily flows into writing and illustrating.  So, keep the art supplies and composition books close by!  

We will definitely be using these handy writing prompts again this year.  I already have kids asking to use them again, including "army man". Do you have other creative writing tools that you use in your homeschool?  If so, I would love to hear about them!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Spring has arrived! Well...sort of.  Here in the mid-west, we're still somewhere between 70 degrees and snow flurries in a matter of  a couple of days, but one can hope, right?

Springtime brings three significant Jewish feasts: Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits.  Passover is celebrated in the home with family and friends, and everyone from agnostic Jewish people to Orthodox celebrate it.  For those of us who are fulfilled Jews, it is a rich picture of Yeshua (Jesus) as the sacrificial lamb of Israel.

I will be posting more on these three Feasts in the coming weeks, but for now I thought it would be appropriate to begin this season with a healthy, inexpensive detox drink that goes with the theme of "Spring cleaning".  We clean out our closets and refrigerators, but our bodies could use a Spring cleaning too!

Part of the preparation of Passover is removing the leaven (which represents sin) from our houses.  This detox drink removes the toxins from our body, and cleanses us.

A friend of mine who is a personal trainer shared a version of this drink with me, and I love it!  It is loaded with vitamins and minerals, antibacterial properties, and is refreshing to drink, unlike some detox concoctions out there.  Several different fruits can be substituted for the cucumber, and it can also be done with lime instead of lemon, so let the creative juices (literally) flow when you mix up your own!  The one I love is a simple mixture: 1 cucumber, 2 lemons, and 4 or 5 sprigs of fresh mint.

First, place the mint in the bottom of a pitcher.  Slice the cucumber and lemons in half, and drop in.  Fill with purified water.  Let sit overnight and wake up to a refreshing water that brings tons of health benefits!

You can refill the water two or three more times, while the mint is still fresh.