Art and words go hand in hand. Simple sculpting helps students develop a richer and more evocative vocabulary. It encourages them to pause and include things that would normally be overlooked. It allows them to explore colour and mood both in 3D and on paper.
I worked on retellings with my students recently. We read “Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs” retold and illustrated by Mo Willems. After that students thought of who Goldilocks could be…did she have to be human or could she be a monkey or a potato of all things. Then they thought about who she was visiting…three dragons, three sharks, three…you fill in the blank.
Each of us re-wrote the story with the new characters in their new environments.
First drafts were pretty good, but I felt they needed more detail, so we built mini-models of one of the rooms in the house Goldi was visiting. This whole activity was inspired by my 6 year old neighbour who gifted me with an entire mini fairy scene made out of plasticine. I was so impressed with her mini fairy pizzas, mini flowers, mini fairy umbrellas and such that I had to try it myself!
Students made models of their favourite room and their writing blossomed. I asked them to add these new found details to their story.
Sentences went from, ‘there were three beds’ to describing each in detail right down to the colours and designs on the bed sheets. Some even included little stuffies for each character to sleep with, bedside books and lamps.
So, the next time you are at a loss for words…go mini! Build a mini-world and build vocabulary at the same time. But do watch out for those dragons…they could be home at any minute!