Tuesday, March 29, 2011

On creativity and puppies

What could be more fun than a room full of puppies? How about a room full of young children investigating, playing with, and "chewing on" new words?

Word Puppies have sniffed and bounced and tumbled their way onto Meddybemps.com this month. If you wonder, “Where did that idea come from?”, here’s the answer.

The creative process works for me in fits and starts. Sometimes a concept will evolve in a straight line from vague idea to finished artwork and text. More often, I have to work at it for a bit, let it simmer subconsciously while I attend to other projects, and then work on it some more (perhaps several times) until it finally takes shape. Sometimes I start off in one direction and end up somewhere else.

I was trying to develop more voyages for the Three Pumpkin Pirates and their ghost ship Compass Rosie. While looking through photos from Alaska, I happened to think about unusual words associated with that state. Maybe the voyage could also be a vocabulary lesson. Maybe the focus should be on teaching new words with the Pirate voyage merely supporting that idea.

What would be an interesting way to do that in a classroom? How could I make it really fun for young children? What if...? What if the children were thought of as “word hounds”, searching for new words. A quick look on Google® showed me that that name was already in use.

How about “Word Puppies?” Sounds younger and much more playful. Yes. The words could be written on “bones” and served up in a pet feeding dish. Hmmm. I could adapt my miniature village template to make little dog houses where the students could keep smaller copies of the “bones” as they add them to their vocabulary. What fun!

You can see that my original goal had nothing to do with puppies, but look at the results:
www.meddybemps.com/wordpuppies. If you are a parent or teacher, give it a try.