Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Squiggles, Curls, and Wiggly Lines

I'm so excited for this guest post by my friend, veteran teacher (now retired), world-traveler, and children's author, Ann Stalcup! She began to write because she wanted to share her experiences with young people and to instill in them the same sense of wonder and curiosity that she's felt throughout her life. She's written everything from her autobiography during WWII, a biography of artist Leo Politi, teacher resource books, and a fantastic collection of non-fiction multli-cultural books! Click here to read more about Ann.
Other than frequent mini lessons on punctuation, I don’t TEACH creative writing. I inspire “FLOW.” Yet teachers ask me about my creative writing techniques. College students thank me for “teaching” them to write.

Years ago, a colleague, Carolyn Tokunaga, drew a squiggle which each student developed into an illustrated story. It was a great success. Together, Carolyn and I created a book, Swirls, Curls, and Wiggly Lines containing 179 different squiggles. It is a highly successful technique for consistently producing uniquely different illustrations and highly imaginative stories.
As each student incorporates the squiggle into a drawing, a story evolves in each mind. And since each story is different, every child is enthralled by the imagination of their classmates. With teacher guidance, students share their stories, the students themselves praising clever illustrations, imaginative stories, and strong vocabulary. By sharing ideas, students teach themselves to write creatively and improve their own skills. These swirls work equally well for grades one through five. Excellent as a once-a-week homework assignment or a spare time activity. The idea has been used successfully by numerous teachers. Students of all ages love them! See first drafts below:
You can draw your own squiggle, curl or wiggly line to get your students started! You'll be amazed at how their creativity flows! For more tips for young writers, click here.
Thanks, Ann!! You can also check out Ann's 183-page book with ready-made lined templates here!

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