My son loves this exercise that we have been doing recently so I thought I would share and show you step by step how I do it. I used to do this in my teaching days, but the old school way with photos of my students and pictures from a magazine – this is the new school way! It might take you a while the first time, but once you get the hang of it, you can knock them out fairly quickly – and it is fun!
What you need:
☆ An action shot of your child
☆ Photoshop or similar software
☆ Pages or similar word processing software
☆ A dangerous situation image – google image “free wallpaper” + specific search term, for example, polar bear.
First, open Photoshop and open your ‘action image’ and your ‘dangerous situation image’. Use the magnetic lasso tool and lasso around your child, this isn’t going to end up on the font of a magazine, so don’t worry about how accurate the lasso is. You may however need to play with the settings depending on the contrast of your child compared to the background.
Once you have the whole of the child selected, double click. That will select the whole of your child. Then it is just a matter of cut and paste it onto your ‘adventure image’. As you can see I flipped my boy over so he is facing the opposite direction and resized him a bit, play around with the placement too, until you have a fun image. Then save as a jpeg file.
You could do the rest in Photoshop too but I have a template set up in Pages. Open Pages (or other word processing software) for your template you want a line at the top for the title. Space for the image and then lines for writing their story, I suggest using double spacing for younger children. Save that as a template and then all you need to do is add a your picture. If you are using Pages you need insert/choose. You can then resize it and add a frame if you like.
All you need to do now is print it out and find a child to write a story for you! At the moment I am leaving it as a free writing exercise for Ebi-kun, so he writes as he likes. I want him to enjoy the experience rather than it be a drill or exercise. In the future I will ask him to write in a certain style, third person, as if it is a news report, a dream or a diary so that he can practice different writing styles and tenses.
When he has finished, I read it over and ask him if he can spot any mistakes, sometimes he can and he will change them by himself. Apart from that I don’t correct the paper, this might go against some peoples way of thinking but as I said I want him to do this for fun, to fall in love with writing. I DO however make a note of repeated mistakes, and then give him a quick lesson at a later date, on things that he is struggling with.
Of course, if you are not so computer savvy, you can do this the old school way with magazines and photos of your kids.
Top Tip! If you child is struggling to start, show them how to brainstorm to help them get the creative juices flowing and I suggest giving them 2 or 3 pages to choose from, you will find that they are drawn to one of them. You know your child best, some kids like to mull over the picture before they can start writing, others will dive straight in. It would be fun to bundle all the stories together to make a book.
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