I am a very visual person. In order for my creative wheels to start turning in my head I have to have some type of visual inspiration. My daughter is the same way. Usually this little quirk of ours doesn't get in the way of learning. It's easy to find visual inspiration for art, crafts, photography, etc. However, writing fiction can be a problem for us, especially when we are suppose to create, design, and write a story that came directly from thin air.
I remember a learning technique that one of my teachers used when I was in the 7th grade and she was teaching us the basics of being creative when writing fiction. She would turn on classical music and tell us to close our eyes. While the music was playing we were suppose to daydream, something that fit the current song we were listening to. For instance; Flight of the Bumble Bees might create images of bees pollinating flowers or building their hive. Then we were to put the images verbally on paper. Even though this was an audio technique, it really helped me to visualize what it was I wanted to put onto the piece of paper. Once we had the visual of what we wanted to write about we wrote an outline, rough draft, and then final draft. I fell in love with writing after that.
Since I loved this technique so much I decided to try it on my daughter. While this technique works great for older students who are able to sit through an entire Beethoven song, my third grader was getting antsy. So I decided that maybe that wasn't the best technique for her.
I have been obsessed with old pictures since I was a little girl, and they near take over my "antique" room, so I decided to use one to get her creative juices flowing.
I pulled this picture out for her to use as a reference. This is one of my favorite old pictures and is labeled 1905 on the back along with the names of the family members. I didn't let her see the names of family members though, because I wanted her to get creative with it. Her first assignment was to name each of the family members and how they were related. Then she had to list some fun facts about each of them; such as little Suzy has a cat named Shadow and is allergic to peas.
Once she was done with the general "outline" of the family, I had her arrange the facts about the family and she picked out her favorite characters. Then we discussed what types of stories her favorite characters might have to share with us. For instance: Little Suzy's cat vanished one day while she was at school and she was heart broken. Then she created a story around Little Suzy's cat vanishing, and how she ended up finding her (my little girl could not stand an unhappy ending).
This turned out to be a very fun way to get her interested in writing fiction, and I think I will use some of my other old pictures to do more writing assignments. Maybe some pictures out of magazines too; pretty much anything to keep her interested and still writing!! :)