You are probably thinking right now: “Oh no! Ryan is at again and now he’s made a new character out of Perler Beads, what can he be doing now.” As many of you know for the last two years, I have been reading and practicing the Teach like a Pirate way by Dave Burgess. Just this last week, the newest book, Play like a Pirate by Quinn Rollins was released. Sadly, I’m still waiting on my copy (errr!) to arrive, but that doesn’t mean I can’t start using a little PlayLap, XPLAP and Tlap together to create a fun writing lesson.
Above is my new buddy Pirate Duck, based on Rollins’ rubber ducky he uses for a lot of his lessons. My new prompt for my middle school students for writing is to use Perler Beads as an introduction to writing. I have used everything from Powerman and Iron Fist to Jiji St Math achievement badges in the last couple of months. How this lesson works is when students walk in for the day, they see Pirate Duck sitting on something, in this case, he is resting on Google Drawings, which means students must create a story lesson using Pirate Duck with Google Drawings. This can be anything from a Double Entry Journal to creating story slides they can later use with Google Slides, Sway or even Adobe Slate.
Next, I put out my Pez dispensers. I have three emoji types and they will determine the mood of the story, in this case the crying happy emoji. This means the students have to make this story about Pirate Duck not only comical, but really comical. I give them an option to play their digital switch card, where they can switch out the emoji for another type if they feel they can’t write a story using the shown emoji. The next is my Minion Pez dispenser. Now, the ease way would be them using a Minion in the story, but I want my students to really dig into their creativity. So, they have to use aspects of the Minion in their story. This can be from curiosity, to slap stick humor to love of bananas. I leave it pretty open, but they can’t use a Minion, not even Bob (sorry).
From there, the students will create their stories and then share them with the class anyway they like as I mentioned earlier. This is a simple creativity writing process that allows for a lot of play with students’ stories and to step out and use their various writing tools. Give it a try today.