Le jour où Chris Van Allsburg fut invité chez Peter Wenders, il découvrit quatorze dessins qui, chacun, telles les pièces d’une énigme en images, fournissaient des indications sur d’autres images plus grandes. Mais nous n’avons toujours pas la clé des mystères que renferment ces dessins. Les solutions se trouvent en un lieu à la fois fort proche et fort éloigné. Elles se trouvent au coeur de notre imagination.
Writing Skill 1: I generate ideas in a variety of ways.
Writing Skill 4: I write so my thoughts flow smoothly and are easy to read.
Writing Skill 5: I carefully choose the most effective words to express my ideas.
Writing Skill 7: I use my personal style to make my writing unique.
Note: Activities described in steps (1) and (2) are optional. If you wish, you can use a biliteral approach and introduce the topic successfully in an English language arts program. Steps (3) and on are to be done in French.
(1) Read the CBC article “Borrow a ‘Human Book’ and Hear their Story,” then discuss the power of story telling. Ask students to conduct an interview for homework. They should find someone with an interesting story to tell and take note of what makes their story interesting. Is it the content of the story, or the way in which it is told? Have them discuss their findings next class.
(2) Ask students to write down their favourite word. Have students share words, and ask them to consider what makes a word interesting. Discuss how these words could be considered “power words,” because they are naturally more descriptive or memorable, and explain how it is important to include these types of words in creative writing.
(3) Show students a series of (five to seven) provocative images and ask them to write down a power word for each.
(4) Instruct students to use these power words as the basis for their Free Write activity.
(5) Post four to six pictures from The Mysteries of Harris Burdick, along with their accompanying titles and first lines, around the classroom and have students go on a Gallery Walk.
(6) Ask students to choose one picture and write a story, using the title and first line that goes with it. Remind them to consider the discussion in the pre-reading lesson that illustrated memorable story telling techniques.
(7) Hand out the Inventaire personnel and have students assess their writing as they write their stories.
(8) Split the class into groups of four, and have students share their stories within their groups.
(10) Assign a final draft to be completed with input from the revision checklist.
(11) Continue to provide an opportunity to extend this lesson into your English Language Arts program by reading aloud Stephen King’s short story, “The House on Maple Street,” which is inspired by one of the pictures in The Mysteries of Harris Burdick.