New Year, New Stories!


For one of our activities this month, we made magnetic stories using Magnetic Poetry® tiles. Magnetic Poetry® tiles were created by Dave Kapell to help him get over his writer's block by placing magnetic words on the fridge for him to rearrange. The idea proved popular and his company now produces many magnetic kits, including fun themes such as Shakespeare, words of encouragement, book lover, and cat poems.

For our sessions I purchased Magnetic Poetry® Kids Story Maker kit. I chose this set in particular because I wanted the residents to get to create  the story they wanted but I also wished to provide some structure for those who wanted it. This kit contains short opening phrases, a selection of verbs and nouns, and short action phrases. I arranged the pieces into these categories and then numbered them in small containers. That way residents could choose from several options. We would start with an opening phrase, then the next person would select a noun, and the following person would pick an action and we would continue the story in this way.

At Lake in the Hills, Residents started their story “on a sunny day” and chose a dog to be the main subject. This led us to discussing pets we all had growing up or pets they remembered family members having. Lori and Dorothy then had the dog find a treasure full of yummy foods such as cakes and hotdogs. We went around the circle several times and the dog was joined by a rambunctious giraffe. Since we were all seated at a smaller table we had fun placing the magnets on a cookie sheet as it was more mobile and more visible than on the fridge.


At Ringwood, the ladies chose for their story to be about a friend. I thought this was a nice touch as that way they could each picture one of their own friends. We had the friend plant a garden and then gain a raccoon accomplice who watched the stars with them. Georgia laughed in particular at the notion of her friend climbing onto the roof. The scene brought up memories of the various wildlife we had seen at the Ringwood yard, such as some deer prancing through as well as a variety of birds seen flying by.

After assembling our stories, Residents were given the opportunity to draw what we created. For Residents who didn't want to draw themselves, I had them dictate to me what to sketch from the story. I tried my best but I think my racoon ended up looking more like a cat.  It was a fun exercise to discover how stories could be told in both words and pictures.



Continuing with the idea that words and pictures could be forged together to create a compelling story, we sat down to view an animated film to see the whole process in action. We settled in to watch a classic adventure story many were familiar with: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Specifically, the Rankin and Bass 1977 animated adaptation with the voice talents of Orson Bean and John Huston among others.  In the story, the homebody hobbit Bilbo is tasked by the wizard Gandalf to help a company of dwarves reclaim an ancient treasure from the dragon Smaug.

The film is a condensed version of the original tale but entertaining nonetheless. One of the highlights is the myriad of short songs performed including the goofy “Down, Down, to Goblin Town” and the heartwarming original ballad “The Greatest Adventure.” The Residents enjoyed listening to the music and following Bilbo’s journey as we all munched on popcorn. Jane in particular liked the film and was adamant the dwarves should not have to share their treasure.

Overall it was an enjoyable set of evenings of both houses and the magnet tiles will be a great way to continue to create new stories for a new year.


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