Think of where a dragon might like to fly to…

Here we tell what happened on day 2 of Storyplay with dragons in the classroom with Sive Mbolekwa and Sara Stanley. See our blog, “Dragon mode – the story comes alive!” for day 1…

How exciting! The class teacher rushes out of the classroom to catch the post person. She returns with a giant envelope. Amid gasps and imaginings, the contents of the envelope are revealed. The children notice immediately that the large piece of paper inside has writing on it and, even more mysteriously, that it is burnt and scorched. A child whispers “idragon”. The class teacher encourages the children to read the words with her and Sive challenges them to think. The dragon is not happy living where it is and wishes to travel to new places. Can the children think about a place the dragon might like to fly away to?

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While the children think and share thoughts with each other, we distribute six large sheets of paper and drawing materials. Despite the class teacher’s reservation that the children would find it too hard to organise themselves into groups, they did exactly that. With no adult direction they settled eagerly around the papers and began the task of designing a place fit for a dragon. It was fascinating to stand back from a minor dispute in one group, where ideas and sharing of space on the paper clashed. Without intervention the girls involved worked through the problem and harmony was restored with both ideas given life on the paper. A reminder that we have to allow children to stay with the troubles in order to recognise and develop collaboration and understanding.

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As the imagined worlds neared completion, the children noticed that there were now materials and resources around the classroom that they could use to bring the dragon and its environment to life.

Again without direction the children were able to explore and settle at any of the areas. We stood back to see what would happen. Many children were very keen to recreate the dragon den in the fantasy corner. Pegging and draping fabric over and over again, the process of transforming a space more important to them than the playing inside the space. As they organised the different fabrics, two girls spoke about how they were making a dragon party place. In the whole time the den was never finished but constantly changed as fabric was twisted, pegged and tied with sparkly pipe cleaners. Ropes were tied, untied and re-tied multiple times with concentration and planning.

Children had discovered dough on a table and a selection of dried spikey leaves, prickly seed cases and long thin pods that looked just like dragon tails. Without direction the first of many dragons appeared before our eyes.

As the lesson edged to a close, a group of boys fetched an empty sand tray lid and started to play boats in it. They found oars and sticks for fishing lines. As I observed I wondered where the story might go next. Who knows, maybe the dragon could sail away in his private boat to a place where unknown things live…..?

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