Tapping-Out-Tales Together


The plot for this tale was brainstormed with my fellow creative, Makayla, an outstanding first grader in Cinnaminson. With about 90% of the tale written, we presented it to Makayla's classmates and teachers. They got highly involved and suggested the ending. It's a good one. Maybe you can make it even better when you tap out your choices for character names, descriptions and some verbs.

After you tap the BEGIN button, you will get more than 30 sets of choices to make. The last one will be to choose a title. Before you choose, try to figure out what the tale is about. Then read the tale aloud! Try again with friends or family to build the story with different choices.

Today, June 2, Makayla led us in playing this tale. She even found a couple of mistakes! She's awesome! Mrs. R's entire class impressed me with their choices and reading their parts!

Now it's your turn. Read and imagine!

Glad you want to give it another go. Or, you can Tap Out a Different Tale.

Like me, this concept, is a work in progress. eMail me what you liked, how to improve, and if you'd like me (and young students) to write more of these Tap-it-out-Together Tales.

*If you're a parent or educator and you'd like to create a story or learning game with me in your class or at an educational event, I'm game. Start the conversation by sending me an eMail.

Directions go here.

xxxThe Uprooting

It's May 12 and not one tree on the entire xxxNew Albany School playground has a single leaf on it. That means no shade.

"Man is it xxxhot out,” complains xxxChristopher. "You can fry an egg on my head!”

"xxxYuck. There goes my appetite for a week," says xxxLauren, cringing.

"Why is it so xxxawfully hot?” asks xxxCasey.

"Yeah, it's not even summer yet,” adds xxxTaylor.

"It's because of climate change,” xxxnotes xxxMia. She's the class xxxwhiz kid. Also, her older sister is the weather person on KYX radio and she knows that stuff.

"What's climate change?” asks xxxTaylor.

"We got Mother Nature xxxmad at us and climate change is her way of getting even,” snaps xxxGianna.

"We shouldn't xxxdisrespect Mother Nature,” adds xxxMichael, just as he pulls up a clump of grass from the playground.

"Hey, don't do that,” warns xxxMia.

"Why not? It's just grass.”

"Yeah, to you. But for Mother Nature, that could be her xxxhair.”

"And, that's messing with Mother Nature.”

"There's no such thing,” xxxlaughs xxxLauren.

Suddenly, the playground shakes.

"Earthquake,” screams xxxIsaiah. "Let's get out of here.”

"You can't outrun an earthquake,” blurts xxxCasey.

"It's not an earthquake. New Jersey doesn't get earthquakes,” xxxnotes Zeynep.

The earth shakes again. Bigger. Louder.

"Sure feels like an earthquake,” says xxxJake.

xxxIsaiah is right, not about New Jersey never having earthquakes, but THIS is NOT an earthquake. It is more of a xxxfreak shake. And the cause is….?

"You people,” cries an eery, xxxother worldly, whistling voice that no one ever heard before or hopes to hear again.

All the kids turn around expecting to see a xxxghost. When they see no one, xxxChristopher demands, "who said that? And, where are you?”

The rest of the children are too scared to speak. If they could muster the courage to open their mouths they would xxxshriek "xxxhelp!" As the kids turn back around the voice warns, "you people can't just do whatever you want, whenever you want… wherever you want.”

"Why is that invisible whatever it is blaming us?" wonders xxxCasey. "We're not PEOPLE people. Like adults. We're just xxxkids."

"Maybe this is our fault,” xxxguesses xxxIsaiah. "We aren't taking good care of the earth.”

"What do you mean? What do we do that bad?” asks xxxJulia, looking as innocent as a seven year old can.

"We litter on Mother Earth.”

"We drive cars over her,” says xxxJake.

"And trucks.”

"Yeah, big, fat trucks filled with xxxnasty coal that we burn,” says xxxChristopher.

"And, that makes a xxxbig mess in the sky," adds xxxMia.

"That chokes me up," coughs the voice. "You're killing me."

"We are so sorry," Lauren apologizes.

"It's not just me. You're poisoning animals, slaughtering insects and bees,” reminds the voice. "And giving yourselves all kinds of xxxdiseases."

"Whoever is saying this, needs to stop hiding!” demands xxxJake, crushing an ant hill as he steps toward the voice.

The middle of the concrete playground cracks and a giant tree root xxxspirals into the air wrapping itself around xxxLauren, xxxGianna, and xxxJake.

"Help!” screams xxxLauren.

"Put me down,” shouts xxxJake.

"Higher,” encourages xxxMichael, jumping onto the end of the root hoping to hitch a ride to the moon or maybe even xxxMars.

The higher he rises the louder xxxMichael laughs. xxxTaylor races off to find a teacher. She is so blinded by worry and fear she collides into xxxMrs. Rainear, nearly knocking the fully grown adult over.

Our hero stays focused and marches onward with water hose in hand. The children flinch in fear thinking they're going to get xxxpunished for breaking the playground.

Instead, xxxMrs. Rainear wisely aims the hose at the roots of the angry uprooting tree. While the tree devours the water, xxxChristopher, xxxIsaiah, xxxMichael, and xxxJake hurry off to get buckets of dirt to refill the broken ground. xxxGianna, xxxCasey, xxxTaylor, xxxMia, and the rest of the xxxkids get bags to gather up the litter on the playground and around the school.

When the uprooting tree sees that the "people" may be pulling away or "uprooting" from their path of destroying the earth, the tree begins to gently wave its branches providing a breeze to cool the xxxkids while they begin to heal the world.

After spending the rest of lunch and recess watering the trees and picking up litter, the children join xxxMrs. Rainear under the now beautiful, giant, xxxgentle tree that just a short while back sounded like a xxxghost. Large, shade-giving leaves bloom on the tree and all the other trees.

"Wow, it's so nice out now," declares xxxChristopher.

"Bet you can't fry an egg on your head anymore," says xxxGianna.

"No, it's as cool as an ice pop."

"Eggs, ice pops, I'm getting hungry," says xxxMichael. That boy is always hungry. A xxxbright red apple falls onto xxxMichael's knee and bounces into his hand. "Thanks," says xxxMichael, thinking xxxChristopher tossed it to him. He's wrong.

xxxVictoria's eyes bulge with amazement. "That xxxbright red apple just dropped out of that tree." No tree on the xxxNew Albany playground ever bore fruit before.

"We need to do this more often!" declares xxxMrs. Rainear.

"Earth Day once a week!" exclaim the children.

"WORTH DAY! That's what we should call it," says xxxGianna, cleverly combining "week" and "earth" to make the perfect word for their efforts. "Because taking care of our planet is really – "

"A WORTHwhile thing to do," agrees the once mystical voice that now sounds as friendly as your favorite uncle. "Thank you, xxxkids. You saved my life."

Don't take this the wrong way, but 23 xxxkids and one superhero adult just became tree huggers. And, the tree, well, listen for yourself to hear how it feels.

"Okay, okay. Good hug. Easy on the bark... And watch my roots, they're sensitive... Yeah, yeah, I love you, too."

Educators and Parents...

Adhering to the DO-and-YOU-will-LEARN philosophy, kids and I have been doing stories like this for years. Now as a kind of app, you can do it without me. Please let me know what you think. If you want me to create more of these email WE WANT MORE.

Make Contact

On second thought, if you're as excited about engaging students in creative thinking as I am, invite me to your class or educational event. We can brainstorm your story. If you're not within my sphere of travel, maybe we can iChat, Google or Skype call. To get the process started, shoot me an email. Cost?... You decide what it's worth to you and what you can afford.

©2016 DoAndYouWillLearn