Tapping-Out-Tales Together


Hey New Albany second graders, help me finish this tale while having fun!

Here's how: read the groups of choices and choose the ones you like best. Then read the tale and help brainstorm how it should end. Ready?...

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.

The Mystery of Goody-goody Guzman

When Ms Almy throws out a question, the first hand up every time belongs to guess who?… Griffin Guzman, that’s who. Science, spelling, math, the second the words "who," "what," "where," "when" or "why" gallop out of any teacher’s mouth, up goes Griffin’s perfectly shaped, clean as a whistle hand.

Naturally, the teacher calls on him. He modestly rises, then responds correctly and precisely. Ms Almy, or whomever is in charge, says glowingly, "well done, Griffin. Thank you."

Griffin smiles just wide enough to allow a flash of light to carom off his gleaming teeth as he softly shoots back, "golly-gee Ms Almy, you don’t have to thank me." Or, "oh gee, I should be thanking you for teaching us, Mr. Sanford." That’s Sweatpants Sanford, our grizzled old P.E. teacher who doesn't even talk to kids. Sweatpants only grunts or growls at kids, except for Griffin Guzman.

Is it any wonder we call him Goody-goody Guzman? Griffin has been his class’s first responder ever since kindergarten when Mrs. Sharmaquin asked "who would like to be my sanitation engineer?" Who in pre-school would even know what an engineer is, never mind sanitation? Winslow didn’t even know and both his parents and all six of his grandparents are sanitation engineers. How’d Winslow get six grandparents, you wonder? We asked, but halfway into Winslow's explanation, we had to stop him because our heads were about to explode. Winslow is what my gramps would call overly loquacious.

Back to Goody-goody. On paper, he really is a great kid. In fact, if you never had to compete against him or be compared to him, you’d probably be totally gaga for Goody-goody. You like sports? Griffin is the fastest runner, highest jumper, and best soccer player in our grade. You want to win in baseball? Get on Griff’s team. No one can hit his curveball. Not even Sweatpants. You read right. The kid can throw a legit curveball. And, oh by the way, he makes eight out ten foul shots, even when the basket is regulation height. You would think someone that physically gifted would have a bit of an attitude, you know be bossy, bully, or mock those of us with lesser ability. Nope. He’s as polite as an English great aunt.

The most impressive thing about Griffin Guzman, at least what impresses teachers the most, is that in the past year and a half, Griffin has not made one mistake on a test, any test. He hasn’t even spelled a word wrong when scribbling out stories straight out of his imagination.

One day in first grade after Goody-goody spelled all the months, named all the planets and described every dinosaur that ever thumped the earth Sydney called out, "are you related to Albert Einstein or something?"

"I wish," answered Griff modestly, then quipped, "but there’s no relativity between us. And that’s not just theory."

Mrs. G seemed to get quite a kick out of his answer. She even said, "nicely played, Mr. Guzman." The rest of us didn’t have a clue what was going on or why she would call a seven year old mister. That happens a lot. Teachers and Griffin often share a special moment while the rest of us scratch our still developing minds.

Makayla , who is kind of a genius herself, thinks Griffin is probably smarter than Albert Einstein. He’s the only one who understood Winslow ’s explanation for how he wound up with six grandparents. I bet Albert Einstein himself would have had trouble deciphering that one.

Are you beginning to understand why most kids in the second grade at New Albany School wish Goody-goody Guzman would just go-go away? He’s raising expectations through the roof. Normally, when kids as old as second graders whine or complain, even roll our eyes at too much homework or protest a test that was too tough, teachers kind of feel bad, right? Not anymore here at New Albany School. Nope, teachers just smile confidently, shake their heads, and glance toward Goody-goody while asking, "Did anyone get this work done without having to stay up all night doing it?" Or, "Did anyone find this test fair and reasonable?" Boom! Before the teacher can finish the question, Goody-goody's hand waves like Old Glory on a breezy spring day. When called on he says, "I did. It was really fun."

Fun! Who tells a teacher a test or homework was fun?

Quite honestly, some of the kids have had it up to their eyeballs with Goody-goody Guzman.

"I hope aliens land and transport that whizbang back to whatever planet he comes from," moans Lauren.

"I bet he lives in a giant mansion with 10 million books," guesses CJ.

"With servants who read to him all night long," Christopher piles on.

"Anyone ever been to his house?" wonders Mia.

All shake their heads.

"Hmm." That’s curious, thinks Anabelle. No play dates. No birthday parties. No car pooling to someone else’s party. That's evidence enough for Anabelle to suggest, "maybe Griffin Guzman is a plant."


"You know, he's not a real kid. He’s an adult actor brought in by Principal Layden to make us better through competition."

"I’ve got three inches and twenty pounds on him. He’s not an adult," insists Christopher.

"Could be a little person," says Makayla , using the politically correct term for a very undersized adult.

"I’m going with CJ. and Christopher," concludes Jonathan. "My theory is Goody-goody's mom and dad are billionaires and they have an army of tutors and trainers to make him the smartest and the best in sports."

"His mansion probably has a gym and indoor swimming pool," adds Mia.

"One of us should follow him home and spy on him. Who’s on his bus?" asks Lauren.

Out of nine kids you would think somebody rides the same bus as Griffin. Apparently not. Since school rules say you can only ride your own bus –

"This may be tougher than I thought," says Jonathan.

"Not necessarily," says Michael. "I’ll tell Goody-goody I want to come over and play Chess with him."


"Got to go inside his house to do that. I’ll be able to check out the servants and count the books."

Sounds like a good plan until Michael approaches Griff with the idea the next day at lunch.

"Chess? You? Yeah, sure. Sounds delightful," says Griff. "Write your address down and –"

"I was thinking at your mans–, I mean house."

"My house?…" Griff gulps. "Uh, let me think. Maybe next week or the week after."

"I was thinking tomorrow." Michael counters firmly. When Griffin hesitates, Michael throws in, "or are you chicken?"

The thought of Michael beating him at anything, makes Griffin laugh. He pats Michael on the back and promises, "I’ll check. Really."

Michael gets the feeling that Griff has no intention of checking. So he pushes the issue a little further. "If you give me your address, I’ll get it on Google Maps and send it to my mom's phone so she can drive me over."

Google Maps is the most interesting thing second graders are learning in school. Michael has explored the streets of Tokyo, London, and Moscow. Ms Almy says Michael is more knowledgeable than she is at Googling. In fact, he's almost as good at it as… Goody-goody Guzman. Even if Griffin doesn't agree to play with him, once he has the address Michael can fully explore Goody-goody's mansion on Google!

"Sorry, Michael, I have to go. I have to see the nurse."

Like that, Griffin is gone. Michael has a sneaking suspicion that Goody-goody Guzman doesn’t want him to come over. Goody-goody doesn’t even want Michael or anybody to know where he lives. Goody-goody Guzman is hiding something. The question is WHAT.

What’s Griffin Guzman's secret?

What should happen next?

How would you like this story to end?

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.

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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.

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