Sunday, April 10, 2016

Spark the Fire of Creativity - Report on Dragana Andrić’s Session

In this inspiring and highly interactive workshop, Dragana Andrić managed to engage us all through tasks which sparked our creativity and turned writing into a fun, meaningful way of communicating ideas.

Right from the very start, Dragana set us a task that instantly energized our thoughts. “What would you do if you had a super power, or if a fairy could grant you a wish?” We were asked to put our thoughts on paper and then, Dragana told us a story about a wish that went wrong! In her story the character makes a wish and actually gets what he wishes for, only to find out that the reality does not live up to his fantasy. “Be careful what you wish, because you might just get it”! Prompted by this story, we were all asked to read someone else’s wish and write what could go wrong! It was so much fun to surprise others and be surprised by all those unexpected “twists of fate”!

                                                                                                                       Photo by Margarita Kosior
In the second activity we were assigned to create our own characters using indirect characterization. Indirect characterization is a process by which the writer reveals the personality of a character, without telling things, but by showing. The reader gradually finds out what kind of person the character is through his thoughts, words, looks, actions and effects on others. To stimulate us, Dragana showed us pictures of different types of homes and asked us to choose the ideal one. Then, she asked us to imagine we were a completely different person, living in that house. Using indirect characterization we had to reveal information about our character related to origin, profession and marital status. While writing and reading our stories, it became obvious that showing rather than telling is an approach that allows for more creativity and imagination not only for the writer but also for the reader. 

 “Weaving a textile story” was the title of the next activity and it was already enough to arouse curiosity and entice us into participating. Divided in pairs, we were given a piece of fabric and were assigned to brainstorm anything noteworthy about it. Then, in a second stage, we had to orally spin a story, in which the piece of fabric would serve as a central element. Pairs were, then, combined into groups of four and the task was to “weave” both our stories into one! Crafting a story together like this and being able to draw upon each other’s strengths and ideas was an excellent way for fostering creativity and a great opportunity for sharing and communicating.

                                                                                                                       Photo by Margarita Kosior
In her last activity, Dragana shared with us one of her favourite poems, “The Geography Lesson”, by Brian Patten. The poem talks about a geography teacher who always shared his enthusiasm and love for his subject with his students and whose dream was to sail to all those “places he had only known through maps”. Sadly, however, he never managed to follow his dreams. Our task, in this activity, was to think of a different, optimistic outcome and write a follow-up verse, “helping” the teacher fulfill his dreams!

Challenging, thought-provoking and definitely fun activities to fire up our students’ creative spark and get them not only interested but also excited with writing!

Report by Aspa Georgopoulou

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