We were out camping one weekend when my son was four years old. The weather was rather nice on that trip so we took the tent. As any four year old would do, he found the hammer rather fun. To avoid having the hammer create more damage than I could fix, I traded him the hammer for my digital voice recorder (does not sound like an even swap, huh?). I shared with him the record and stop buttons and turned him loose for the next hour. He was pacing all over that campsite during that hour, but I was able to get the tent and other supplies set-up.
Later that evening, I plugged the recorder into my laptop to delete his recordings of the car radio and other unique noises he discovered. But through this process I came across his first literacy creation: the story.
It seems as though he became very engaged with the ability to record and hear himself. Following the model he has known since birth, he wanted to hear a story. My wife and I have read a book to him every night since birth (my wife started even before that). Since we were busy setting up camp, he created his own story, and I found it on the recorder. To me, it is a priceless piece of his academic and creative growth that I am extremely pleased to have archived. When I shared it with my wife, she was just as proud as I was, but neither of us were as proud as he. With our discussion of what was so great about it and how it sounded “really professional” and like a “real author,” he accepted my offer to add sounds to it so it sounded like the story CD’s he listened to.
I loaded the file into Garageband and sat him next to me. As the story played, he told me when to stop and what sounds to put where. He asked for scary music since it was a pirate story, after all. Then he requested waves and parrots (he got a rooster instead) and more.
As we wrapped it up for the evening, we reviewed the product. I tell you, sitting around the campfire with his story playing audibly reminded my wife and me of the scary stories we sat around telling when we were kids. But we never did it like this, and we were not four years old.
So listen and enjoy my son’s first digital story. And remember that a four year old did this. Don’t say your students or children are not capable of being creative. Sometimes you just need to take away the hammer and give them a more productive tool.
Download The Pirate Story by Christian Floyd