One of the most captivating and productive school visits I ever had was when I recently met with 50 Young Authors at the Union Ridge School in Harwood Heights, IL. In the first half, I presented Visual Storytelling using my latest illustrated picture book "One Day I Went Rambling" as a guide. In the second half, students read the first 2 minutes of their story, and as a class I led the discussion in helpful critique...what we liked, suggestions for improvement.
In between, the students had a visual challenge to exercise their imaginations. I showed my own "Illustration-A-Day" challenge where I created art from a "3 unrelated words" daily prompt. First, I showed the art I created from the words "lamb, night sky, microphone." After that, I just showed various other 3 words combinations and had them guess what an illustration might be. You could just see the gears turning, lightbulbs flashing, hands wildly waving. Eruptions of laughter and clapping ensued when their imaginations matched mine. Sometimes, their visual impressions were better. Sometimes they protested "Lizard was not one of the words." To which I answered, "I didn't say you COULDN'T put a lizard in!" Then we talked about using imagination in writing.
We even made the online school newsletter. Kid writers + Illustrator....what a great equation!