Ninjas, Pop Rocks and Turtles

Normally on the Friday before Spring Break you can tell that everyone’s mind is on one thing only... vacation! But last Friday there was a different kind of excitement in the air at P.S. 81. The Story Pirates were setting up in the auditorium, and the classrooms were all buzzing with anticipation. Whose stories were they going to perform?

A few weeks ago, two third grade classes and two fourth grade classes worked closely with the Story Pirate teaching artists to craft brand new short stories. During the residency the Pirates helped our kids create richly detailed characters like Zombie Fireman, Joshua the Singing Cheetah, and Movie Star Destiny. Each character had to overcome a few crazy obstacles before achieving their goals, and our students’ imaginations never ceased to amaze us!

Now it was performance day and a few stories were about to come to life! The entire school was invited to the performance to celebrate the authors. Around 9:15am the music started and the crowd cheered. First up was a story by 4th grader Cameron B. about Ninja Man who battles an evil dragon with rotten smelling food. Next, a story by 3rd grader Destiny S. about a girl named Amanda who was just trying to find some Pop Rocks (because they are her favorite candy ever, duh!) and instead ran into a crowd of zombies. The third story by 4th grader Damian M., was about Denzel and all the scary nightmares he was having. He dreamed about Rocky, Zombies (yes, more zombies) and his teachers! And last was a story by 3rd grader Kayla V. about Michelle’s sneaky Turtle who kept running off and hiding. (Oh, those pesky pet turtles).

After all four kids’ stories premiered, Nick, the MC for the day, led the audience in a whirlwind brainstorming session to create a new story from scratch as a group. As students added suggestions for new characters and plot twists, the Pirates acted each new scene out with hilarious perfection. The result was a story about a famous wrestler who instead of fighting, challenged his opponents to battles of “Rock, Paper, Scissors”, “The Ultimate Dance Off”, and “American Idol Karaoke.” Needless to say, everyone in the auditorium, including all the adults, could not stop laughing.

Each story had amazing twists and turns, and of course, incredibly creative solutions and endings. The loudest cheers of the morning came after each author’s name was called, making them feel like celebrities for the day. We couldn’t think of a better way to head off for spring break!

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