How I PiBoIdMo

PiBoIdMo: Picture Book Idea Month is coming! Get ready! Also, this awesome artwork was created by Vin Vogel!

PiBoIdMo: Picture Book Idea Month is coming! Get ready! Also, this awesome artwork was created by Vin Vogel!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! While November drags on, I get through it with all of my virtual friends who are also PiBoIdMoing.

I use my position as a primary teacher to my advantage. While many might say, “Oh, I don’t have time for that! I’m busy teaching!” I say, “Ohhh, ideas? That’s in the curriculum! And what better way to engage my students than to share my own writing. It’s ‘modelled writing’ after all!” So, I can hit two of those birds with one stone, leaving me with a pile of stones to toss at the nay sayers who think picture books are (this hurts) EASY to write.

I always make a table on chart paper – the big stuff – with a bright marker, and list 1-30 down the side. I add a column for the date, a column for the idea, and a column to check off if the kids liked it.

Yes, I share EVERY IDEA with the kids. This helps me in so many way:

1) I have to say my ideas out loud, so they actually need to make sense in some way. I’m trying to impress these kids.

2) I have to come up with a new idea every day. Have you ever promised an eight year old something? If you don’t follow through … you’ll hear about it. A lot.

3) The kids – my target audience – give their feedback. “No, the main character should be a gorilla, not a farting clown. That would be way cooler.” Check. “I think we already read that book … ‘Where the Wild Things Are?’ C’mon, Mr. Patrick.” Oh. Right. “CAN YOU READ IT TO US?!” No, it’s not written … yet. BUT IT WILL BE, TONIGHT!

4) I’m covering off the ideas section of the language curriculum as well as a pile of oral communication skills through all of the discussions, and probably a bunch of others, too. As I sit here thinking about it, I realize we’re talking about elements of fiction and non-fiction, debating, organizing thoughts, and getting creative.

5) Once I start sharing, I find ideas in everyONE and everyTHING. That kid who leaves his water bottle by the projector every. single. day.? BAM! Idea. The sassy lassy who loves making the boys feel awkward? That one writes itself. The kid who picks his nose and “hides” it under the table? Yeah, I’ll add that to the list, too. Score!

I keep the chart paper up as a reminder, and sometimes throughout the day, I can even add to it. At the end of the month, I take that paper home and type it up into a document that I call the Master List. It’s got a spot for the idea number, the title, the premise/overall idea, writability, notes & thoughts, if it’s been written, if it’s been submitted, and if it’s been published.

You may not have a class to do it with, but why not try it with your office pals? That could be interesting. Actually, it sounds like a picture book for adults waiting to happen … off I go!

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4 responses to “How I PiBoIdMo

  1. some terrific tips here to keep motivated. Well done and thanks for sharing.

  2. So true! Kids are an inspiration. I find myself asking kids for help, too. Thanks for the great post.

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