Monday, December 7, 2015

Microstory 206: Captain PRIS and Little Suzie

My sister works internationally as an elementary music teacher. She first spent two years in Egypt, she’s in the middle of two years in Indonesia, and she’s going to Panama next. She started a project with her students to teach them how to be resourceful, and asked me to help write a story. I wrote the first part under my sister’s guidance, but then took ideas from the children for the next two parts. Here’s what we came up with together, starting with an introduction for the kids.

Hello! My name is Nick Fisherman, and I'm working hard to be an author. You don't know me, but my sister, Ms. Megan works at your school. I'm having a little trouble finishing my latest story, so maybe you can help me. Here's how it begins:

Part I
Captain PRIS has the ability to learn any skill, as long as he keeps trying and never gives up. One day, he and Little Suzie travel with her classmates on a boat to Coconut Island. The two of them are busy learning about the different kinds of rocks on one side of the island, and they miss the boat to go back home. “Oh, no!” Suzie cries. “We don't have any food! And we can't just drink water from the ocean because it's too salty! What are we going to do?”

“Don't worry,” Captain PRIS replies. “Everything we need should be on this island. We just need persevere, and be resourceful.”

What can Little Suzie and Captain PRIS do for food and water?

Part II
“I have an idea!” Little Suzie says excitedly when she notices a group of monkeys in the trees nearby. She walks towards the monkeys and listens to them. After only a few minutes, Little Suzie has learned enough of their monkey language to speak to them. She asks them politely if they could climb the trees and drop down some coconuts for them. Coconuts are a good to eat, and there’s also fresh water inside.

“Good idea!” Captain PRIS says back to her. “We still need a way out of here,” he says to himself. He looks up and sees birds flying overhead. Then he gets an idea of his own. “Hey, Little Suzie! Could you ask the monkeys to drop down some palm leaves too?”

What will Captain PRIS and Little Suzie do next?

Part III
Little Suzie listens to the birds as they fly overhead. Like with the monkeys before, she quickly learns how to speak Bird. She uses her new skills to ask the birds how it’s possible for them to fly. Using this new understanding of flight, they weave the palm leaves and tie them to their arms. They fly off the island, and start the long journey back to the mainland. “My arms are getting too tired!” Little Suzie yells over to Captain PRIS after a while.

“I’m getting tired as well!” Captain PRIS yells back. “It will take us a lot longer to get home, but I know where we can find a boat!” The two resourceful friends change direction and, instead of flying towards home, they head for Shipwreck Island. Once there, Captain PRIS says, “we need to figure out how to build a boat that floats out of all of these wrecked ships.”

Little Suzie searches amongst the many boat wrecks and eventually finds books that tell them how to build boats. They tear off parts of the old boats that are still useful, and put them back together to build a brand new boat. They then sail off back home, and have a great story to tell all of their friends.

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