The Magic Door
It started with a squabble over a long cardboard tube. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted some children stabbing it with scissors, and others trying to grab it away. I jumped in and asked what they were doing. Turned out they wanted to cut it up and make guns.
So I said no to that.
And I told them I thought the beauty of that tube was its length. If we cut it up, we would wreck it. Couldn’t we think of something else to make out of it.
‘A key’, he said.
‘Great’, I said ‘Go and draw what you want the key to look like, and we will work out how to make it’.
He drew the key. He found some tiny boxes to be the teeth. (Head first in the huge basket with his feet waving while he looked for the small boxes in the bottom.) He found some masking tape, and taped the teeth to the tube. I reminded him to make it strong. I showed him how to add cross pieces to make it stronger. I said ‘It is called reinforcing’, and he nodded and said ‘My Mum told me that’.
A friend jumped in and added an extra layer of tape to cover up holes in the boxes. He had to negotiate with some others to get the short rounds of tube he wanted to make the handle end with. Other mates added a bit here and there, or talked, or watched.
I sent a few of them to draw the door. Again, he was the one who delivered.
He collected another pile of boxes and started to build a lock with his mates helping.
While they were busy, I snuck out with his drawing and copied it onto the fence.
When we went outside, I told them the Magic Door was out there somewhere. I showed them the drawing. They searched for it. They looked in the fort. They looked on the hill. They started digging for it in the sandpit.
Then one of them found it. He called out excitedly. They all came running. ‘Yes’, they said ‘ That is the Magic Door’. He went inside and brought out the key.
I sat them down in front of the door.
I asked ‘Is this a real door, or a magic door?’ And they said ‘Magic’.
I asked ‘Is this a real key, or a magic key?’ And they said ‘Magic’.
‘So where is it going to take us? Out into the lane, or to a magic place?’ And they said ‘Magic’.
I told them they could go to a magic place. They could open the Magic Door with the magic key and go wherever they like, in their imagination. I told them I would like to hear later where they went.
I took a photo of each of them using the magic key to open the Magic Door. Then they ran off to play.
Later, he made a book. He stapled 8 pages together. He cried when they came apart. I helped him make it stronger. Then he drew in it.
I managed to upload the photos and put them into a PowerPoint on my laptop in the latter part of the class. We had mat time at the end of the three hour class.
I showed them his drawings, and the key they had made. I used the PowerPoint to tell them the story of the Magic Door.
Then I invited him to read his book. He got up and ‘read’ it to his classmates. He told them about going up a high mountain, and flying on the back of a giant bird.
And we were both very pleased.