Jack has been writing a story. This is exciting, because it’s one of the first times we’ve been able to see him merge his delightfully hyperactive imagination with his budding reading and writing skills from 1st grade. He doesn’t particularly take to the rote style of the classroom and the homework assignments, so it’s nice to see him using those skills in other contexts.
Here’s an example. One of his homework assignments this week was “Write a 5-7 word sentence using each of these words: out, as, have, there.” Torture. Pure torture, getting him to do this. Tonight, in lieu of finishing up this homework page, he continued working on his story: “Back Through Time.” He’s drawn a picture of two scientists in a lab building a time machine, and then various panels showing them going through time (with little clock faces — that’s math homework in action) in the future dodging robot lasers and in the past running from cavemen and dinosaurs. He’s left space for captions on each page. Tonight he decided to work on the caption for the first page, and came up with: “There was a scientist named alfrt and his budeey Dude.” He originally was going to write “and his assistant Dude” but decided assistant was too long. I pointed out that he just wrote a sentence with ‘there’ in it, so now he could do that part of his homework. He started to copy the sentence over, with the intent of changing buddy to “pal”, but then just cut it off at the scientist’s name, and further, changed it to “Fa” (as in the note — from his music class).
Jack still has a wonderful if bizarrely accurate memory sometimes. When he went to spell the word “named,” Katherine suggested that he’s seen the word “Name” in other places before — meaning, the top of every single homework assignment he does, which has a space for his Name. Instead, Jack said, “Right, I remember!” and ran off. He came back with his alphabet book — the one he made in pre-school two years ago — and proceeded to page through all the letters (B for bubbles… E for eggs… J for Jell-O…) until he got to N, on which was written “Names” and the names of all his other classmates. Really? Huh. Okay then.
Here is the image he drew to explain to us a planet in the story. He walked us through what was going on. The numbers on the left side and the letters on the top (note his alphabet takes advantage of their recent lessons on U being a “buddy letter” — the alphabet goes “…MNOPQURSTUV…” These letters, he explained, are for locating the planets. For instance, the Earth (“did they invent camouflage by looking at the Earth? It’s the same sort of pattern, isn’t it?”) was at 8D and the big planet was at 6V. (“It’s just like Battleship, Dad.”) That’s the sun in the upper left, and also another galaxy nearby.
Now here’s what he drew on the back. You’ll see he has zoomed in on his grid, so he only shows the letters in the area he’s zoomed in on. (Hence the vertical line at “s” on the front… he wanted to see where that would put him.) He has drawn an alien ship which is flying near the planet. He has also drawn a smaller planet that we couldn’t see before with 15 moons (“Dad, do you know any planets that have 8 moons? How about 15 of them?”) You see the mean alien’s face on the spaceship, which is soaking up sun beams for power. There is also a smaller alien spaceship (mean alien faces barely visible inside of it) which is apparently docking with the big alien spaceship.
Jack then explained that the vertical column on the far right was ANOTHER zoom in, this time of the small galaxy visible around 2B (okay, 2D — he still gets his b’s and d’s reversed sometimes), which is why we’re right on the sun. But see those strange characters? “That’s the alien letters and numbers… so on the top those are the alien letters for A and B… and those are the numbers going down the side. I tried to make them like Chinese symbols.”
It’s been amazing seeing how Jack’s brain digests all the opportunities for learning he’s exposed to (math, science, English, music, video games, sci-fi and fantasy, reading, TV shows) and mixes them for his own creative take on it all.
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