In the Classroom: The Hawks
written by Bucky Stanton
Imaginary World Club
My favorite club to offer at PIC is the Imaginary World Club (IMC). For students, imagining a world does not mean that they must take a hyper realistic approach to world building with intricate Tolkien-esque lore. Rather the primary aim of the club is to provide a space where the children’s frequent scribbling’s produced during a standard free draw period are viewed not as worthless scraps to be recycled but a rich and essentially untapped wellspring of creativity.
So what is it that we really do in IMC besides draw? Well, we imagine worlds!
Children in IMC are encouraged to take inspiration from a large pile of printed fantasy and real life creatures, stories, maps, cities, geographic features, and more. While it may just look like “free draw” with some slight direction, but there is quite a bit more is going on.
With no specific direction aside from, “imagine a world," I encourage what I call “creation causation.” I ask that all of their creations have connectivity to an imagined world and the beings they create in that world.
This doesn’t result in a perfectly unalloyed world. The worlds I see look like the very one the children are growing up in, a world constructed upon the messy assemblages of fragmentary perspectives.
Characters don’t always get names, or even stories, themes, sequels, or anything remotely approaching character purpose or resolution. They usually get a basic setting, a plot they reside on, or a range they roam. Perhaps they are given some skill or power, tools of mechanical or biological nature, a group they belong to, or a general categorization of their type (dragon, ogre, blob, etc.) and temperament.
One of my favorite things about these creations is the nature of these characters. Their motives are not particularly clear. These characters always seem to be a part of the world, if only and often in my experience, for mere moments before being abandoned for one of the seemingly endless characters that are born from a child's imagination.