Last week I ventured into Stephen’s fourth grade teacher’s class to teach character development. It’s been over 10 years since Stephen has been in Mrs. Philo’s class, but she has always been open to empowering children’s creativity.

I showed the above photo, and we started with the basic physical characteristics of this German Shepherd (realized I misspelled it on the screen! Oops!) who was eventually named Rocky. Starting simple warms up your creative juices and states the obvious when there is a photo.

Then we ventured to what was going on around him and what he was feeling based on his expressions. The kids were incredible and decided that his family was baking a special meal and had to leave. They left everything out. Did they leave in a hurry? Had they done this before and Rocky never bothered the food? Was Rocky hungry? These are questions that need to be asked to find out the story. What is Rocky’s fear? Right now it was getting caught especially since he ran around the house with flour all over his paws, and he was sick on the family room rug.

What is going to happen?


Enter Charles Aiden. This answers the question as to where the family ventured off to. The family is adopting a kitten so maybe they received a call that it was time to pick up Smokey, which the kids named the cat.

Did Rocky overhear the conversation and act out from fear? Is he terrified now that the family won’t love him anymore and replace him with a cat? Will he get so hungry one day that he will try to eat the kitten? Perhaps developing Rocky’s character as a dog who is always hungry could add some comedy to the story and also provide a realistic reason as to why Rocky is shaking salt and pepper on Smokey in the living room.

How will Rocky react when the family comes home? What will he think of Smokey? What are the major problems that will hopefully be resolved in this story?

Only the writers know! Anything goes.

After all they can’t be wrong if they’re write!


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