I am an faithful fan of the INK school holiday workshops hosted by Monsters Under The Bed (MUTB). Having signed up for Jiejie to attend the above workshops twice last year, with themes like Monster HuntINK and INK to the Woods (sorry, we have not started our blog yet, so no posts except lots of photo memories), this year is no exception for our family.
This holiday, as a lead up to P1 next year, both Didi and Wey were blessed with a 3-day HowlINK workshop with the awesome trainers at MUTB this week.
Despite having had previous experience, I am clueless of how exactly the actual workshops were carried out except from the notes brought home. This is because I did not know that parents are welcomed to join in. This time round, I was glad to have stayed for the full duration of all three days in order to observe the fun.
Monsters Under The Bed (MUTB) is a writing school that’s started by writers, for writers. Unlike the weekly Creative Writing classes my kids are attending at a community club near me, MUTB does not carry out classes via push-info basis. There is no spelling to learn or tests on sentence structure. Neither are there blanks to fill in on their worksheets that is made up of many sentences that will eventually lead to paragraphs and finally assembled into essay at the end of the lesson. At MUTB, it is simply full of fun! Workshop participants at MUTB are led with a guideline on what to do, not taught what to write. The brainstorming is left to the children. From simple games and exercises, the children makes use of creative words and make up stories to form around the theme of the workshop.
“This week, a grisly remains of a 9 year old girl were found in the woods. The local constabulary brushed the case aside as an unfortunate incident with wild animals. The villagers believe that this was the work of a werewolf and they need help! Will you be able to solve the mystery before the next full moon happening in the next three days?
The trees whisper above you as you step closer to the village. You can taste the mystery in the air, shivering under the Halloween moon. What will you do? Will you flee? Or will you save us all from this curse. The Mubsters are on their toes for lurking creatures around The Arts House. Be prepared for the unexpected and make sure to put on your best investigative hat tricks or end up being be a treat!”
As a teaser prior to the workshop, parents were sent a video link for the children to watch. I could feel the engaging suspense in the video clip and found myself studying the closing credits closely. Watch this video here to see for yourself how it was professionally done just for the kids.
HowlINK is a 3-day interactive creative writing workshop filled with puzzles and intrigue designed for students 7 to 12 years of age. We arrived at the workshop on Day 1 to scenes of the incident, where a girl was found dead in a creepy old English town (The Arts House, by the way) where the townfolks (everyone else at The Arts House) all believed that it was the work of a werewolf. They were also introduced to some notorious werewolf story characters, their traits, and even how one typically become a werewolf.
Further to that, a few suspects have been named as well. Our group (consisting of mainly the younger kids of 6-8yo at the workshop) of experienced investigators was assigned to Alan, The Hunter (portrayed by Trainer Leroy) and everybody was introduced to the profile of four other suspect characters before investigation works began.
After concluding our investigation works for Day 1, we had to quickly act before any body else gets killed (full moon in two days’ time!). Before we act, the children were invited to write their story introduction. As Didi and Wey were amongst the youngest at the workshop, they were given special 1 to 1 guidance together with the other 6-yo children. There were 1 lead trainer (Eugene Tay), 3 trainers and at least 6 assistant trainers in the class of 10+ children, which I thought was a a very good ratio as per the earlier workshops Jiejie attended.
On Day 2, the trainers and assistants were briefed on the day’s itinerary – Rising Action and Climax, before lesson started.
Day 2’s session ended a little late by the time everybody got back into the workshop for mass meeting. So here it is, the highly anticipated and most elusive werewolf which had the 10+ children working around the “town” for 2 days in order to find out the location of his lair!
After attending the full workshop myself, the following objectives were indeed achieved in my opinion. Most importantly, the children learnt more than just writing with a given topic. They were set to learn more in-depth about werewolves and use their imagination to work out their story around the journey to kill the werewolf.
- Genre knowledge: werewolf. Familiarize yourself with a wide range of werewolf lore and tropes in literature, and build their werewolf story.
- Create tension and suspense. Could the person right next to you be a werewolf? You don’t know! That’s really what makes werewolves scary, not large fangs or golden eyes or clumsy Thriller dance moves. Learn to build a story that engage your readers’ fear.
- Observe, interview, and investigate. Develop your story-flow in a coherent manner as you journal your findings and thought process in a structured manner.
- Critical thinking skills. Exercise problem solving skills as you piece together clues and make inferences.
- Get Creative. Go Wild! Express yourself and your wacky ideas in a conducive environment where every child’s opinion is taken on board.
- Expand your knowledge. Perhaps you will find a new found appreciation for werewolf themed stories and pick up reading as a hobby.
MUTB workshops will always be one of my considerations for major school holidays. With Didi going to P1 and Jiejie going to P3 next year, writing has become a more critical need in terms of academic work. I hope to expose them to more fun in writing than to be learning spelling and grammar which can literally kill one’s interests in the language. At a time when their creativity has not been killed by the current MOE system yet, better harness and keep it alive in them while I can! Right?!
Thanks for joining us at SAys! Happy Mums! All photos unless otherwise stated are copyright of SAys! Happy Mums. If you liked what you read on our blog, please follow us on Facebook for the latest updates. We hope to see you back again soon. ❤
If you are keen to explore the workshops hosted by Monsters Under The Bed (MUTB), there is a VERY EXCITING one that Audrey has signed up for Wey which will be happening in the next two weeks!
WHO DO THESE FIGURINES RESEMBLE???
That’s RIGHT! A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away… Monsters Under the Bed held a writing workshop! Charge your blasters and go on an adventure with MUTB… IN SPACE! As far as we know, there are only 4 more vacancies left. To sign up, call Riza at +65 6100 4363 to confirm or visit this link at http://ink.mutb.com.sg/ink-to-the-void.html for more information.
Date: 14 – 16 December 2015
Time: 10am – 1pm
Venue: The Arts House
Participants will learn how to:
- Design fun fictional tech. Super-weapons, robots, mecha, starships, and all sorts of vaguely scientific gadgets. Believability optional.
- Build entire planets. And all the weird creatures and civilizations that live on them!
- Create characters who are larger-than-life. There is nothing more exciting than a good old-fashioned battle between Good and Evil.
Tel: +65 6100 4363 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Operating hours: 10am to 10pm, Mondays to Saturdays | Sundays (by appointment)