Four Feathers



Objective: Brainstorm a story using these four found feathers. 

Narrative: While walking through the woods, I spotted four feathers on the forest floor. What type of feathers are they? Where did they come from? How did they get there? 

Note: To see definitions of highlighted terms used below, please visit the page Writing Wonders.


Step One: Cloud-Think

Cloud-think about all the many different beings or places from which the feathers may have come. Did they belong to a bird? Did they belong to a greek hero? Were they part of a stuffed pillow? Did they belong to an animal who doesn't fly but was trying to do so? 

art think.png

Step Two: Tight-Think

Tight-think about the yellow splashes of color on each tip of feather. What could it be? Is it paint? Is it gold? It is honey? Is it a curse? Start an open brainstorm discussion about the yellow tips.

  • There are only four feathers. Why only four?

  • There is mud on the forest floor. Did the mud have something to do with how/why/where the feathers came to be?

  • The color of the feathers is gray. Why gray? Were they always gray? Will they remain gray with yellow tips for always?

During the Tight-Think, Have the students/children take a few minutes to carefully study the photograph, searching for details that might have meaning to them, or which might spur action points along their storyline. 


Step Three: Dash-Write

Post brainstorming and discussion, give students 10-minutes to write their story in a Dash-write fashion. Depending upon age or grade level, you can also simply use the prompt for a brainstorming creative discussion. 


In Your Home:

You can use this Writing Wonder in your home for fun! If the children are too young to write words/sentences, this is a great activity for spurring wonder-thinking in a casual manner:

  • At the dinner table

  • At bedtime

  • At quiet time

  • When teaching about nature

  • In the car

  • In waiting rooms

Just bring your ipad or phone with you and click through to the photo so the children can look at it while you pose the questions, then let them answer while guiding their brainstorming along in progressive fashion.

About the Feathers in Real Life:

These feathers belong to a Cedar Waxwing. They were found in the woods near a river in the northwoods. Cedar Waxwings are small beautiful birds that are likely to be spotted in flocks over orchards, farms, as well as in the woodlands. Their call is a short, high pitched "zee" sound. 



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