Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Roald Dahl, His Day, and Everything He Still Does

"Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it's unbelievable..." - from Matilda

There is something remarkable about a special kind of author that inspires generations for more than 50 years. When someone says Roald Dahl, what do you think of? Is it Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, or maybe it’s The Witches, or The Talented Mr. Fox, or James and the Giant Peach? Which ever it is, there is one thing to conclude: Roald Dahl is a landmark for children books everywhere.

This past Saturday, September 13, 2014, was Roald Dahl Day. Every year on his birthday children and adults in countries all over celebrate the beloved author. (Here’s one United Kingdom press showing pictures from outside the new Roald Dahl Museum on Roald Dahl Day.) It just so happened that this year’s Roald Dahl Day fell on the 50th Anniversary of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Considering that this is such a well-known story (in both book and movie form), I would say that Roald Dahl Day can show how much books really bring out some great creativity, but also a sense of community, as I now want to dress up for next year’s Roald Dahl Day. 

Not only are Dahl's mystifying and imaginative stories carrying into future generations and celebrated year after year, but his website is also something to highlight. It is packed full of current news pertaining to charity events, the new Roald Dahl museum, and anything up and coming with our favorite Dahl characters. It also holds an engaging click-through of all Dahl's stories and even lesson plans for teachers.

The teacher lesson plans are something to really admire here. They include a variety of resources and ideas to cover regarding particular aspects of all Dahl’s individual books. Here is an example of The Witches lesson plan. The main goal of this lesson plan is to have students do and present research on witches, through a poster or an interview. Teachers are encouraged to step up the creativity by telling their students that they will be "witchophiles". (And just in case it has been a little while since reading The Witches, a witchophile is someone who studies witches and knows a lot about who they are.) Students then, as witchophiles, must work to inform the world of witches and how to spot one. Research never sounded so fun!

It appears that Dahl has left a legacy behind him. Not only do children in today's generation know and love Dahl's stories but his website furthers creativity by inspiring teachers to use these books and allow students to learn the basics of conducting research in a more creative and fun manner. 

Now of course teaching creatively goes beyond Roald Dahl, but on his special day we should recognize how a child storybook author prevails in developing the imagination and encouraging creativity even today. 

- Photos of Roald Dahl Day: http://bit.ly/1qZYbQL
- Roald Dahl Homepage: http://www.roalddahl.com
- Quote taken from "Ten memorable Roald Dahl quotes" -@nzherald

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