This entry is part 2 of 14 in the series Community

This isn’t an instructional. It’s just a wonderful observation – of when story and real life merge.

Earlier today, I was looking for teaching material for one of my adult English classes.

This can sometimes be a very difficult task, and for this group in particular it’s been a challenge to find material that works.

I wanted and needed to find a video: one that wasn’t too long, wasn’t too fast, didn’t have too much slang and yet where modern English is used. It had to be clearly communicated, without too heavy an accent or twang.

story and real life merge

Artwork by Jonny Lindner.

But first and foremost, the video had to be engaging, compelling – interesting. It’s important to me that any material I use in the classroom ignite the imagination or at least pique the interest of those with me.

There’s nothing so awful as the deadening silence of bored students. Yawn.

With very little hope of finding something useful within the next two hours of my day, I slugged over to the TED Talk website. I had tried TED Talks with the group before, without any great success.

So I know (and I knew deep down in that moment) that I went looking there once again – not because I expected to find something that would be perfect for the class, but because… I was pretending to look for the class. The truth? I was there for me. is where my brain is happiest. I love this site and have seen by now hundreds of TED Talks. Certainly more than 500, over the years.

Today, I found a new talk right on the main page and it grabbed my attention right away – because it was both ridiculous and familiar at the same time.

I saw a city bus covered in knitting.

It’s called Yarn Bombing, a new city trend that is considerably cozier than graffiti. Every tiny little bit of the bus was covered in brightly covered yarns. I had never seen anything like it before… except in a storybook. It reminded me of Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen.

Extra Yarn is one of the really terrific storybooks I’ve had the pleasure of reading at the local library during the Happy Palmtree reading and crafts event.

It took me a bit to think back and remember what craft project we made for that (it was 2012). The story has a box with an unlimited amount of yarn, and so I helped the kids make their own special boxes to decorate and take home.

Enjoy the video. It’s only 5.5 minutes long, the presentation is clear and well organized, the language used is modern without any slang, the speaker’s voice isn’t difficult to follow and – it’s an interesting talk.

The presenter, Magda Sayeg, is a mathematician-cum-artist of textiles. It’s pretty cool. In her Talk, she explains how her desire to see more color and texture inspired her to knit a door handle. From there, her projects became more and more… impressive and fun.

Extra Yarn is a wonderful story, nothing surprising about that though when you consider the talented duo that put it together. I highly recommend it, even if knitting isn’t your thing. (It isn’t about knitting! Not really.)

Have you ever had an experience like this? A moment when you saw something or heard something in real life that immediately made you think of a story you love? Share below, let me know – or, as ever, write me an email. I love getting those.

Keep creating, no matter what.


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This entry is part of the series
Be sure to check out the other posts:
<< My List of Top Storybooks to Read in 2016Road Testing a Story Mock-Up >>
K.C. Hill
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