Authentic Writing Turns Kids into Super Heroes
After we completed our district writing test, the class had about two weeks to until Spring Break. I decided, instead of starting my Imaginary writing unit and then having almost two weeks off (budget reduction days tagged onto the start and end of the week off), I would have the students work on a life skill writing project. The project was simple, our class was to teach the life skill of being responsible to the school at an upcoming assembly.
We didn’t keep it very simple, but it really did turn out crazy good. I presented an idea…super heroes…Captain Responsibility…Justice League of Life Skills. To say they were excited would be an understatement. Quickly the class grouped up and began writing scripts and ideas for skits that we would record and edit into a movie.
Talk about authentic writing, the kids had a sense of purpose, an audience to present to, and actors that needed lines, directors who needed setting details. It all came together so well. For about a week 33 students put their pencils to paper to design a world where super heroes taught the students of our school the importance of being responsible.
The movie kept growing, the skits were amazing, and the week after writing, the kids decided that they would skip recess in lieu of shooting the dozens of shots that we needed to make this happen. Costumes and disguises in hand, we shot film during lunch and morning recess times. Onlookers would pass by and give strange, curious looks as they acted out their parts. I now understand why closed sets are needed.
We snuck a camera into a real assembly, then edited in our own scene to make it seem like an entire school of kids was in the film. Movie magic on a shoe string budget.
When it was all said and done, students had a movie that they played a part in from the ground up. I can honestly say, this is one of the coolest projects I have been a part of, and the end results show the pride we all took in making it.