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Production Elements Teacher Resources
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Explore script writing based on prose in a cross-curricular literacy lesson. After listening to the folktale The Drum, middle schoolers identify and describe specific story elements such as characters and events. They work in groups to write a script for the story, and each group performs its play.
How do novels differ from plays? Explore with your class the text features of fiction and drama by reading The Hidden One: Native American Legend and then performing a reader’s theater script based on the story. Class members create a story map outlining characters, setting, and major events in the book. Next, they discuss how these items are presented in the drama. In addition, they examine the text features unique to each genre.
Readers reflect on enjoyable stories they know, brainstorm criteria that make a story "good," analyze a New York Times article about innovative children's performances, re-envision classics on their own, and peer edit drafts. Use this as enrichment for gifted readers who readily grasp the vocabulary, but for whom the content (fairy tales, children's performances) is still relevant. Plan to spend time to make the material accessible. A thorough, thoughtful resource.
“It was a dark and stormy night.” Thus begins the 1830 novel Paul Clifford and, of course, all of Snoopy’s novels! Encourage young writers to craft settings for their stories that go beyond Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s often-mocked phrase with a series of exercises. Additional examples of great introductory settings can be found in the paperback series It Was a dark and Stormy Night. Consider having class members check out the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest that awards prizes for the worst beginnings.