Writing Practice: Activity Instructions

To prepare for this activity, make sure you are set up to play movie clips in whatever way works best for you. It is best to have a variety of movie options available. The best choices will be movies that the majority of students have seen (animated films often fit that category because they appeal to a wider range of audiences). You will also want to choose movies you are familiar with so that you will more easily be able to find suitable clips for the prompts.

Have the students choose one or two movies (two are necessary if you choose to write on Prompt Four). Assign a prompt by writing it or projecting it on your white board, and then watch a short movie clip for students to base their writing on.

Activity Timing:
Allow five to ten minutes of writing time per paragraph.
Allow ten to fifteen minutes for the peer revision session.
Allow about ten minutes for writing the final draft.

Suggested Clip Ideas:

Prompt 1: Write a paragraph descripting a specific movie character.
Choose a clip that highlights a character. In The Incredibles, you could watch the clip where E shows Helen the new suits she has designed for the Parr family. The students could then write their paragraph about E.

Prompt 2: Identify an important scene and write a paragraph explaining why this scene is so crucial to the development of the plot or a particular character.

Watch a key scene and then have the class spend a minute or two discussion why this scene is so crucial to the film or to a character. In The Incredibles, you could watch the clip where Mr. Incredible tells Buddy that he works alone and then discuss how this led Buddy to become Syndrome, the movie’s central villain.

Prompt 3: Evaluate the performance of an actor (or voice actor) in a movie.
For this prompt, it would be best to focus on a scene with some emotional impact. In The Incredibles, you could watch the scene where Mr. Incredible is about to fight the giant robot and he tells his family to stay behind because he can’t bear to lose them.

Prompt 4: Compare the animation or special effects in two different movies and argue which one is better.
Watch two action scenes from different films. In The Incredibles, you could watch the scene in which Mr. Inredible fights the robot on the jungle island. Then in Empire Strikes Back, you could watch the scene where the rebels are fighting off the giant walkers on the snow planet Hoth.

Prompt 5: Rate a movie out of four stars and write a paragraph-long movie review.
For this prompt, you need an overview of a film most students are familiar with. It might be most effective to watch the trailer as this will give a good overview of the film as a whole. You could also just skip around and watch three or four short key scenes.