Teaching Writing through Films: A Visual Exploration of Identities

byBrad Pearce

The purpose of high school and college writing can be a blur for marginalized students.   Some students enjoy writing, some may yet enjoy it, but haven’t had the impetus.  Others just don’t see the point.  Students may be coaxed into the complexity of writing with the complexity and beauty of film.  This unit will explore through cinema the types of writing expected in high school and college.  We will watch films, read flash fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, and write in response, including writing narrative, exposition, description, persuasion, and analysis. The unit will culminate in a fictional script or documentary idea to be filmed; alternatively, students may revise their journals into a cohesive whole.  How cinema and writing can benefit students in understanding culture, social relationships, class conflict, and identity formation will be the context that motivates student writing.

(Developed for English Language Arts, grade 10; recommended for Creative Writing, grades 9-12, and English Language Arts, grade 12)

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