Movies, Writing, Voice, and Symbolism

It’s coming close to the end of the semester and Winter Break is starting soon. I will not be assigning any homework over the break – that just seems cruel – but for those students that put off doing their work, it’s an excellent time to catch-up.

Eighth grade English is finishing the novel, Lord of the Flies. It’s been a good read, I think many students were surprised at the savagery shown by some of the children and it’s led to some interesting classroom conversations. Today, we started watching the 1963 edition of the movie. That’s right, the old black and white version!

With the movie, I’ve given the following instructions to begin:

Students will be exploring the symbolism within Lord of the Flies, the movie and the novel.

1) Students will use Google Keep to take notes on what each of the following may symbolize while watching the film: The Beast, Piggy’s glasses, the fire, the scar, and Simon.

2) Students will watch the movie to find examples of what these topics symbolize or how they are symbolized. Students will record these on Google Keep. Students will need at least three examples of symbolism for their essay topic.

3) Students will locate these examples in the novel and compare how the symbolism is presented in both medias. Students will update their Google Keep notes, explaining how the novel and movie present these examples differently.

4) Students will share their notes here. Notes need to be complete sentences with detailed descriptions of both mediums, the movie and the novel for each example of symbolism given.

When we’ve completed the movie, we’ll begin taking those notes and transitioning them to an essay, starting with a thesis statement or main idea. We may be able to complete the first draft by the end of next week, then resume after the break. I would have preferred completing the essay before break but we’re not going to try and push it through. The final draft will likely be a part of the Q3 grade so that students have time to resubmit or redo their essay for a higher score.

Sixth grade English classes are also watching a movie and writing about it. In the first quarter, students read the novel “Holes” for their book journal. We’ve started watching “Holes” and students have been asked to write a letter to Elya Yelnats about his arrangement with Madame Zeroni as if they were a family member. I adapted my assignment from one that I stole found online. Students have already completed a first draft and peer review and are now working on their final draft. A large part of this was to find the voice of the family member they’re writing as; Stanley Yelnats IV wouldn’t write the same way that Stanley Yelnats II wrote a letter, obviously.

Again, this assignment will be completed before the Winter Break. No work will be assigned over the break, but it would be an excellent time to catch-up on any missing or low scored work.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season, Happy Winter Solstice, and I look forward to seeing everyone in 2020!

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