My writer’s journey has taken me to some really unique places across all spectrums of my life since February. Now it is impacting my teaching.
I have moved from helping kids learn to write to actively training our next generation of writers.
I am doing this by having them analyze writing from its basic elements to understand how it all fits together. Normally, an English teacher would do this by studying subjects, verbs, subject-verb agreement etc. in isolation, then asking students to reproduce the proper structure in writing. I have been encouraged by the administration to push my students further than simply utilizing basic knowledge and present a more rigorous challenge for my students. After all, by the time the students reach 8th grade, they have been studying proper syntax for seven years.
This year, I will be teaching students how to analyze writing for “beats” in each scene and “turns” in each chapter in an effort to help them sculpt deeper writing that actually moves the reader instead of simply reporting facts or telling shallow, generic narratives.
So, today I am editing scenes from “Three Bells to Perdido,” the pilot episode for Have Gun – Will Travel. We will use them in short segments this week to learn how to spot beats in scenes and evaluate them for effectiveness.
We will also look to film editing to evaluate how cut scenes were handled in the episode and what it could mean if we added this type of transitioning into our writing.
No longer are we simply trying to learn to write…we are aiming to write well.
My goal is to have one published writer in my room by the end of the year…over twelve students have shown an interest so far.