Reel Writing: Using Movies to Teach the Creative Writing Process

by Karla Hardaway

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION Getting Started

Why Use This Book?

How To Use This Book

Materials Needed

About the Author

Film As Literature Parent Letter

Film Inventory

Movie Internet Scavenger Hunt

Literary Terms Pre-Test

Literary Terms Pre-Test—Teacher

Review Sheet for Final

Final for Responding to Film As Literature

Evaluation of Film Class

CHAPTER 1 Weave a Tangled Web

Spiderman: Elements of Plot

Teacher Page

Plot Elements of a Story

Plot Diagram

Round-Robin Stories

Spiderman Viewing Guide

Spiderman Viewing Guide—Teacher

Plot Elements Group Script and Rubric

Plot Elements of Movie of Choice

CHAPTER 2 It Just Never Ends, Does It?

Jumanji: Plot With a Hook Resolution

Teacher Page

Jumanji Viewing Guide

Jumanji Viewing Guide—Teacher

Hook Resolution Stories

Hook Resolution Story Rubric

CHAPTER 3 An Unforgettable Character

Anne of Green Gables: Characterization Methods

Teacher Page

Characterization Methods

Character Sketch from Great expectations

Anne of Green Gables Viewing Guide

Anne of Green Gables Viewing Guide—Teacher

Driver’s Permit Day

Dialogue Writing Exercise

How to Write a Character Sketch

Character Sketch Example and Assignment

Character Sketch Rubric

CHAPTER 4 Circle of Love

Places in the Heart: Symbolism

Teacher Page

The Tiger

Places in the Heart Viewing Guide

Steps in Writing the Five Paragraph Essay

Introduction Techniques

Student Critique Sheet.

Essay Rubric

CHAPTER 5 The Power of Belief

Miracle on 34th Street: Universal Theme

Teacher Page

Charades Game with Proverbs and Adages


Miracle on 34th Street Viewing Guide

Just for Fun—Christmas Puns.

Writing a Film Review

CHAPTER 6 Women, Warriors, and Waterfalls

The Last of the Mohicans: Setting as Character

Teacher Page

Setting as Character

Creating a Setting as a Character

Last of the Mohicans Background Notes

Excerpt from James Fenimore Cooper’s Last of the Mohicans

Viewing Guide for Last of the Mohicans

CHAPTER 7 The Dating Game

Sense and Sensibility: Irony and Satire

Teacher Page


Sense or Sensibility?

Sense and Sensibility Viewing Guide

Quiz for Sense and Sensibility

Group Project for Sense and Sensibility

CHAPTER 8 Story Evolution

Comparison and Contrast Essay

Teacher Page

Permission Letter for Book/Movie Project

Essay for Book/Movie

Reading Log Questions for Book/Movie

Essay Evaluation Rubric

CHAPTER 9 Short Order Story

Fried Green Tomatoes: Vignettes and Frame Story

Teacher Page

Vignettes and Frame Story

Fried Green Tomatoes Viewing Guide

Frame Story/Vignette Group Presentation

Frame Story/Vignette Group Presentation Rubric

Vignette Rubric

CHAPTER 10 Life Road Trip

Riding in Cars with Boys: Memoirs

Teacher Page


This Little Light of Mine

Riding in Cars with Boys Viewing Guide

Memoirs Rubric

CHAPTER 11 A Little Grass Shack

Hawaii: Historical Movies

Teacher Page

Hawaii Viewing Guide

Hawaii Test

CHAPTER 12 The Whole Truth

Research Project on a Historical Movie

Teacher Page

Permission Letter for History/Movie Project

Historical Movie Project

Basic Forms for Electronic Sources

History Movie Paper Rubric

CHAPTER 13 Tuning In

Radio: Accepting Others

Teacher Page

Rosa Parks

Disability Exercises

Reaction Paper

Radio Viewing Guide

Radio Essay

Radio Essay Rubric

CHAPTER 14 Next Category, Please

Never Been Kissed: Stereotypes

Teacher Page

Television Stereotypes

Never Been Kissed Viewing Guide

School Stereotype Group Activity

CHAPTER 15 Once Upon a Revised Time

Ever After: Writing a Revised Fairy Tale

Teacher Page

Group Improvisation Fairy Tales

Ever After Viewing Guide

Revised Fairy Tale and Rubric

CHAPTER 16 The One That Got Away

Big Fish: Allusions

Teacher Page

Symbolism of Fish in Literature

Big Fish Viewing Guide

Big Fish Discussion Questions and Allusions

Allusion Exercise


Fish Stories

CHAPTER 17 Shiver Me Timbers!

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl: Jargon

Teacher Page

Blow the Man Down


Pirates of the Caribbean Viewing Guide

Group Pirate Song and Rubric

CHAPTER 18 What Did You Do In the War, Daddy?

The War of the Worlds: Hollywood Classics

Teacher Page

War of the Worlds Viewing Guide

War of the Worlds Group Exercise

CHAPTER 19 Grape Jam on a Slice of Life

The Grapes of Wrath: Realism

Teacher Page

Grapes of Wrath Background Notes

Grapes of Wrath Viewing Guide

Grapes of Wrath Quiz

Peer Critique Questions

Grapes of Wrath Essay Assignment Rubric

CHAPTER 20 Raining Retro

Singin’ In the Rain: Hollywood Musical

Teacher Page

Singin’ in the Rain Background Notes

Singin’ in the Rain Viewing Guide

Singin’ in the Rain Group Research Project


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