To round out the third quarter of the year, my students completed a more independent project where I asked them to write a made-for-TV drama script. The Murder We Wrote project centered around the driving question:
Using 12 Angry Men, as our mentor text, how do we, as young, creative writers,
craft a screenplay that uses the elements of plot/drama and courtroom terms to interpret/illustrate a court case?
It made for a good end of the quarter, because we were able to review some of what we learned last semester and apply it to our own creative endeavors. Students really took our acted-out version of 12 Angry Men. We also watched an episode of Law and Order SVU with an analytical lens for the three-act television drama. As a literacy task, we read police blotters and added characterization to the people who go unnamed or, worse yet, stereotyped by their police descriptions. Others took to the writing process with great strides, starting even before I introduced CeltX. Only a few, however, coordinated a series for the extra credit that I was offering.
With a curriculum very focused on research and expository writing, it was nice to dip into a creative format this year. Some students took the opportunity to write about relatable experiences, perhaps therapeutically. I was surprised at how many wrote about domestic abuse or petty violence, especially after the My Bloody Life project. Of course, there were the parties gone wrong, etc.. On a lighter note, I was happy to see that one student really took to the project, writing quite a long script with a twist ending. The student was a big fan of SVU; it was good to see that the project reached the student in ways that some of our other writing assignments (mostly essays) had not.