Here’s my first writing idea. My students and I actually came up with it as a group. (This goes with my earlier idea of giving the kids “ownership” of their writing projects.)
We were talking about the 2nd Transformers movie. I was telling them about how I had seen it with my Little Big Bro… (He’s my little brother, but he’s 6’4” and I’m only 5’3”. He’s also my bestest friend in the whole world.) Anyway, I was telling my class how I got to see the 2nd movie with my Little Big Bro at the drive-in. We talked about how we all loved the movie (especially the boys) and the special effects were phenomenal. Then I said, “Hey, that would make a good writing project,” and they all agreed.
We ended up brainstorming ideas about the project on chart paper. As a class, we decided that they would need to choose something to “transform” into a robot, there would need to be a bad guy, a problem and solution. To help satisfy the girls, we discussed how they could pick a robot like a hair dryer or iPhone. Their problem could be anything from saving the world to rescuing a helpless puppy.
To help kick start the project, I actually brought in the first movie and showed them the introduction with a quote from Optimus Prime. Below is the actual transcript:
Before time began, there was the cube. We know not where it comes from. Only that it holds the power to create worlds and fill them with life. That is how our race was born. For a time we lived in harmony, but with all great power, some wanted it for good, others for evil. And so began the war. A war that ravaged our planet until it was consumed by death, and the cube was lost to the far reaches of space. We scattered across the galaxy, hoping to find it and rebuild our home, searching every star and every world. And just when all hope seemed lost, a message of a new discovery drew us to an unknown planet called Earth…but we were already too late…
The students took notes on this part in case they thought they could use it later in their own stories. We talked about good leads or beginnings, and this movie intro became the basis for our project and learning. The students had one week to come up with their “robot” character and story elements: title, characters, setting, problem, and solution.
After that, we played it by ear and took off from there, refining the idea as we went. For the final projects, I googled images based on what they said they would like their robots to be, and we attached them to our final copies to display in the hallway underneath their pictures.