Sunday, February 18, 2007

Writing powered by moving movies

By Cathy Chenoweth, Columbia, MO, USA

There is a Korean movie, "The Way Home," about a spoiled Korean boy who spends the summer with his mute grandmother in her remote, poor village. I show about ten minutes of the film, beginning with the rain storm, when the boy rushes to remove clothes from the line. Then he tells his grandmother he is hungry for Kentucky Fried Chicken, and tries to explain to her what it is.

She agrees, to his delight, to get the chicken, walks to the bus stop, rides to town, comes home through pouring rain with a LIVE chicken, plucks and cooks it, and presents it to her grandson. He cries, "This isn't Kentucky Fried Chicken - it is boiled!" and pushes it away. Later, very hungry, he eats it greedily. In the morning, his grandmother is ill. His heart softens towards her then.

After showing this much, I ask the class to think of a time during their childhood or teen years when they learned a lesson about life, like this little boy did. Oh, the wonderful stories my students have written! After correcting them, I sometimes make multiple copies for the class to read together.

I recently made multiple copies of several papers showing corrections, and gave them to a different class (to conceal the writers' identities), and read them to the class. Then I asked the students to read them with a partner, and explain the corrections to their partners. They really enjoyed this part of the activity, telling me that they thought it would help them to be better writers. (We also found several errors that I'd overlooked, some intentionally.)

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