Prometheus, Batman Begins and X-Men Origins: A Writing Exercise in Prequel Character Development

This lesson will use recently released prequel films to inspire students in their own creative writing and character development. Over the past several years “origin” films have been wildly popular. Prometheus, Batman Begins, and X-Men First Class are all examples of such films. These films take well known characters and provide a back story that depicts the life events that shaped their personalities. They explain and justify the characters’ actions, for better or for worse. It is an non-traditional, non-chronological method of story telling. In this lesson your students will use these films as inspiration to do the same with their own writing.

The Elements of Product Placement

The objective of this lesson is to have students look at existing product placements with a critical eye and develop a product placement plan for an existing product.

Product placements in movies and television shows have become quite a common practice in media. Companies commonly use product placements to promote their brands in an unconventional and sometimes hidden way. If you pay close enough attention to any movie or TV show, you can probably spot a few cleverly placed products ranging from sports drinks to electronics to clothing brands. An example of product placement can be seen in Steven Spielberg’s hit movie E.T. with his inclusion of Reese’s Pieces and television shows like American Idol, which has Coca-Cola logos strategically placed throughout the competition.

The Role of Social Media During the Boston Marathon Bombings

The objective of this lesson is for students to evaluate the role of social media during times of crisis.

Americans have become no strangers to hearing about tragic news and responding to it via social media. Social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have become places where people turn to find out what is happening on the ground during crisis situations and what they can do to help. They have also become forums for people to show support for the community that was hurt the most. The news of the Boston Marathon bombings was shared seconds after the bombs detonated. There were pictures, videos and news of the horrific event all over social network outlets before the traditional news media arrived at the scene.

Mixing Humor and Terror to Create the Ultimate Horror Remake

In this lesson, students will learn the rhetorical devices of satire, sardonicism, parody and irony, which are often used in horror films to offset the shock, terror and gore for which the genre is known. Students will then employ these devices in a creative writing assignment that will envision remaking a horror film.


The Theories Behind Time Travel

Great Scott! How many gigawatts does it take to write a story with time travel and parallel universes? It doesn’t take that much electricity, but it does take a lot of planning, researching and creativity.

H.G. Wells, Isaac Asminov, Ray Bradbury, Octavia Butler, Kurt Vonnegut — they’ve all written famous science fiction books that focus on time travel. Wells’ Time Machine dates back to 1895, before Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity and before the ideas behind black holes and wormholes existed.

Traveling in time to alter our destinies has been a pop culture fascination for a long time. Many superheroes have experienced time travel in different ways. Superman could go back in time by flying around the world quickly enough to reverse Earth’s rotation. Similarly, The Flash could travel fast enough to go back in time. Even the mutant, Wolverine, traveled back in time in X-Men: Days of Future Past to change the fate the world.

The plot lines involved in time travel and jumping through alternate realities are not easy to follow and are even more difficult to write. This lesson takes a look back in time at how some science-fiction stories have rules and a structure to the way time and alternate universes function within their fictional world and how you can create your own narrative structure to write your own tight story involving parallel universes and time travel.

The Art of Storytelling

The objective of this lesson plan is to engage students in the art of storytelling and improve their public speaking skills.

The Art of Storytelling

The objective of this lesson plan is to engage students in the art of storytelling and improve their public speaking skills.

Hip-Hop and Gay Marriage? Social Commentary through Rap

The objective of this lesson is to have students create their own rap that expresses their view on the issue of Gay marriage.
Gay marriage has been a heated topic especially since California’s Proposition 8 was overturned in 2010. There have been attempts to legalize same-sex marriage, however only 6 states, including D.C., have passed laws permitting it. There have been heated debates over this issue, especially in the media and popular culture. There are countless movies, songs, documentaries, and TV shows that all address this topic. Most recently, Seattle rapper, Macklemore, has released a song supporting gay marriage. He has been praised by gay marriage activists for his powerful lyrics, and an even more powerful music video.

Watermark Mania! Hashtags and Social Media Marketing Campaigns

In this lesson, students learn about the different social media marketing strategies that television networks implement and discuss what their benefits might be. At the end of the lesson, students produce their own social media marketing campaigns for a specific television show in efforts to boost the network’s ratings.

Social networks have their throne on the Internet, but over the last couple of months, they have made their way to television screens everywhere. On popular shows such as Glee, The Voice, X Factor, and 106 & Park, the network staff includes a hashtag watermark (#AmericanIdol, #Glee, #TheVoice, #XFactor, etc.) on the lower sides of the screen to promote discussion about the shows on Twitter and other social networks. Also, the news and talk shows let viewers know that they have Facebook and Twitter pages that they can access.