Reflection: Real World Applications Writing Stage Directions to Create a Mood - Section 2: Writing Workshop: Applying Knowledge of Word Choice on Mood


Once students have analyzed how setting influences characters, it’s time for them to apply their knowledge.  In “Monsters,” we look at how the cherry daytime setting and the terrifying, dark setting affect the characters.  They go from behaving like friendly neighbors to distrusting each other.

The question then arises, how does the darkening of the day affect the characters?  How exactly did they go from friendly, questioning, concerned neighbors to fearful neighbors?  That’s why I’m asking students to write a brief set of stage directions that describes the setting (the setting of the sun) as well as describe how the characters are acting--what activities they’re doing, what they’re talking about, how they’re talking to each other.  If they can write a set of stage directions using their knowledge, then I know that not only have they grasped the concept of analyzing, they can also apply it to their own writing.


I don’t know about you, but when I watch a movie or TV show, a movie, I want to see a movie where the screenwriter and director have thoughtfully included setting and mood.  We all roll our eyes when a director uses rain and nothing but rain to create a dreary mood.  

I want to watch movies where the screenwriter and director have skillfully applied the art of analyzing the effect the setting has on characters. The setting shouldn’t just be there.  It should be a part of the story, it should enhance the story.  I’m thinking of things like Firefly, Doctor Who, Lost, Scrubs, or The Hunger Games.  In those films, the setting isn’t just there.  It shapes the characters.  It shapes the character’s interactions with each other.  And if I want to see more shows and movies like that, then I need to teach students how to do that.  Sure, it’s not preparing them for a career in engineering, but I hope that when we get to the future, we still have creative storytellers working to create new worlds.

  College and Career Ready for Everyone
  Real World Applications: College and Career Ready for Everyone
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Writing Stage Directions to Create a Mood

Unit 10: Analyzing Literature with Act 1 of Rod Serling’s “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street”
Lesson 7 of 10

Objective: Students will be able to use precise words, relevant descriptive details, and sensory language to capture a particular mood.

Big Idea: Students apply knowledge of word choice to write their own set of stage directions.

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