Picturing the Story
- Grades: 3–5, 6–8
- Unit Plan:
Every scene in Hoot has a significant purpose to the overall story. By analyzing how one scene fits into the book, students learn about character development and how a story plot rises, climaxes, and falls. They can use this information to create their own unique stories.
- Analyze movie stills for characters, setting, possible dialogue, and theme
- Brainstorm elements needed to create a story from a picture
- Build on what they know about the picture to create an entirely new story for the characters
- Flashlight Readers Activities
- Computer: activities can be modified from one computer to a whole computer lab
- Flashlight Readers: Hoot
- Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
- Idea Web (PDF)
- Plot Diagram (PDF)
- Optional: LCD or overhead projector to activities
Set Up and Prepare
View with students some of the slides from the Hoot the Movie activity. Discuss the characters in the picture, the setting, and the caption. Share the Plot Diagram with students and have them identify where in the rise and fall of the plot this scene takes place.
Create an Idea Web as a class: in the center describe the scene briefly; map concepts to this scene by prompting students to answer questions such as:
- What part of the book is this from?
- What is going through the minds of the characters at this point?
- What are some things they could be saying?
- What is the conflict?
- Is there a theme to the picture or lesson the characters are trying to learn?
Identify whether the concepts you map to the scene refer to the characters, setting, dialogue, or theme.
Ask students to imagine a new story behind the picture - something that may have nothing to do with Hoot or the caption below the movie still. As a class, determine a new plot. For example, the scene in which Mullet Fingers and Roy explore some of Florida's undisturbed waterways could be a picture of two friends fishing on a lake...what happened before this scene? After the scene?
Explain that students will now choose another still from the movie and outline a new story based on the picture. As a final project, they'll actually write a new short story. Have students start by brainstorming ideas based on the picture, which they'll record in their own Idea Webs. They should include specific details about what you can see in the picture, as well as important facts that are related to the new story.
Points to include:
- character names, ages, history, thoughts, and feelings
- descriptions of what the characters see, hear, feel, taste, and touch
- details about the setting
- dialogue (what the characters say to each other, not to the person looking at the picture)
- a purpose for this scene (How is it important to the goals the characters are working toward? Are they resolving conflict? Learning something new?)
- an explanation of how the picture relates in an important way to the story
- where this scene falls in the Plot Diagram
Going back to the class Idea Web, demonstrate to students how to use their brainstorm ideas to start a story. You might start with a conversation between characters, describing the setting, or letting the reader in on a character's thoughts. Give several examples of how to begin. Then, give students time to write their own story.
Have students peer edit each other's work using the class' brainstormed list as a guide for what should be included. Once they have given and received feedback, give students more time to write a final draft. Finished work can be displayed in the room under enlarged copies of the stills students chose.
Supporting All Learners
Language Arts Standards (4th Ed.)
- Evaluates own and others' writing
- Drafting and Revising: Uses a variety of strategies to draft and revise written work
- Editing and Publishing: Uses a variety of strategies to edit and publish written work
- Encourage students to continue their story and illustrate other scenes.
- Have students choose a movie still and start a story. Then, additional students can add to these story-starters. To close the activity, students read through all the additions to their story starter and write appropriate endings.
- Create movie cards from the stills. Print out color copies and laminate them. Have students pick 3 to 4 cards and create a story linking these cards in any order they would like. You can also use the cards as an assessment tool: Ask students to use the cards to re-tell the plot of the book and use their presentations to evaluate their level of comprehension.
- Supply students with poster board, markers, and other art supplies and have them create a movie poster to advertise Hoot
- Take students to see the movie Hoot and discuss the difference between the book and the movie.
- Review students' Idea Web to assess their ability to create a scenario based on the characters and setting observed in the picture.
- Assess each student's final story for:
- Use of descriptive language appropriate to the picture
- Ability to create a clear plot for the story
- Correct grammar and punctuation
- Correct spelling and word usage
- Good self-editing skills displayed by final draft