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Method Acting and the Sentence

posted: 12.4.06 by Barclay Barrios

Have students review material on sentence types in the handbook. Put a simple sentence on the board, such as “The student asked a question.” Have the class identify the subject, verb, and object, and then ask students to come in front of the class and stand next to each other in poses that represent these parts of speech. Then, in groups of three to five, students should select a sentence from the essay or their drafts, identify its main parts of speech, and as a team work on representing the structure (NOT meaning) of the sentence just by standing in front of the class. How does one visually/physically represent a verb? What happens if the person representing the subject moves to the end of the line? What would a sentence look like if the students stood in a circle and not in a left-to-right line?

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Categories: Collaboration, Grammar & Style, Learning Styles
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One Response to “Method Acting and the Sentence”

  1. Nick Carbone Says:

    Method acting puts me in mind of movies, and so this assignment reminds me of one I plan to try using this 60 second movie on one person’s writing process: http://mag.awn.com/issue11.08/11.08clips/A_Painful_Glimpse.mov

    This is the kind of thing I would link to and build a writing prompt around. In a writing course, asking students to describe or reflect on their writing processes is a standard activity. The reflection is a step in making them aware of what they are doing when as they write.

    However, it’s a prompt that while important, can be pretty dry. This short movie changes that.

    Students can begin the prompt by class discussion, sharing observations and describing how having to write makes the film’s character feel.

    Then their writing might be, instead of straight prose, an exercise that answers, “If you were going to make a 60 second movie about what you do before you start to write, what it would be like?”