Creative Writing

Final Draft K-12 Teacher Workbook

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Review by Linda K. Foster

Our educational system was not designed to teach today’s students. They represent the first generation to grow up surrounded by the use of computers, video games, mp3 players, cell phones, video cams and many other easily-available digital toys. It has been estimated that the average college graduate has spent fewer than 5000 hours of his/her life reading, compared to over 10,000 hours playing video games and over 20,000 hours watching television. Technology is an integral part of a student’s life and, as a result of the omnipresence of technology, today’s students think and process information differently from their predecessors, making it increasingly more challenging for educators to stimulate a desire for learning.

In an effort to assist educators in teaching basic writing skills and visual presentations, Final Draft has developed the Final Draft K-12 Teacher Workbook which incorporates the use of Final Draft and Final Draft AV into the classroom curriculum. Lesson plans based on elements of Final Draft and/or Final Draft AV are used to inspire creativity and engage the student in the educational process.

The Introduction to the Teacher Workbook provides a reasonable and rational explanation for using Final Draft and Final Draft AV in the classroom. As noted, the Teacher Workbook is “…designed to help K-12 teachers use Final Draft software to meet technology requirements and teach 21st Century skills through project-based learning activities.” The Workbook is geared for use with 6th grade and up, but elements from both programs can be used for instruction in any grade level, if presented in an age appropriate manner. It combines aspects of Final Draft and Final Draft AV to help build literary and communication skills through the use of written and visual media. The use of these two programs helps students develop a foundation for writing and transform written exercises to the visual media.

A section on Story Development offers a variety of writing exercises, combining the rules of writing and definitions of figurative language and five-sense imagery into the lesson plans. Assignments include writing descriptive essays and analyzing literary works such as The Hobbit. Additional lesson plans in the Story Development section include the Fairy Tale Project and the Setting Exercise. In the Fairy Tale Project, students are taught the basic elements of fairy tales and are then asked to read a novel of choice and to change the setting of the novel into a fairy tale-type setting with the plot of the novel being the basis for the fairy tale. In the Setting Exercise, students listen to various pieces of music and then make notes based upon the imagery produced by the music. These notes are later used as the basis for creating descriptive settings.

In the Visual Storytelling section of the Workbook, lesson plans include an examination of popular fairy tales to introduce students to storyboarding and its relationship to scriptwriting. Students then use Final Draft to write an original fairy tale for the screen.  Also in this section, silent films are used to demonstrate how pictures tell stories and students use Final Draft to write a film sequence.

Once story development and visual storytelling are explored, the Workbook provides a section designed to be taught over 43 class periods, covering the process of making a short film from concept to script to filming and editing. These lessons are geared for 9th through 12th grade students. They are designed to allow students to express themselves creatively and they provide a strong foundation in the filmmaking process if a career in the film industry is desired. The Workbook offers detailed “day by day” lesson plans to guide students logically through the scriptwriting and filmmaking process towards the completion of a 3 to 5 minute short film. All aspects of the process, from brainstorming to filming and editing, are thoroughly covered and easily followed in the Workbook’s written lesson plans.

An entire section of the Teacher Workbook is devoted to eight project-based lesson plans using Final Draft software. Each of the lesson plans is designed to cover a minimum of two class periods and combines the content of two or more subject areas. Lessons include researching the lives of teens from various cultures or historical periods and using Final Draft AV to prepare a visual presentation based on the research, and using Final Draft AV to prepare such things as news reports, public service announcements, and ad campaigns.

As would be expected from Final Draft, the K-12 Teacher Workbook is well written and organized and offers a logical progression from basic writing skills to creative writing and visual presentations. It provides easily understood detailed lesson plans and guidelines for teachers to incorporate the Final Draft and Final Draft AV programs into student exercises and teacher presentations for development of a variety of skills such as critical thinking, leadership, teamwork and technical skills. 

For more information on Final Draft software programs and to download the free Final Draft K-12 Teacher Workbook, please visit L.K.F.

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