Turn that passion for film into a powerful writing experience.
Tea with Julie

Welcome to "Tea with Julie," a weekly missive by me, Julie Bogart. My wish is to give you food for thought over a cup of tea to enhance your life as an educator, parent, and awesome adult. Glad you're here. Pinkies up!
P.S. Was this email forwarded to you? 
Add yourself to the list and get your own!

Cincinnati, November 7, 2020

Hi Friend,

Happy birthday to me! It's hard to grasp that I am at the end of my fifties and my years of homeschooling are well behind me. That said, I have this adorable granddaughter upon whom I plan to test drive all my new ideas since my years as a home educator have ended. Can't wait!

Today, let's take a look at how to give kind, caring, dynamic writing feedback—the kind your kids will receive without tears or self-preservation.

A mom in our BraveSchoolers Facebook Group asked how to give feedback when her son was asked to write a movie review but wrote a summary instead.

Step 1: Notice what he did do first! A summary is challenging. That he wrote one is impressive all by itself. Most reviews include a summation of the movie, so notice that. Say: “Great job summarizing the story. That’s a high level writing skill” (it is).

Step 2: Concentrate on how he writes. Talk about the power of his vocabulary, his ability to grab the reader’s attention, his deft handling of the storyline without boring the reader, or his pacing.

Step 3: Talk about the assignment—the purpose of a review. You might read some reviews so he gets a feel for them. Talk to him about how film critics analyze: what are the categories, what are the focal points (Acting? Camera work? Storyline?). Do most reviewers tell the end of the story or do they simply hook you with part of it? How do they incorporate opinion? How many examples do they include? And so on.

Step 4: Discuss what he liked and didn’t like about the movie. While he talks, take some notes. You want to capture his natural voice, if possible. 

Step 5: Incorporate his personal opinions. Hand the notes to him and say: “I’ve noticed that reviews also include the personal opinions of the reviewers about the movie. You have so many good ones. I jotted down a few of yours. As you take another look at your review, I wonder if you can incorporate your opinions as well.”

  • Narrow and expand the content to include opinions. First: zero in on one opinion. Find where it would go in the existing summary. Then expand the concept with examples from the movie.
  • If it helps, encourage him to do some freewriting to expand the concept/opinion. Do this for each idea—narrowing and expanding until there is more material to add to the draft.
  • "Stitch” the freewrites together with the original draft on yet another day.

If you follow all of these ideas, you will have had a rich, deep writing experience.

Perhaps don’t even revise this one. Just get to know the genre of reviews, reading them and talking about them. Then he might try writing a review of another movie with these ideas in mind. Make a list of aspects of film to consider for review writing. 

BOTTOM LINE: Resist the temptation to say he didn’t do what he was supposed to. Work with what he offered! Honor it, grow it, celebrate it.





P.S. Catch up on all the “Tea with Julie” emails here!

Julie Bogart
© 2020 Brave Writer LLC™

Brave Writer




Share this email: