Posts Tagged ‘writing assignment’

Charlie Chaplin Creative Writing Assignment

Wednesday, August 12th, 2015


While studying the 1920’s, two of my children wanted to do Charlie Chaplin projects. We all watched several silent Charlie Chaplin movies, and my kids loved the humor and the corny editing of these early movies. My 13-year-old son Stephen wanted to do a creative writing assignment about this famous actor to include in his Modern History binder. Another one of my sons decided that he wanted to make a black-and-white Charlie Chaplin short movie, and whenever he does that, we will put it into the Unit Study Treasure Vault.

Here is Stephen’s description of Charlie Chaplin and his silent movies:

Charlie Chaplin Creative Writing Assignment

Charlie Chaplin was the king of slapstick comedy (sorrowfully, not the Three Stooges) in the period known as the Roaring Twenties. He starred in those old-fashioned black-and-white silent films, which weren’t all that silent because of some crazy guy banging out an ancient tune on a weather-beaten old piano.

Our clumsy clod sported a fake-looking mustache and black bowler hat. He also wore a waistcoat and baggy trousers. He was very sensitive about his hat’s position on his head and was constantly adjusting it.

Those silent films were always without any talking whatsoever (I have no idea how the audience could put up with it) and staged most of the time in a random town or house somewhere. In one of them, Charlie was so poor he had to resort to thievery to get money. In that movie he hid an alarm clock in his pants (the last place I would want to put an alarm clock), and it started ringing. He jumped around like my aunt Betsy when her socks are on fire, trying to extingui—I mean silence—the alarm clock (weren’t there snooze buttons back then?)

Another movie was made during the end of WWI which was criticizing and making fun of the trench warfare. In it he pretended to be a tree as he was spying out the enemy lines. He was a good tree. When a German soldier went to get wood, he immediately went for the Charlie Tree. The tree whacked the soldier on the head whenever he turned his back, eventually knocking him out cold (reminds me of my half cousin). His friends came and saw him lying there, and soon they too were lying on top of him.

In the trenches he had a varied assortment of odds and ends he took with him, including a mousetrap and cheese. The other soldiers in the trench constantly got their fingers stuck in it. On the first night the trenches got flooded, and they had to sleep face-deep in dirty, ice-cold water. As Charlie was rubbing some life into his feet when he woke up, he accidentally grabbed someone else’s foot and started rubbing it. Naturally the foot in question woke up its owner in a very grumpy mood.

In a different movie, Charlie was working in a factory when the manager and some weird dudes walked up with this crazy contraption which consisted of a large rotating disc with soup, some cubed food, a napkin strapped to a fat horseshoe, and corn-on-the-cob on a spinning arm. They chose Charlie as their first target and shoved him into it. Then they turned it on. It first lifted the soup bowl and poured some into his mouth. Then it lowered, and the napkin was rubbed across his face. The disc then turned a quarter-turn, and the plate with the cubed stuff was lifted. Then an arm pushed the stuff into his mouth as the plate spun slowly. The napkin cleaned him off and malfunctioned. It started to massage his face quicker, and quicker, until it was a blur. They managed to turn it off, fix it, and restart it. It failed again, and this time they couldn’t fix it. It went out of control and caught fire (don’t ask me where the fire came from). In the end Charlie was released, and the contraption was thrown away.

Charlie Chaplin was the best of the best in his time. Nowadays there are better actors, but back then he was a rarity. Editing must have just been invented when he was around, and pretty basic editing at that (like speeding up and cutting-and-pasting). That added a bit more humor to this already funny guy.

Uncle Tom’s Cabin: A Humorous Summary

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

uncle-tom's-cabin-a-humorous-summaryMy 12-year-old son wanted to write a humorous summary of Uncle Tom’s Cabin as one of his writing assignments for his Civil War Binder. He really did a creative job, bringing in details from the story with irony and sarcasm:

Let’s say you were teleported to the time of slavery in America and turned black. Before you knew it, you would find yourself in a horse-drawn cart along with other black people meandering along a muddy road with hairy, stinky, muddy, rough white guys driving or stirring up a ruckus. You would go to a storehouse—the kind that one would keep furniture or animals in—where you would wait. Occasionally you would see other black people singing a tuneless song or just moaning and groaning on a pile of hay.

After a few days, the man in charge (who would be white) would take you out in the blazing sun and put you and the others on auction. People would bid for you as if you were a piece of furniture or art, and they would come up to you and look at your teeth to see how healthy you were and at your muscles to see how strong you were just like one would do with horses. Eventually you would be sold to a bullet-headed man named Simon Legree.

He would take you and others down a very rough road to a cotton plantation far south. The house looked vaguely like it was once a beautiful house, but it had been unimaginably mistreated. Then he would unload you all, and three or four ferocious dogs would come bounding up to you, barking and growling for all they’re worth. Legree would warn you that you were gonna be torn to pieces by the dogs if you tried to run away. You would immediately be set to work in the cotton fields along with the others that he bought, under the will of Legree’s two slave masters, Simbo and Quimbo, who were both so degraded they were like beasts.

At the end of the day, you would wait in line to grind your share of corn in the small hand mill. The stronger slaves would push the weaker ones out of the way so they would get to grind first. You would help some of the weaker women to grind their corn, so you would be last. After you ate (the meal only consisted of ground corn mixed with water baked over an open fire), you would go to your allotted shack, which was literally only one tiny room with a dirt floor and a blanket spread out.

The next day at dawn you would be forced up by either Simbo or Quimbo and set to work in the fields. You would occasionally take some cotton from your bag and put it in someone else’s bag to help them. If you were caught doing that, you would be whipped and set back to work. The days would turn into weeks and weeks into months and months into years, and you would work from dawn to dusk nonstop with only one meal a day. You would be so tired you could hardly work, but you managed to bring in a full load of cotton every time.

Then you would tell a slave girl named Cassy that she shouldn’t murder Legree to get away. Instead, she should dress up as a ghost and hide in the garret and scare him to death. She should pretend to run away, making sure she passed by the window, then go into the nearby swamp so they would have to assemble a search party. After doing that, you tell her to go into the stream and wade back to the house and stay in the “haunted” garret for months, then run away.

When she does that, it works. She and her friend successfully run away to Canada. Meanwhile, Legree beats you to death.

If you enjoyed this summary of Uncle Tom’s Cabin, you will love all the history activities inside the Unit Study Treasure Vault!

Red Badge of Courage: Humorous Summary

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015


When my 14-year-old son asked if he could write a humorous summary of The Red Badge of Courage, I was skeptical whether he could pull it off, but he did!

We are working on building our Civil War binder, and the kids could choose what their writing assignments would be. Even though I read several works of literature to the kids aloud, they also had other Civil War books they read on their own, and one of those books was The Red Badge of Courage. Only my older two sons were required to read it, since the reality of the shock of war might be inappropriate for younger children. For kids ages 12 and up, there are many philosophical questions that arise about the value of war and its effects on a man. This makes the book worth reading because it deepens the reader’s understanding of war.

Here is the humorous writing assignment that summarizes the book quite well:

The Red Badge of Courage: A Summary

by Bryan Evans

So this guy hears about another glorious victory, and he decides to join the army. His mother says not to but he does anyway. Once he’s there, he waits for days and days in camps without a battle, all the time contemplating whether he would chicken out and run away at the first battle. They finally march, and he starts thinking he didn’t join of his own accord; he was forced by the government.

The battle starts, and bullets are shot, and there’s smoke everywhere while some of the people in his regiment run away. Then he runs away. He immediately hears his regiment won. He gets really mad and calls all the people in his regiment fools.

He walks off into the forest and thinks about how he ran away. He throws a pine cone at a squirrel, and the squirrel runs to a tree and climbs up the tree and into its hole. He says, “See? It’s a law of nature! The squirrel didn’t expose itself to the pine cone; it retreated!”

He then stumbles across a dead guy, and he shrieks and runs away. He comes to a retreating regiment and tries to stop someone to ask why they were running away. He finally manages to grab someone’s rifle, and he says, “Why, why?” The other guy hits him on the head with the rifle.

Late that night, he comes back to the camp with blood all over his head and says, “I held ’em off for a while, but I got hurt really bad.” While they doctor him, they say, “That’s funny, you look just like you got hit on the head with a rifle!” Then he goes to sleep and wakes up the next morning.

They go to another battle, and he fights like a bullet-shooting machine. Someone says, “Hey, there’s no point shooting when there’s nothing to shoot at.” He looks up and sees that he’s shooting at the air. They make a big charge, and he runs with all his might toward that group of trees. It feels to him like he charges for ages but later he looks at the same trees and thinks it really isn’t that far. The General says to the Colonel that the guys in his regiment don’t fight very well.

They say, “Oh yeah? We’ll show him!” And they make another charge, this time a bigger one. He runs with all his might again. Then the flag bearer dies. Quickly, he grabs the flag and keeps charging. They get to enemy lines, and they absolutely demolish them. His friend grabs the enemy flag, and that particular attack is completely successful. The General says to the Colonel, “Wow, those two people holding flags kept the flags way out in front. Maybe they should go up in the ranks because they fought so well.” He and his friend say, “YEAH!”

But the ghost of the first battle when he ran away haunts him. He decides to just forget about his retreat from the first battle. So that’s what he does.

Homeschooling Reluctant Writers: Scrapbooking Supplies

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Homeschooling Reluctant Writers
A series of 10 fun writing assignments given by a pirate)

Aaaaarrggghh! This is Dread Pirate Susan Evans here to give you ideas for homeschooling reluctant writers.

homeschooling-reluctant-writers-10Writing Idea #10: Scrapbooking Supplies

  •  You can use scrapbooking supplies! For example, you can find stickers in the form of robots, and you can write a story around that sticker. Here is another robot story. Very nice. Here’s another robot story, and another robot story by a 5-year-old. Lots of robots, eh?
  • There are pirate stickers, and there are scrapbooking papers that are like outer space and cool stuff like that. Or you can have bugs and insects and write a poem. For example, “In the midnight dark sky/ Insects are fluttering by./ The crickets are chirping./ Everything is quiet.” This was written by a 5-year-old boy. Yes, he’s good, isn’t he?
  • Take a look at more scrapbooking supplies (at your local craft store). There are so many scrapbooking papers. Look at them all! Camouflage paper, pirate paper, monkey paper, race car paper, autumn paper. There’s paper that looks like wood, and paper that looks like rocks. There’s paper that looks like burlap, paper that has music on it, football paper, corkboard paper, patriotic paper, girly paper.
  • You could write on a sheet of paper, and then glue it onto one of these scrapbooking papers as a background. You could also decorate a journal with one of these papers.
  • There are many, many stickers as well. Here are some stickers for theater, movie stickers, camping stickers, crown stickers, forest stickers, bird stickers, 3-dimensional flowers. We have cowboy stickers, pirate stickers, more pirate stickers, fishing stickers, bike riding stickers, Paris stickers, music stickers, beach vacation stickers.

This is Dread Pirate Susan Evans, signing off. Aaaaarrggghhh!

Calling all homeschooled kids! I dare you to make a video response to this pirate video on YouTube:

  • Write a full page story, using scrapbooking supplies to decorate your writing..
  • Read your story  into a video camera, and upload it to YouTube.
  • Go to the above video on YouTube, and press “video response.”
  • I am automatically notified when someone posts a video response. After watching it, I will embed it right here on this page!