Monday, March 16, 2009

Middle School Topic: Writing Dialogue

10-second review: Three activities in which students write dialogues.

Title: “Dialogue in Mime.” “Dialogue as Debate.” “Interior Monologue.” Thomas New Kirk. English Journal (May 1975), pp. 78-79. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary: Two students mime a confrontation. Rest of class writes the dialogue that goes along with their gestures and expressions. “Pick debatable topics like gun control laws and have students write a dialogue as though two people were arguing the point.” Interior monologue: Students select an inanimate object and have that object tell its story. “A day in the life of a pencil, an eraser or a piece of chewing gum,” etc.

Comment: Perhaps in this day of testing, teachers can’t take the time to have a little fun with writing. That’s too bad. However, the two dialogues involved in argument and debate can lead to serious assignments involving argumentation—and a serious interior monologue: see Shakespeare and Robert Browning, for example. RayS.

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