Friday, May 10, 2013


"The Body" Final Project!

For most of the higher high school English classes the school has them read three short stories each semester. Rather than read three short stories this year I talked to my supervisor and had them read the abridged version of Stephen King's The Body throughout the semester.

I chose this story because the students are familiar with King, and this is one of his more unique works. I also felt the boys, who tend to be less interested in English, would get into the story, yet it wasn't "overly manly" in a way that would ostracize the girls.

I liked this version because it was at a level that was suitable for my students, did not contain the R rated language King's full length novella does(short of pussy which it does use often), and was short enough to be easily read during a semester (usually less than 1,500 words a week).

We did a lot of questions and projects throughout the semester, but my favorite was their final project. Throughout the semester we watched the movie Stand By Me which is based off the novella and discussed the differences and similarities between the movie and the story. (Note: the students and their parents were warned about the movie as the language earned the film an R rating.) When we finished the story and movie we watched other short adaptations (The Simpsons, The Family Guy and several other student made versions I found online). Then I gave them their final assignment where they essentially would make their own adaptation!
The "Storyboard" for the original story

This included: Storyboards / Timelines, Descriptions of character changes, a description of their overall concept and of course: the final project: a 5 minute adaptation!

The "storyboard" for their adaptation
First students made a timeline of the novella highlighting what they felt were the key scenes in the plot they would want to reproduce.

Then, Students were encouraged to create a "What if" question to make the adaptation:

What if the main characters were fish?

What if the main characters were female?

What if they lived nowadays?

What if they were all superheroes?

After they'd chosen their main "change" they'd extend this to the characters, setting, etc. 

Finally, they made their project and shared it with the class! Here's one example that lost points for being too short (I think due to time they left out a few parts they had previously planned on including), but still ended up being the class' favorite video when it came to voting!

What if it took place in space?
They adapted the characters and setting, but most of the overall plot stayed the same. If you've read "The Body" or seen "Stand by Me" you should be able to see the similarities in the video below (I suggest you watch it on the full screen setting). 
Why there's a train on the moon... I am still not sure, but this received FULL points for creativity!

You can see how they changed many things from the story; they explained this separately: For example they replaced the deer with a shooting star because: "instead of a deer, a shooting star will appear. Shooting stars are pretty and peaceful and a beautiful moment, just as the deer is for Gordie."

If your students are doing book reports these are great! In addition, I think, they are going higher up Bloom's taxonomy (creating, extrapolating, etc) instead of just telling. They have to understand why the deer is important to the plot, and find a relevant way to convert this to their plot. 

Want to try this yourself? You can download a freebie (including the rubric and the assignment) here and the full assignment here 

What about YOU? Have you used adaptations in the class before for a text or film? How have your students reacted? I'd love to hear about it.


  1. Did you ever post supporting materials? I'd like to do this terrific project with my students.

    1. There's a freebie here (with the rubric and the assignment)

      and the full assignment here


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