Language Arts Challenge
The Mystery of the Missing Page
Submission Due Date: March 27, 2020
Designed for Middle and High School Students
Table of Contents
Range of Activities
For many years, it was rumored that a page was missing from the masterpiece you are reading. Did the publisher lose the page? Did the author or playwright rip it out at the last minute? No one knows. But speculation has always been that this page was about the inner thoughts of a key character at a critical moment in the work you are reading.
Guess what? You found the page. Well, that’s not quite true. In this challenge, you must write the missing page from the play, novel, or short story you are reading. What was left out or missing from the story? What may the author have been trying to hide? Was this page deliberately taken out of the book or was it forgotten or lost? The goal of this challenge is to imagine what the author has in mind for this character at your select moment. Then you must convey the information from this page in a short dramatization (two minutes) …in a Modern Family or The Office ‘aside’ approach.
- Missing Page Digital Story (this is the only Meridian Stories deliverable)
- Missing Page Draft (at teacher’s discretion)
- Scene Script (at teacher’s discretion)
Assumptions and Logistics
Time Frame– We recommend that this Meridian Stories Competition takes place inside of a three to four-week time frame.
Length– All Meridian Stories submissions should be under 4 minutes in length, unless otherwise specified.
Slate– All media work must begin with a slate that provides:
- the title of the piece;
- the name of the school submitting;
- the wording ‘Permission Granted’ which gives Meridian Stories the right to a) publicly display the submission in question on, as linked from, related to or in support of Meridian Stories digital media; and b) use or reference it for educational purposes only in any all media; and
- We strongly recommend that students do not put their last names on the piece either at the start or finish, during the credits.
Submissions– Keep in mind that each school can only submit three submissions per Competition (so while the entire class can participate in the Challenge, only three can be submitted to Meridian Stories for Mentor review and scoring).
Teacher Reviews– All reviews by the teacher are at the discretion of the teacher and all suggested paper deliverables are due only to the teacher. The only deliverable to Meridian Stories is the media work.
Teacher’s Role and Technology Integrator– While it is helpful to have a Technology Integrator involved, they are not usually necessary: the students already know how to produce the media. And if they don’t, part of their challenge is to figure it out. They will! The teacher’s primary function in these Challenges is to guide the students as they engage with the content. You don’t need to know editing, sound design, shooting or storyboarding: you just need to know your content area, while assisting them with time management issues.
Digital Rules/Literacy– We strongly recommend that all students follow the rules of Digital Citizenry in their proper usage and/or citation of images, music and text taken from other sources. This recommendation includes producing a citations page at the end of your entry, if applicable. See the Digital Rules area in the Meridian Resources Center section of the site for guidance.
Location– Try not to shoot in a classroom at your school. The classroom, no matter how you dress it up, looks like a classroom and can negatively impact the story you are trying to tell.
Collaboration– We strongly recommend that students work in teams of 3-4: part of the educational value is around building collaborative skill sets. But students may work individually.
Below is a suggested breakdown of the students’ work.
During Phase I, student teams will:
- Choose a critical scene from the play, novel, or short story you are reading.
- Analyze the scene and develop an in-depth understanding of the material. Focus on a single character that your team has selected to be featured in this Challenge. Here are several questions to consider:
- In this moment you have chosen, what is your character thinking, hoping, believing, and feeling? What do you want to know about her/him…that you don’t (because this is your chance to make it up!)?
- What might be her/his end goal? Does your character understand the obstacles to her/his goal in this scene?
- How self-aware is your character in this scene?
- One strategy may be to have each team member write their own interpretations separately and then come together to compare approaches.
- Now, with a strong sense of the key components of the scene and your character’s role in this scene, brainstorm about the content in the Missing Page. Questions to consider include:
- Given the character’s stated motivations above, is this something you want to alter or shift?
- Is she/he being fully honest with themselves in this new Missing Page?
- How does what you are adding change or elevate our understanding of the character? The work of literature?
- What was the author hiding from us …that you have revealed?
- Gather some evidence of authorial style. This will allow you to write as the author would.
- When we say ‘evidence of authorial style,’ what are we talking about? Word choice; sentence structure; pacing; use of adjectives and adverbs (i.e., how descriptive); tone – ironic? comic?; repetition; complexity/simplicity of imagery; metaphorical usage and comparative tendencies – natural, scientific, imaginative, none of the above.
- Write the missing page, as if you are the author, in no more than 300 words. As you are doing so, pay particular attention to the author’s writing style; or the diction that your character uses, as per the step above about authorial style. You ARE the character, and, You ARE the author. Use their language.
- Teacher’s Option: Missing Page Draft– Teachers may require that groups hand in their draft Missing Page for feedback.
During Phase II, student teams will:
- With the Missing Page written it is now time to focus on how you will dramatize this new information using the familiar Aside technique – character(s) breaking the fourth wall and speaking directly to camera. Your two fundamental options are:
- A dramatic scene with one or two Asides integrated into the scene to communicate the new content of this Missing Page; or
- The entire scene is an Aside – your character (or characters) step out of the drama of the scene and directly address the audience with this new information form the Missing Page.
- One notion to keep in mind: will part of your scene help explain why this page went missing to begin with?
- You could have, for example, the author her/himself be the voice of this new scene – be the one who breaks the fourth wall and starts talking directly to camera.
- Brainstorm the visual presentation. There will be two parts: 1) A brief set-up of the scene in question. This can be straight text on screen or any other format. Keep it simple. 2) Your dramatization of the new content integrating the Aside technique.
- Questions to consider:
- How will you introduce the scene? Keep in mind that many of your viewers won’t know this scene, so you want to provide enough information for them to enjoy this moment that you are creating.
- Who is going to perform the scene?
- Will there be other characters in the scene? If so, what will they be doing? What will they be wearing?
- Where will this be shot?
- How will the Asides be shot…and where …and from what camera angle?
- Draft the Missing Page script, reading it out loud as you revise (remember to keep this to around two minutes). Keep asking yourself: have you successfully introduced a well-crafted scene that is consistent with the original material? Are the character’s thoughts being effectively communicated that were not in the original narrative?
- Keep in mind that in Modern Family and The Office, the Asides are used to both illuminate the inner workings of the characters’ minds, as well as …make us laugh. Asides are, generally, a comic device. They don’t have to work that way, but keep that in mind as you create this fun component to your Missing Page narrative.
- The character being featured does not have to be the one to deliver the Aside. In Modern Family and The Office, it’s often other characters who deliver the Aside about another character.
- Asides can happen during the scene, with a simple eye shift directly to the camera, or before or after the scene, in an adjacent setting. Plan on creating one or two Asides.
- To conclude:
- First, you write out the introduction, or how the Missing Page scene will be introduced
- Next, script and block the dramatization of your Missing Page
- Teacher’s Option: Scene Script– Teachers may require that groups hand in a final script of their digital story for feedback.
During Phase III, student teams will:
- Rehearse and pre-produce the video, paying attention to costuming, location, lighting and blocking.
- Shoot the video
- Pay extra close attention to diversity of camera angles, audio quality, and acting.
- Edit the video, keeping in mind how and when you are integrating the Asides.
- Sound design – Sound design can help drive the drama and conjure an emotional response from the audience. Think about including sounds and/or music that will elicit a positive response from the audience.
- Mix it all together and …wrap!
Final Note to Students and Teachers: This Challenge is purposefully messy! Are you the author? Are you the character? Does the information in your Missing Page change the ultimate story dramatically or only a little? Is your Missing Page all prose or all dialogue or both? Should the dramatization include the actual language of the Missing Page? There are no clear answers to these questions. This Challenge is partially about you having the chance to shape literature using the tools of your author – their language, their characters, their story. Have fun. Be bold. See what happens.
Presentation of Learning
Meridian Stories is a proud partner of the non-profit Share Your Learning, which is spearheading the movement of over five millionstudents to publicly share their work as a meaningful part of their educational experience.
The workforce considers Presentational Skills to be a key asset and we encourage you to allow students to practice this skill set as often as possible. These digital stories provide a great opportunity for kids to practice their public presentational skills.
According to Share Your Learning, Presentations of Learning (POL) promote…
- Student Ownership, Responsibility & Engagement. POLs can serve as a powerful rite of passage at the end of [a project]. By reflecting on their growth over time in relation to academic and character goals, grounded in evidence from their work, students are encouraged to take ownership of their learning. Just as an artist wants their portfolio to represent their best work, POLs encourage students to care deeply about the work they will share.
- Community Pride & Involvement. When peers, teachers and community members come together to engage with student work and provide authentic feedback, they become invested in students’ growth and serve as active contributors to the school community.
- Equity. POLs ensure that all students are seen and provide insight into what learning experiences students find most meaningful and relevant to their lives.
Meridian Stories’ own research indicates this to be a really useful exercise for one additional reason: Students actually learn from their peers’ presentations – it is useful to hear a perspective that is not just the teacher’s.
It is with this in mind that we you encourage you to plan an event – it could be just an end-of-the-week class or an event where parents, teachers and student peers are invited – to allow the students to showcase their Meridian Stories projects. For more free resources that will support this planning, visit shareyourlearning.org.
Meridian Support Resources
|Meridian Stories provides two forms of support for the student teams:
1. Meridian Innovators and Artists – This is a series of three to four-minute videos featuring artists and innovative professionals who offer important advice, specifically for Meridian Stories, in the areas of creativity and production.
2. Media Resource Collection – These are short documents that offer student teams key tips in the areas of creativity, production, game design and digital citizenry.
Recommended review, as a team, for this Challenge include:
|Meridian Innovators and Artists||Media Resource Collection|
|On Scriptwriting and Comedy – Kent Pierce
On Fiction Writing – Lily King
On the Importance of Character in Storytelling – Scott Nash
On Producing – Tom Pierce
|“Creating Storyboards, Framing a Shot”
“Creative Brainstorming Techniques”
“Producing – Time Management”
“Video Editing Basics”
Evaluation Rubric – The Mystery of the Missing Page
|Criteria||1 – 10|
|Introduction – Engaging and Effectiveness||The introduction is engaging and clearly articulates the narrative dynamic in which the scene is set|
|New Scene – Consistency with Original Intentions of the Character||The Missing Page scene adds new layers of meaning while staying consistent with the original intentions of the character and literary work|
|Character –Consistency with Original Characters||The character’s emotions and message expand on the original in an authentic way|
|Criteria||1 – 10|
|Scene Staging||The staging of the scene, including the introduction, maximizes the meaning of the narrative|
|The Asides||The direct-to-camera acting excels at capturing the essence of the character and delivers on the potential of the Asides Technique of communicating a character’s inner thoughts|
|Language – Authentic and Effective||The selection of words and flow of speech are true to the authorial style and/or voice of the character|
|Criteria||1 – 10|
|Visual Elements – Setting, Shot Selection and Wardrobe||The visual elements are carefully crafted to enhance the scene’s intent|
|Directing and Editing||The final edited piece services the narrative effectively and compellingly. The narrative and the Asides flow well together in the editing|
|Sound Design||The curated use of voice, sound effects and/or music enhances the content of the video|
|21st CENTURY SKILLS COMMAND (teachers only)|
|Criteria||1 – 10|
|Collaborative Thinking||The group demonstrated flexibility in making compromises and valued the contributions of each group member|
|Creativity and Innovation||The group brainstormed many inventive ideas and was able to evaluate, refine and implement them effectively|
|Initiative and Self-Direction||The group set attainable goals, worked independently and managed their time effectively, demonstrating a disciplined commitment to the project|
- How does being an author vs. being a reader change one’s understanding and interpretation of the character (and therefore, of story)?
- How important is language and word choice to fiction writing?
- What effect does interpreting and scripting a new scene have on one’s understanding of the original material?
- How does creating and performing an Aside technique – designed to expose the inner thoughts of a character – deepen your understanding of the literary content?
- How has immersion in the creation of original content and the production of digital media – exercising one’s creativity, critical thinking and digital literacy skills – deepened the overall educational experience?
- How has working on a team – practicing one’s collaborative skills – changed the learning experience?
- Students will come away with an understanding and appreciation of authorial control and choice in this movement from consuming narrative to creating narrative.
- Students will have an increased awareness of an author’s use and control of language – word choice and style – to achieve engaging narrative ends.
- The students will have a deeper understanding of the values of literature – of human nature, of writing – by inserting their own words into the existing narrative.
- Students will use humor and understanding of character to further illuminate meaning in their work of literature.
- The student will utilize key 21stcentury skills, with a focus on creativity, critical thinking and digital literacy, in their process of translating literary content into a new narrative approach.
- The student will have an increased awareness of the challenges and rewards of team collaboration. Collaboration – the ability to work with others – is considered one of the most important 21stcentury skills to develop in students as they prepare for life after secondary school.
Common Core Curricular Correlations
The Mystery of the Missing Page Challenge addresses a range of curricular objectives that have been articulated by the new Common Core Curricular Standards – English Language Arts. Below pleasefind the standards that are addressed, either in whole or in part.
Common Core Curricular Standards – English Language Arts Standards
Key Ideas and Details
|Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.||Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.||Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).|
Craft and Structure
|Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including analogies or allusions to other texts.||Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text,
Including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone (e.g., how the language evokes a sense of time and place; how it sets a formal or informal tone).
|Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in the text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone, including words with multiple meanings or language that is particularly fresh, engaging, or beautiful.|
Integration of Knowledge
|NA||Analyze the representation of a subject or a key scene in two different artistic
mediums, including what is emphasized or absent in each treatment
|Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating how each version interprets the source text.|
Text Types and Purposes
|Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.||Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.||Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.|
Production and Distribution of Writing
|Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.||Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.||Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.|
Production and Distribution of Writing
|With some guidance and support from peers and adults, develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on how well purpose and audience have been addressed.||Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.||Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience.|
Production and Distribution of Writing
|Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.||Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.||NA|
Research to Build and Present Knowledge
|Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.||Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.||Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.|
SPEAKING AND LISTENING
Comprehension and Collaboration
|Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher- led) with diverse partners on grade 8 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.||Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 9–10 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.||Initiate and participate effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one- on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grades 11–12 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly and persuasively.|
SPEAKING AND LISTENING
Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas
|Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.||Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.||Make strategic use of digital media (e.g., textual, graphical, audio, visual, and interactive elements) in presentations to enhance understanding of findings, reasoning, and evidence and to add interest.|
Conventions of Standard English
|Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.||Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.||Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.|
Vocabulary Acquisition and Use
|Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.||Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.||Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.|