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Lesson Plan

Writing a Flashback and Flash-Forward Story Using Movies and Texts as Models

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Writing a Flashback and Flash-Forward Story Using Movies and Texts as Models

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Michelle Kimbro

Oakwood, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



Flashbacks and flash-forwards are common devices used in literature and films. Students are introduced to examples of these devices through the film The Sandlot and/or illustrated books that utilize the flashback device. Students are then asked to create a story that contains both flashback and flash-forward. In the story, they project themselves ten years into the future and describe their lives. Something from the "present" will trigger a memory which will lead them into flashback (a narrative about something that actually happened). After drafting their stories, students peer review each other's stories and then revise based on peer feedback.

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Guidelines for Flash Back Flash-Forward Story:  This handout includes complete instructions for the Flashback Flash-Forward assignment.

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In Reading in the Dark, John Golden notes that ""The watching and analyzing of movies seemed to greatly affect (students') ability to read and critique literature" (xiv)." Similarly, Michele Whipple states: ". . . [F]indings have shown film to be an accessible and engaging material which can bind children together and bring validation to their varied home and school literacy existence" (144). Using video as a text in the classroom, teachers can focus on comprehension, interpretation, evaluation, and appreciation of various literary devices. Combining the video with a writing assignment gives students the opportunity to apply new skills in their own writing.

Further Reading

Golden, John. 2001. Reading in the Dark: Using Film as a Tool in the English Classroom. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

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Whipple, Michelle. "Let's Go to the Movies: Rethinking the Role of Film in the Elementary Classroom." Language Arts 76.2 (November 1998): 140-150.

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