Sunday, July 7, 2013

Essay Research For Alex - The Patriot

Song:  The Patriot Reprise

Composed and Conducted:  John Williams

Alex has been working on an essay for a while now.
He had composed many drafts...
but each seemed to lack an emotional tie in.

Alex just finished his final draft tonight.

He will be submitting it in a few months to a national essay contest
for middle schoolers - The Patriot's Pen
(What Patriotism means to me).

Last year...
Alex had taken 2nd in the State of Nevada in this contest.

Alex was having some trouble coming up with the central theme
for his essay this year.

I had him watch the movie "The Patriot" to give him some ideas.

There were some key scripts in the movie which provided his central theme
for this year's essay.

I had him recall what was said by some of the main characters in the movie...
and I had him expand on them.

I also had him recall what was shown...
the concepts of Patriotism which were implied.

As this is a national contest...
I won't be putting Alex's essay here until after the final submission date
(I don't wish to give his competition an edge  :)

While the essay itself is easy to write...
the difficulty arises in the 300 - 400 word limit.

The essay must be succinct...
it must also be told from the heart.

That is why I had Alex watch the movie with me.
I had paused it several times during playback to ask him
what meaning he had gotten from a particular line or scene.

I had explained the significance of certain acts...
as portrayed in the movie.

Mel Gibson has long been one of my favorite actors.
The emotions he displays in his face and body language
is nothing short of spectacular.

He makes you feel what the character is going through.

This is what I wanted Alex to experience.

With what he had gained through his movie experience...
it had shown so much in his prose.

Even should Alex not do so well in the contest this year...
his essay is one which is not only done well technically...
but one which comes from the heart.

Right now...
Alex is writing a simple movie screenplay for fun.

It is an expanded version of a story which one of the researchers 
from Stanford University had him make up from six objects
she had chosen for him to use as the basis for his story
(She showed him the objects and had him make up something 
right there.  We had heard him speaking from across the hall.
He was just talking up a storm :)

With the essay out of the way...
Alex, and I, are working hard at our brainstorming sessions
for his science project.

While we could easily come up with many sorts of projects to do...
it really has to be special if he wants to place at this year's science fair.

Competition is so fierce at his school in Science.

The actual experiment and presentation of the evidence is the easy part.
It is the project direction which will prove to be the difficult portion.

Well, it seems we have much research and brainstorming yet to do.

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