It’s something we certainly all talk about but no one can do anything about. This month’s lesson plans revolve around the unpredictable whims of Mother Nature.
Whether the weather be fine,
Whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold,
Whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather,
Whatever the whether,
Whether we like it or not
These discussion questions provide a good foundation prior to choosing which exercises to try first.
1. What is your favorite kind of weather (and why)?
2. What is your least favorite kind of weather (and why)?
3. If you had to live in only one type of weather year-round, what would it be? Why does this appeal to you?
4. If your personality was a Season, what would it be?
5. What is the worst weather you have ever been in?
6. What’s your favorite article of clothing you wear in hot weather?
7. What’s your favorite article of clothing you wear in cold weather?
8. If you had the power to control the weather and people came to you to make requests, what criteria would you use to evaluate their wishes?
9. Has a sudden turn in the weather ever affected something special you wanted to do? How did you handle this?
10. Would you rather live in a region going through a severe drought or one that is constantly deluged with flooding (and why)?
PARTLY CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF INDECISION
The trouble with weather forecasting is that it’s right too often for us to ignore it and wrong too often for us to rely on it. ~Patrick Young
Your assignment: The lead character in your film is a first-time weather girl/guy. Just before this character goes on air, the notes for that day’s forecast mysteriously go missing. Write a two-page scene in which your character decides to just “wing it” and hope that no one notices.
LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW
The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found? ~J.B. Priestley
Your assignment: Your protagonist is a young foreign exchange student who has come from a desert region that has never experienced snow. S/he arrives very late at night and – being jet-lagged – immediately falls into bed at the host family’s house in upstate New York. When s/he awakens the next morning and sees the backyard covered with fresh snow, there are no words to describe the level of astonishment. Write a three-page scene in which your character runs into the kitchen to explain what’s outside to family members that pretty much take this winter wonderland for granted.
A LYRICAL FORECAST
Against the windows the storm comes dashing,
Through tattered foliage the hail tears crashing,
The blue lightning flashes,
The rapid hail clashes...
The thunder is rumbling
And crashing and crumbling...
~James Russell Lowell, "Summer Storm," 1839
Your assignment: Writing poetry is an excellent way to introduce a lyrical quality to your scripted dialogue. And when it comes to weather topics, just think of all the words that so easily rhyme: rain, snow, sun, heat, storm, wet, dry. Write a two-page scene written entirely in rhyme between a pair of characters trying to make plans for the weekend.
There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing. ~Alfred Wainwright
Your assignment: If you travel a lot, sooner or later there’s a possibility that an airline will not only lose your luggage but also divert you to a place you hadn’t planned on. In this two-page scene (which can also be a monologue), your lead character was looking forward to a vacation in sunny Miami but temporarily ends up in Fargo, ND in the middle of winter. Does s/he handle it with humor, throw a hissy fit, or break down and cry? The choice is yours.
Snowmen fall from heaven... unassembled. ~Author Unknown
Your assignment: The new manager at a software company decides that the first snowfall of the year is a great opportunity for everyone to bond in an outdoor activity; specifically, building a snowman for a corporate competition. Write a four-page scene in which the members of the team have conflicting views on how, exactly, this project should be approached.
As part of my ongoing commitment to supply great lesson plans for today’s classrooms, I always enjoy getting feedback on how the material is used and what kind of new content you’d like to see in future columns. I’m also happy to answer any questions related to specific problems your students may be struggling with. Just drop me a note at or through my website at http://www.authorhamlett.com.
Former actress/director Christina Hamlett is an award winning author, professional script consultant, and ghostwriter. Her credits to date include 31 books, 157 plays for young actors, and 5 optioned feature films.