I Can See It Now

Arts and Language Arts Activity

Students plan the filming of an episode from a historical novel.



  1. Ask students if they have ever watched a motion picture or television film set in an earlier period in American history. Discuss how the producers of these works made them believable (for example, by using period costumes, accurate settings, and only props actually available at the time).

  2. Have teams of students choose a book they would like to see made into a motion picture or television program. The book should be set in the Civil War period (during, just before, or immediately after). (See the partial list of books about the Civil War.)

  3. With student input, create a flow chart of the steps involved in producing a motion picture or television film. It might include the following:

  4. Have each team read (or reread) their book of choice and select one episode they think would be especially effective when dramatized. Have each team research the costumes, setting, and props for the scene they chose and produce sketches and diagrams for them.


The next logical step would be to have students produce a script, then make storyboards to go along with the script. A storyboard is a series of consecutively arranged sketches to show the changes of setting or action.

Have each team role-play selling its idea to a prospective producer by displaying sketches and/or storyboards and describing the action viewers would see.

You may be able to complete this project by having students prepare a script, choose a cast, rehearse, and videotape a dramatization.

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