“It takes hands to build a house,” wrote an unknown author, “but only hearts can build a home.”
Whether it’s a tiny space, a humongous mansion or anything in-between, what happens within the walls and beneath the roof of the place you call home not only help to shape your identity and your goals but also provide you with memories – good and bad - to be carried for a lifetime. The lesson plans this month are a little different from the past in that it is the physical setting itself which is used as the story-starter and provides insight into the wants, needs and personality of the individual(s) that chose each unique address.
These discussion questions provide a good foundation prior to choosing which exercises to try first.
1. Do you live in an apartment, a condominium, a duplex or a house?
2. If you were describing your home to a stranger in 25 words or less, what would you say?
3. How many people do you live with? Are there any pets?
4. Do you have a backyard? If so, what is your favorite thing to do there?
5. What’s your favorite room where you live and why?
6. If you could design your own home (and money wasn’t an object), where would it be and what would it look like?
7. Would you prefer a home in a big city, a small town, a forest, by the ocean, in the desert or in the mountains? Why?
8. Do you know your neighbors?
9. When you move away from home and into your first place, would you rather live alone or with roommates?
10. How many times have you moved thus far in your life and was it a good or bad experience? Why?
THE FIRST PART OF YOUR ASSIGNMENT
For each of the 10 dwellings pictured, ask yourself the following questions:
1. Where is it located?
2. Who lives here?
3. What attracted the resident to this particular setting?
4. What, in your opinion, is its most unique feature?
5. Is this a place you would like to live yourself? Why or why not?
Barn in Snow
THE SECOND PART OF YOUR ASSIGNMENT
Using any setting of your choosing, write a three-page scene in which the person who lives here has invited someone over for the very first time. The guest can be a sibling, a parent, a boyfriend/girlfriend, a coworker, a boss, a former classmate, an adversary, or even a prospective buyer. The scene can be any genre but as you write the dialogue, take into consideration the impression that the owner wants to project (i.e., warmth, boastfulness, embarrassment, confidence, pride). Pay particular note to the details of each interior and exterior in order to visualize your characters in this setting as the conversation unfolds. Consider as well the impact that weather conditions have on how an environment is perceived.
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 34 books, 161 plays for young actors, and 5 optioned feature films.