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Beats

I’m a geek. I admit it. I watch the directors commentary for (some) TV shows.

While watching those, I’d keep hearing references to “beats”. As in “this scene leads in nicely to this beat”, or “this beat sets up the rest of the season”. A quick google search leads to the concept of beat sheets.

The best description of these beats seems to be that they are the dramatic moments that drive your plot forward. The beat sheet, then, is the reduction of your story to those elements required to make everything flow. It eliminates useless detours, while at the same time lending a three dimensionality and purpose to the story lines. The beat sheet is not just an outline of the story, it is the outline of why someone would care about the story.

Compare this to how we as teachers are taught to write lesson plans. If I can’t make it through even half of that short page without fading in my attention, how are my kids supposed to stay interested? Where is the story arc? The dramatic tension? The development of ideas? And most importantly, that AHA moment where they tell me what I’ve set them up to learn for that day?

There’s gotta be a better way to share lessons.

{ 1 } Comments

  1. Benjamin Baxter | March 10, 2008 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Movies and TV are recorded and directed under controlled conditions. Every factor is known or predictable when going onto a set.

    I’m not so savvy as to assume that I’ll know the personality of my classroom that day, or who shows up, or what I exactly have to say to exactly elicit the exact reaction I’m looking for. Reducing lesson plans to beats, if it succeeds, will be a limited success.

    http://awaitingtenure.wordpress.com/