If you want your homeschool students to learn to write, give them the book they'll want to read.
Like to adapt stories to skits or screenplays, something you and your friends can act out? Go to Sample Stories, scroll down to One Dumb Bank Robber and adapt it to a skit. The two adaptations below show how two students in Brooklyn adapted the story about plagiarism, the first story in the book.
 I remember how much I liked to take on the role of an actor when I was a student. 
When I was a kid, I used to set up a little theater in the back of the house, complete
with a curtain (actually a sheet) that slid along a wire so I could open and close it.
I finished my homemade theater by adding two chairs in front for my mom and dad.
Poor souls...they agreed to sit there while I rambled on to imaginary scene partners.
Today, I hear that students still like to act, and because acting, like writing, is another
kind of communication, I decided to see if I could find a student or two who wanted to adapt
a story to the stage, the stage being a classroom or a theater in the back of the house.
Guess what? I got lucky!

If Class 609 at William Alexander Middle School,in Brooklyn,NY, gave out Oscars for
original adaptation of a short story to the stage, the winners would be Claire and Ava,
and I'm pleased to bring you their screen writing talents right here on our own little
stage. For now, read and imagine the scenes playing out as they did for Ava and Claire.
First, from Claire, a screenplay adapted from the story, "It's Latin for Kidnapping."

The black clothes, the silent crowd, the rope around her neck – nothing makes sense
to Heather as the reality suddenly hits her. Next to her, her brother Dave looks on
at her with wide, scared eyes.

HEATHER: It's a giant game of Hangman!

DAVE: Um, actually we're in Newgate prison. You see the barred windows?

HEATHER: EEK! W-what for?

DAVE: I'm not sure, but a constable came into the classroom, the teacher handed him
something, and next thing I remember, we're standing here with ropes tied around our
necks. A constable climbs some steps onto the platform where Dave and Heather are
standing. Dave listens to the creak of wood, thinking that the creaks are sounding
their death knell.

HEATHER: Constable, sir, there has to be a mistake! We didn't do anything.

CONSTABLE: Nope. The judge is coming in a couple of minutes to…do the honors.

DAVE: (rubbing the back of his neck where the rope bites into his skin): Isn't
there another option, sir?

CONSTABLE: This is the other option. The first one was the electric chair.
The judge climbs the steps to them, and faces the crowd. Dave and Heather exchange glances.

JUDGE: Quiet! (Pause.) Heather and Dave Wells, do you know just why you are
on the hangman's platform? Do you know why you have reached the ultimate sentence?

HEATHER: (almost faints with the realization): No, your honor. We're innocent.

The judge holds up Heather and Dave's term papers.

JUDGE: You were convicted of grand theft. For stealing another's words and passing
them as your own. Your teacher—(he indicates Dave's teacher in the crowd)—can see
right through it.

DAVE: What? (He glowers at Heather, mouthing ' That was your idea, not mine.)

JUDGE: (glaring at Dave): It's called intellectual property, belonging to the author!
It's illegal boy! Plagiarism! Latin for Kidnapping!

HEATHER: But- I thought everyone did it, Your honor. I didn't know it was wrong.

JUDGE: It is wrong! Very wrong! You could receive a fail or get suspended! Must I
repeat myself? Do you not realize the implications of your actions?

SPECTATOR 1: Boil 'em in cheese fondue!

AUTHOR: Off with their heads!

SPECTATORS 2 & 3: Death's too good for 'em!

JUDGE: (almost purple in the face from hollering): QUIET, I SAY!

Dave has a ridiculous thought that the judge looks a lot like a beet
on legs, but he keeps silent. The judge places his hand on the lever that
will open the trapdoors under Heather and Dave. Heather looks up at the sky,
mouthing that her parents will forgive her and her brother.

JUDGE: Five, four, three, two, one—

(Dave pokes Heather's forearm, standing next to his sister's Murphy bed)

DAVE: You can wake up now. Mum wants you to do the dishes.
HEATHER: Oh Lord, I had the most awful dream…

She opens her term paper on the computer, along with Dave's.

DAVE: What are you doing now? Mum's going to blame me if you don't go.
HEATHER: Call it giving back what isn't ours.

(She starts to paraphrase the research she found, feeling a lot better)

HEATHER (to herself): T'was just a nightmare…right?

The End


The Dream of Plagiarism

by Ava

"So how is life?" Jane said in the corner of the cell smoking on a cigarette.

"Why you asking me that! Don't you see where we are! We are stuck in jail as
Juvenile prisoners!" Liz yelling at Jane. Liz went in circles.

"Ya know what? We ain't prisoners here!" Jane was from Jersey shore with her

"If it weren't for you, we wouldn't even be in this crappie cell with gangsters
that are hood rats!" Liz still mad at Jane.

"Come On pickles your cucumbers are here!" The deputy said.

"REALLY!" Liz holding the jail bars.

"Yep. We just got to go to a place….Where they sell cucumbers." The deputy
still talking. Cell door opening.

"Get out hooligans!"

(2 hours later)

"Hey where are my cucumbers?!" Liz questioning.

"Be quiet and sit down here!" Liz went to the spot.

"Liz Manyon and Jane Zak, I guess you two were caught in action, huh!"
The judge laughing. "Do you know why you are in this building? Do you know
what you two have been charged with by being in here?" Judge asking.

"Actually no sir," Liz said. "This is all wrong! We didn't do anything to get

The judge took a stack of white stapled papers and held it in his hand.

"These are yours right?" Liz looked closely at the stack of papers. "You two
have been charged with plagiarism!" The judge looking straight in the eye at
Jane. "Plagiarism means copying words and pictures into writing and description.
It's the writer's own property! That means it is his own property. That says in
the let me think, LAW! These paragraphs are totally not invisible, you can see
word for word on this paper to this internet source you used!" The judge explaining.

"But I didn't know that was wrong to do, I thought people do that," Liz said.

"Well sadly it is wrong, it makes you fail a grade, and it gets you suspended.
It's absolutely wrong!" the Judge saying. "You are basically being a theft my friend,
stealing something from anyone is bad for you!"

"Put them in the oil spill!" a person shouted.

"I'd rather be the queen of hearts so OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!" an author yelling.

"Shhhhhhhhhh! You jury sit down and zip it! I am going to give these two BFF girls
that are thieves as a dessert!" The Judge yelling angrily "1..2..3..4..5..and!"

"Liz wake up you idiot! It's time to go!" Jane, Liz's big sister yelled.
"Where am I?" Liz questioned. "Mumble slash floppy world on the couch for an
hour!" Jane said.
"Hey uh Sis…" Liz stopped Jane.
"What?" Jane questioned.
"May you please not give the beauty pageant article to your teacher!" Liz said.
"Why?" Jane asked again.
"Because I thought you needed help so I copied all the sites info and pasted on
your article." Liz explaining.
"Okay well I guess that's what twerps are for!" Jane said with a smile.

The End

Thank you Ava and Claire for your talents!!

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