Here’s a new approach – an innovative teacher is using zombies to teach writing to her high school students, and now the experiment in teaching key concepts has become celebrated.
At Revere High School, teacher Nancy Barile has used the enthusiasm for the television show “The Walking Dead” to generate interest in her students in character development, essay writing, and what makes good fiction. Most teens would not be so excited about these concepts, but the “Walking Dead” class builds on their interest.
“If kids are your business, you have to know your business,” she said. “I spent hours and hours developing the curriculum over the summer. It was very, very time intensive and it’s a work in progress. It’s got to be the right blend of watching, writing, talking and analyzing. When you get kids turning in a four-page typewritten essay that’s only supposed to be two pages, and they turn it in two days early, that’s success. The kids are really taking it seriously and they’re very proud of their work.”
Barile got the idea when her student, Jordan Toledo, did not want to do reading assignments at home because he contended that all the concepts were online, or on television. He told Barile that all the concepts she taught were contained in “The Walking Dead.”
“He told me that everything I was trying to teach was in the ‘Walking Dead,’ including symbolism, character development, paradox and allegory,” she said. “I couldn’t get into it at first, but on Thanksgiving Break last year I gave it another chance and I got hooked on it. I ended up watching all five episodes in a weekend.”