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Shoes on the Highway

Using Visual and Audio Cues to Inspire Student Playwrights

By Maureen B Johnson
Foreword by Gary Garrison

    I've been teaching playwriting for almost twenty-five years. I'm always looking for new ways to stimulate not only my students, but my own creative imagination.... This shoe fits, and I'm wearing it.
    —Gary Garrison

How did that shoe end up on the side of a highway?

What does that graffiti mean, and who put it there?

The answers to these simple questions, stimulated by a photograph, can make your classroom buzz with ideas, enabling students to spend time on the craft of writing instead of waiting for inspiration to strike.

Award-winning playwright and theatre educator...

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    I've been teaching playwriting for almost twenty-five years. I'm always looking for new ways to stimulate not only my students, but my own creative imagination.... This shoe fits, and I'm wearing it.
    —Gary Garrison

How did that shoe end up on the side of a highway?

What does that graffiti mean, and who put it there?

The answers to these simple questions, stimulated by a photograph, can make your classroom buzz with ideas, enabling students to spend time on the craft of writing instead of waiting for inspiration to strike.

Award-winning playwright and theatre educator Maureen Brady Johnson offers a jumpstart to teachers who want to take a first step toward teaching playwriting—or any form of creative writing—by offering audio and visual cues that stimulate creativity. These photographs, songs, lyrics, sounds, and overheard conversations help writers see the extraordinary in the ordinary and take risks in their writing as they compose short plays.

Go ahead, try something new. Watch your students cultivate storylines, create conflicts, and develop characters; see them invested in and engaged by the entire process from their first draft to a final, polished play. And marvel as they strengthen their writing skills in ways that more traditional writing assignments can’t. Read Shoes on the Highway and witness the power of playwriting at work in your classroom.

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