Experiences: Writing Workshop Visits The Walt Disney Family Museum

Humanities instructor Ellen Greenblatt discusses her class’ recent visit to the Presidio’s own Walt Disney Family Museum (WDFM).

Before going to the WDFM, students in the Writing Workshop class were working on honing their interpretive and analytical skills, using “The Book Thief” by Marcus Zusak as a model text. Students focused on plot, character, setting and point of view, going beyond summary and observation to interpretation of the importance of these literary elements in conveying meaning and significance.

Last week in class, students attempted to storyboard one of the scenes from “The Book Thief” as a way of going even more deeply into interpretation. Since storyboards are at the foundation of Walt Disney’s view of narrative and film, a logical step was to enlist the help of the WDFM. The students first had a tour of the museum, experiencing how Walt (“Uncle Walt” as Hillary, our guide, called him) worked before meeting with animator Reuben to try their own hands at creating a panel for a Disney movie – a panel that showed their interpretive judgments. Time flew by, and we ran out of time, but students will both continue to work on their Disney panels and apply what they have learned to storyboards about “The Book Thief.” We have just begun! Thanks to Jennifer Dick, Engagement Programs Manager at the WDFM, for arranging and coordinating our visit.

Check out WDFM’s website here.

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