Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Making Movies - Using Digital Texts to Document Personal Connections

This project was published on the Digital Is webpage.

In my junior level American Literature classes, we need to cover a play by Shakespeare each year to be able to meet our Common Core State Standards. Last year, however, I didn't get it done. I just couldn't figure out how to connect a Shakespeare play to one of the fulcrum texts we were already reading in class-at least not in a meaningful package that wouldn't distract for too much time.

Then, I found a great unit plan by Cindy O'Donnell-Allen and Jenny St. Romain, and I knew connecting Hamlet to Of Mice and Men with an overarching theme of resilience would work perfectly.

Next, I started to look for interesting ways to have students represent what they learned in a compact way. I was thinking of having students perform a scene from the play in groups. Yet, when I had done that in the past, students never created something worth capturing on film. The time for preparation and creative application just wasn't sufficient on my timeline. I needed something more focused.

In my reader program, I stumbled upon the Australian Theatre for Young People group, and saw their wonderfully stitched together version of the main soliloquy in Hamlet. I was intrigued. All I needed then was a way to connect it to the student's lives to make it work.

As I thought about what was really happening in Hamlet's monologue, I was simultaneously covering Joseph Campbell's ideas in other classes. Soon, I became convinced that each of my students would have had a similar moment in their lives which they could include in the film through location, setting, and reflection.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Students Published

I am very happy to announce that my spring 2012 American Literature class had their work published at Bookdrum.com. While reading Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried, the class gathered and formatted information about the book, the setting, unknown cultural references, unknown words, and the author, and also wrote a book review. I am so proud of the work they put into this project.

You can see their book profile on Bookdrum's Website. Included under the "contributor page" are links for student's Post Modern Multimedia Research Projects and their Letters About a Thing They Carry which were both published as missions on Youthvoices.net.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Post Modern Research Project

My American Literature class created Post Modern Multimedia Research Projects in coordination with the book The Things They Carried. They researched a question that was interesting for them and used Movie Maker Live to combine perspectives from the book, from interviews, from music, from movies, and from any other source they could find. The results are very open and very connected. I am very impressed with the whole class. All of the results, along with student reflections on the project, are posted on Youth Voices, and I will embed a couple of examples below.

While the movies worked well, and the students were very engaged with them, there are a few things I would change next time. First, I would schedule in some work with movie maker before hand. Perhaps have the class work in groups to make something. This would minimize the learning curve, and it would also allow for more experimentation with techniques like layering in audio tracks. Second, I would require the use of proper MLA citations in the reflection as well as a bibliography in order to meet the state standards for research papers.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Media Studies Movies

For this project, students had to include product placement, greenscreen technology, some film shot outside of school, various types of shots, and a complete story. Most of the filming was done on phones, and the editing was done on iMovie and Windows Live Movie Maker.

The project started with creating storyboards for various scenes in the movies.

Once the movies were finished, they entered them into the Youtube Your Film Festival competition.

On the last day of the unit, we viewed all of the movies in class. We also voted on which film was the best. Students asked if the winning team could remake their movie using everyone in the whole class to help make it better.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Working 21st century Skills Definition

A Working 21st Century Skills Definition

The relationship between curriculum and instruction is obviously a very close one. Curriculum is essentially a design, or roadmap for learning, and as such focuses on knowledge and skills that are judged important to learn. Instruction is the means by which that learning will be achieved. To meet the needs of the 21st century learner and achieve the student outcomes described in its Framework, the Partnership calls on schools

To integrate a 21st century curriculum that blends thinking and innovation skills; information, media, and ICT literacy; and life and career skills in context of core academic subjects and across interdisciplinary themes. To employ methods of 21st century instruction that integrates innovative and research-proven teaching strategies, modern learning technologies, and real world resources and contexts.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Embedding Prezi in a Blog

Here is a prezi I put together for a professional development day presentation on why it is important to integrate technology into your educational practice. Click the forward button once to get it to load. Afterwards, you should be able to pan and zoom freely on the parts too small to see.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Storybird Character Analysis

We did a project with Storybird.com where students did a character analysis from the book Reservation Blues. To show their understanding of character motivations, students created an original scene involving the character. They needed to use literary devices similar to those in the book and reveal something new about the character.

A few students recorded their storybirds. Here are a few examples of students who met all of the requirements:

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This was a really fun project, and students at all levels enjoyed it. Plus, the teacher accounts at Storybird make it really easy.

Social Justice Research Project Graphic Novels

For this unit on Social Justice, groups of students in my Freshmen English classes hand drew graphic novels in which they presented thier research by creating a story of a person who has suffered some form of prejudice or stereotyping in their lives. In each story they focused on how these characters could be rebranded as heroes.

We then scanned the drawings, inserted them in a powerpoint, published as a pdf, and uploaded to issuu.com for the final presentation. See all of them at the project blog.

Raisin in the Sun Character Analysis

As a form of literature analysis, my American Literature class created graphic novels using Make Belief Comix and Issuu. In the project they included thoughts from the characters that were not represented in the play itself as well as a prediction of where the characters would end up ten years later--after the civil right movement and the reactionary rise in incarceration. All graphic novels can be seen in this blog.

This worked, but was not perfect. I think the project was confusing as students were unclear about how to represent what the characters would be thinking about outside of the scenes that were happening in the play itself.

If I were to do it again, I would have students jump into the site early on to get used to how it works. Maybe I would have them simply represent what was happening in a scene they enjoyed and then send the slides they create to my evernote account just as a way to monitor comprehension while we are reading.

Then, the final project could be more focused on creating a well developed graphic novel scene to represent their character analysis. I would probably leave it more open as to where they place the scene. Could be a deleted scene from the book, or it could be a scene set in the future. Regardless, they would need to reflect on one character, and then show how the events in the book shaped their life in some way. This is where the real analysis could shine through.

Glogster Gender Studies Research Project

For this project, my Freshmen English students created a magazine cover that incorporated their understanding and research of gender studies. We used Glogster to create and display them. You can see the full sized versions with the drop down menu from the Glogster Logo. The top one incorporated research on Disney's use of gender bias, and the bottom one reflects research on the issues surrounding women fighting on the front lines.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Research News Article via Blog

I was invited to participate on Youth Voices, a student blogging site created by the National Writing Project in New York, and excitedly created a project for my Media Studies classes.

Students created a list of questions they were interested in, researched this topic from two sources from the internet, and created a News Article to present their information. Then, they uploaded their work as a blog discussion.

Paul Allison, the director for the site, liked the project, and allowed me to created a Mission from it for other teachers to use. All student's work from the project is featured and linked on the left side of the page.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Podbean Video

Here is a short introduction to how the Podbean Site works for podcasting projects.

Storybird Teacher Accounts

Here is a quick video on how to make teacher accounts.