Showing posts with label lesson plan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lesson plan. Show all posts

28.7.22

Teaching Peter and the Wolf: 2006 Oscar Winning Suzie Templeton Short Film

In this post, I talk about teaching the short film "Peter and the Wolf" in my Eighth Grade English Language Arts class in Queens.
Mr. Roselli's students attend his 8th Grade English Language Arts class in Queens
A typical day of learning in Mr. Roselli's English Language Arts classroom.

I Needed to Teach Something Quickly; I Chose "Peter and the Wolf"
It's interesting how I come across content to teach. Usually, deciding what to teach is not a problem because I spend a good chunk of the weeks leading up to the new school year mapping out my courses. However, this past year, teaching my Eighth graders, there was a day that I needed to fill with an engaging lesson. We had just completed a forty-day mythology unit. I say "forty days" as if we were in the desert or something, but it was forty discrete lessons, each about forty-five minutes in length. So I had a "free day" before we started our new unit. So, hence, Peter and the Wolf!

Suzie Templeton Short Film "Peter and the Wolf"
Suzie Templeton is a gifted director, and her animated short film, "Peter and the Wolf," is based on Sergei Prokofiev's famous score. The movie is only about twenty-five minutes, perfect for my lesson. Also, because of its fairy tale elements, it fits nicely with a unit on mythology.

Do Now: Setting a Work of Literature to Music
I like to get my kids' gears turning, so as they entered the class during the passing period, I asked them if they were to set a story or play or myth that they had read to music what would it be. I was hoping for something like Orpheus and Eurydice set to "Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water," but I got Daphne and Apollo set to A$AP Ferg. I'll take what I can get. Also, I was keen to set my lesson to a reading standard that states students should analyze a representation of a subject or a pivotal scene in two different artistic mediums (Reading Literature Standard RL.9-10.7).

Watching the Movie and Answering Questions
We watched the movie in class -- and I was surprised by how quickly they got into the story. I think what works is that the animation is so unique. It's not the standard, glossy Pixar style my kids are familiar with. It's a quirky, stop-motion animation-style feature. And the kids noticed the exciting way the animators brought the story alive, zooming in on the setting, a small town nestled in a somewhat cold rural landscape. The character of Peter is sufficiently adolescent, and the Grandfather and the boy's big fat cat serve as comic relief. There also isn't a lot of dialogue, so you have to pay attention to the visuals to follow the story's narrative pacing.

While watching the movie, students had to complete a worksheet, which included sixteen "right-there" viewing comprehension questions. It's just a way to keep them focused, and later, they turn it in as part of their grade for the lesson. As a teacher, I learned long ago that doing activities where students have to write and show their thinking is valuable. Not only is it an excellent way to show what you are doing in your classroom, but it also serves as a snapshot of students' overall thinking. I also like to use the Adobe Scan app to capture their work. So I have an archive of sorts.

Discussing Foreshadowing, Visual Imagery, Identity, and Other Themes
After watching the film, we talked about the movie. The first big English Language Arts point I wanted to convey was foreshadowing. And the kids definitely picked up on that one. There are images and references to wolves from the beginning, opening shot, and end. And another interesting discussion we had was why Peter let the wolf go in the end. I received several answers, but I remember one of the boys in my class commenting on how Peter understood the wolf. And I agreed, which led to a discussion about identity. If I say so myself, very much in keeping with my students' socio-psycho development.

Writing Activity: What Message Does the Movie Convey? 
And finally, at the end of class, I told the students to pull out their notebooks, and they wrote independently about what they thought the film's message was, and I made them include details from the movie to support their answers. Having completed the viewing questions helped to jog their memories. As they left the classroom, they had to turn in all of their written work, and I had them each tell me orally the gist of their writing exercise.
Finally . . .
Do you teach short films in your classroom? How does it work for you? I'd love to hear your comments.

1.12.10

Lesson Plan: World's Most Valuable Thing

See the end of this post for a
printable version of the World's Most Value Thing.
It's very simple to use this game designed by the folks at The Philosopher's Magazine. A few years back they did an issue devoted to children and philosophy. The issue has a game a teacher can organize with their students called "The World's Most Valuable Thing."
    I provided a scanned image of the handout above you can use, or if you are feeling creative you can use your own handout with your own world's most valuable things.
The rules are simple (click the link to read more):

Lesson Plan: An Example of Teaching Poetic Tone in the Classroom (with William Blake's "London" and "Jerusalem")

Class objective:  To continue the theme of Poetic tone by using examples from film and the poetry of William Blake.
The following class can be tailored to fit a high school language arts course or a college Introduction to Literature, or British Literature section.

16.4.10

Lesson Plan: Using the Apple 1984 Superbowl Commercial in the Classroom

The commercial is a fun clip to use in the classroom.
10 Iconic Super Bowl Commercial Stars: Where Are They Now?
Time allowance: 45 minutes
Objectives:
Teach students how to articulate abstract ideas.
Demonstrate brainstorming techniques
Analyzing multimedia using literary terms
Incorporating quotations into student writing

Note: this is a useful lesson as an introduction or a wrap-up to classes devoted to dystopian literature, like 1984, Brave New World, or The Giver or for teaching Thoreau's Walden, or any film or text focused on the tension between individual will versus societal hegemony.

Warm-up
Start the class off with a quick free write. Have the students write about the following prompt:

What is the difference between being in a group versus being alone?

After the students have had a few minutes to write, ask the class to brainstorm what is the difference between an individual and a group. Whip around the room and share ideas on interactive whiteboard or on class chart board. You can use the example I use to start a class discussion. If I walk into a classroom with a classroom of students dressed in uniform, how do I tell each student apart? What gives us away as individuals when we are in a crowd.

Beware. The discussion will begin to take a life of its own and you as the teacher will have to allow every student to talk. Community expression and individuality is an important topic among teenagers so be ready for some interesting comments from your students.
An Astronaut Frequents an Apple Store

Activity
After you have allowed the students to express their thoughts out loud, use the board to generate a chart of the advantages and disadvantages of community living and do the same for individuality. You might want to include a definition of both terms, which you can add to the board. Or, you can have the class come up with a working definition of both concepts.

After you have compiled the list, explain to the class, that many novels and films deal with the tension between community and individual and as a class explain to them that they will begin to analyze some important scenes from literature and film.

At this point, if you want, you can have the students quickly popcorn a list of films and books that possibly illustrate the theme a tension between the two.

Ask the students if they know what apocalyptic literature is or if they know what dystopian literature is. Read a definition from a literary dictionary or other reliable source and explain to the class that there is a genre of literature that deals with the fall of society, the community, and how this affects individuals.

1984 Apple Commercial
Use 1984 as an example. If you want, you can briefly explain the plot, which can be found here. Make sure the students know it is a novel by George Orwell and it is famous for introducing the phrase, "Big Brother is watching." Ask the students if they have ever seen the television show and ask them why they think the show is called by this name.

Background
Explain the background of the 1984 commercial which can be found here. Have the students watch the clip several times, telling them to jot in their notebooks in list form everything they notice about the film: color, sound, tone, mood, dialogue, etc.

Apple Computer, INC produced an ad spot for the 1984 Superbowl to sell its new product, the Macintosh desktop computer. The computer would eventually inspire a long line of desktop computers boasting an easy-to-use GUI (graphic user interface) and the first computer to introduce friendly smiling icons and folders.

The commercial is a visual allusion to George Orwell's classic dystopic novel 1984. The short clip features a Big Brother figure imploring dull, grayed-out workers (played by skinheads) to stick to the status quo. It is hard to follow what he says, but he says something about a "garden of pure ideology" and something about being safe from the pests. It is obvious the drones are like IBM computers. The running gag line is PCs are conformists and Macs are individualists. Midway through the commercial, the Mac pest shows up, though, amidst the sound of an alarm, and a team of SWAT men chases her down really cool sci-fi corridors. She wields a hammer which she swings into the screen. The screen explodes and the commercial ends with the words: "On January 24th Apple Computer will introduce Macintosh. And you'll see why 1984 won't be like 1984."
More on Wikipedia

Writing
Pass out a handout of at least twenty quotes

You can use the following quotes if you wish, or you can research your own quotes about community.

Students in a group of three or four discuss each quote and relate its meaning to the concept of individual and community.
For each quote, students discuss, "Who wrote the quote? How does the thought express individuality or community? What quote(s) resonates with your generation?

Extension Activity: 
Have students write a creative piece on an advertisement that can be used to demonstrate the similarities and differences between abstract ideas. Or, they can write an essay on the 1984 commercial incorporating the quotations.