** Disclaimer: This post is for a class project and is an example of a page that I would use for my future class website **
Preparing Students for the “Real World”
I am so glad that you have taken the time to scroll through our class website. Having all of your students in class this year is an absolute pleasure and I cannot wait to get to know each one of you better throughout the course of the year. My contact info and personal information is under the “About Me” page on your left hand side. This site will be a resource for both you and your students. Please feel free to shoot me an email or call me about any concerns you may have or just to say hello! Additionally, my door is always open! Stop by anytime and email me if you would like to sit in on a class.
In this technological day and age, there is a lot that we have to prepare students for. My job and duty as an educator goes deeper than just teaching students how to read. Fundamentally, my job is to prepare students to be educated citizens primed to contribute to society in the “real world”.
My goals are as follows:
Instill a LOVE of reading within each student
Encourage students to have a personal experience with each work they read
Expose students to new cultures and ideas through reading
Prepare students for a diverse workforce in which they will be expected to know how to use technology
Now, I know what you’re thinking…
I want your students to leave my class truly loving to read! Instead of asking them to memorize plot lines and giving them comprehension quizzes, I want them to focus on the language of the text! After all, this is what makes great books so special! Class time will be focused on literature they would not be able to read on their own.
A love of literature inspires a lifetime of reading. Books have the unique ability to provide a window into other worlds and teach us things. With a love of reading comes a lifetime of learning.
In my class, we will cover a variety of works that all have authors and main characters with different perspectives. These differences should be appreciated! I want my class to be a safe space where each individual’s opinion and personal experience is valued. However, anything that devalues or demeans other students will not be tolerated. Furthermore, I will have a classroom shelf full of a wide variety of Young Adult literature that the students can “check out” at any time.
The term “multimodal” refers to anything that is characterized by several different forms of activities – just like this website! Even though you might not have noticed, the gifs used on this webpage help break up the text and enhance understanding. They serve to add to the overall experience, not take away from it. The same thing is true in multimodal teaching! This includes but is not limited to: film, audio, video, performance, pictures, and graphic novels.
What will class look like?
Depending on the assignment, students will be asked to read for homework and write down any questions that they have. Class time will be spent discussing whatever we are working on as a class. Literature often does not have a “right answer”, and we will talk about a work’s historical context and the multitude of ways that it can be interpreted.
Each book that we read in class will be accompanied by some sort of “multimodal” activity. This will not replace traditional classroom literature, but instead will be used to supplement and add to the students’ experience.
I’m going to give a few examples of how this would work in my classroom. Once again, multimodal forms help enhance your students’ experience with text, not take away from it.
Raise your hand if you like watching movies, plays, or listening to audio
With that in mind, lets think about some great ways that we can combine traditional literature with various multimodal assignments!
Example one: POETRY
Poetry is often one of the most difficult units for students and even adults. When complicated poems are shoved in front of us and it can be frustrating. Students will start to believe that they can never understand poetry.
A great introduction to poetry is having students write and perform their own poems. This helps to get them over the fear of poetry being “scary”. During this unit, I will provide a variety of different poetry books and spoken word performances for the students to browse during class. They will watch and read, find what they like, then base their own poem off of it. After several drafts, they will perform their own spoken word poetry piece for their classmates.
HERE are some great links to spoken word poems!
Example two: SHAKESPEARE/PERFORMANCE
Let’s talk about Shakespeare and be honest about it – Shakespeare is difficult!
We do not want this to be the students’ reaction when they hear Shakespeare’s name! It is easy to forget that Shakespeare was written to be performed, not read on a page. During the Shakespeare unit, students will be given a plot summary so that they can focus on the language of the play and various ways it might be interpreted. Then, they will be split into groups and asked to perform a scene of my choice for the class. While the scene is chosen by me, interpretation will be up to the students.
This improves confidence, public speaking, and allows them to come up with their own interpretations of the text! They will be graded on group effort and style.
EXAMPLES of student performances
Example three: FILM
Have you ever read a book and then watched the movie and absolutely hated it? This happens because when a book is turned into a movie, the director has to make certain choices that often change the meaning of the film.
This year, my class will be reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer. After we have finished the book, we will watch the film and discuss how the director chooses to convey certain scenes. Students might have trouble pulling out imagery from the text, but when it comes to watching film they can do it easily. Students will gain a better understanding of literary terms and will be able to discuss how they are conveyed in a film. They will be graded on their understanding and written responses.
Watch the trailer and see if you can pull out some things to discuss!
Here are a few questions I would use for discussion points in class
1 – When the twin towers are falling, why is the scene filmed at an upward angle?
2 – Why do you think that both the book and movie are told from Oskar’s (the young boy) perspective?
3 – Why do you think that in the film version, the grandfather is introduced in the beginning instead of at the end?
4 – Why do directors make different choices than authors?
These are just a few examples of ways that multimodal lessons can be implemented in the classroom. I want students to gain valuable and applicable information that can be used beyond my high school English class. A multimodal education provides some of those skills and benefits. Ultimately, we all just want to prepare students to be successful in whatever they choose to do!