Slice of Life: Media Monday

Last Friday, my students struggled through a reading pre-assessment. The question asked them to “explain” how a small part of the a story fit into the whole. They had to “discuss” how it might “develop” the theme.

It was painful to watch. They will get there, but last week, this was a stretch for most.

I wanted to start the week with something that gets students’ attention. Something that wakes them up after a weekend. With this objective in mind, I planned/promised myself that Mondays would be “Media Mondays.”

Movies capture our attention. They can present literature in ways that allow students to think through difficult literary concepts that they might not be able to access in traditional text.

Hoping that the connections might be made to earlier read alouds, I chose this clip for its “punch” and its message.

It got their attention.

After the initial viewing, we watched again looking for clues to characters or possible themes. Students had to stay within the confines of this scene. Evidence had to be there to support their ideas.

Boys in the center: karate . . . fighting.

Me:  Say more about that.

Over in the corner: Bullying . . .

Down in the front: Upstanders and those who do nothing are the bystanders.

Me: Let’s watch it again. Look for big ideas. Ideas that might reach beyond just this text.

The clip ended, and talk began:

I’m thinking the blond boy stands out for a reason.

He’s trying to help.

He’s blond for a reason.

The Karate Kid was like him once.

Maybe he had this happen to him.

Maybe he’s there to show how The Karate Kid can fit in.

Yeah, he speaks the language.

I’m connecting this to One Green Apple. How it’s hard to come to a new country.

Yeah, it’s like when you speak a different language it’s really hard to fit in.

They seem to hate him like some of the kids didn’t like the girl in One Green Apple.

Maybe the blond boy is kind of like the green apple. He stands out like the green apple.

Maybe it’s showing that the newcommer will fit in. Some day.

Wowie.  Students don’t know it yet, but they nailed a craft move.

Just like Dre in The Karate Kid and Farah in One Green Apple, students know a lot but, they haven’t learned the language. With time, tools and instruction, they will and fit right in and become fluent in the literary landscape.

Media Monday was crazy good. Can’t wait till next week.

Thank you, Two Writing Teachers for  Slice of Life Tuesdays. A place to read, write and share our lives. Read more slices here.

10 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Media Monday

  1. It sounds like amazing conversations were had by your fifth graders!!! That’s unbelievable!! Can’t wait to hear more about Media Mondays. Will you create a youtube playlist or share the videos? I’d love to see what you’re using! Thanks!!

  2. I love your words “students know a lot. They just don’t know the language.” What a great idea to bring the language alive for them through video. Enjoy your year.

  3. Your ‘media Monday’ sounds like a good idea, Julieanne, and this certainly is a powerful one, touching their lives perhaps in ways you might not know. Even if there isn’t a physical fight, a word exchange can be similar. And to connect with writing is awesome. The vocabulary you introduced will be remembered.

  4. You are such a reflective teacher! Watching your students struggle sent you searching for the way to bring them back into the learning game. You have captured the attention of your students and teachers alike. Way to go my friend!

  5. Wowie for sure!!!

    I’m amazed that you already have them thinking and sharing such smart ideas already!

    I was making a list of those things I will do regularly today once school starts and Interactive Read-aloud/Grand Conversation was on list. Your post reminds me that it can be something we view and discuss as well!!

    Here’s a favorite video that led to much discussion last year:

  6. It’s interesting that you introduced “theme” this way. I did a similar thing with my readers last year, although we used a “movie text” to introduce a number of conventions. I used “The Help,” and aside from theme we also discussed static/dynamic characters, different ways to summarize, dialect, dialogue, etc. I love using little clips in my class. I think it draws students into the conversation in a language they are familiar with, and then opens a lot of possibilities to add to later!

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