I was streaming a show on Hulu last night and saw this ad for Intermezzo sleep medication. (Video below)
I was amused by the disparity between the cute animation and the ominous narration of the mandated health warning. I thought this would make a good exercise to illustrate techniques in "close reading" and demonstrate the approach advocated by William Kist's in New Literacies and the Common Core Educational Leadership ASCD March 2013.
Close reading requires students to consider text (in it's different forms) through three lenses: what does it say, how does it say it, and what does it mean to me?
Here's the steps to follow:
Visual elements: Turn the sound off on your computer and watch the Intermezzo commercial (below). Make a list of visual details you observe - character, mood, lighting, editing, set design, shot composition.
Narration: Now turn the sound on and listen to the soundtrack without looking at the screen. Outline the verbal information given about the product in a T-chart. List benefits on one side and possible adverse effects on the other.
Musical soundtrack: Listento the ad without watching the screen again. This time focus on the musical soundtrack - instrumentation, tempo, mood. Write some adjectives that come to mind while listening to the ad (ignoring the narration.)
Compare your three lists - visual elements, narration and musical soundtrack. Be ready to use specific textual evidence to defend the observations in your lists. Here's a few guiding questions to consider:
How do your three lists compare? To what extent do the visual elements, narration and musical soundtrack reinforce (or contradict) each other?
What do you think the ad's creators were trying to communicate?
What artistic and narrative choices did the creators make to communicate their message?
How successfully did the ad sell the product? Would you consider using this product? Why?
Drug companies are required by the FDA to list all a drug's possible risks. What impact does that requirement have on the content of this ad?
Congratulations - you've been exploring Common Core: Reading Standards for Literature, Integration of Knowledge and Ideas, Standard 7, Grade 7. Compare and contrast a written story, drama, or poem to its audio, filmed, staged, or multimedia version, analyzing the effects of techniques unique to each medium (for example, lighting, sound, color, or camera focus and angles in a film).
Reading Standards for Informational Text, Integration of Knowledge and Ideas, Standard 7, Grades 11–12. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of using different mediums (for example, print or digital text, video, multimedia) to present a particular topic or idea.
Our goal was a practical hands-on workshop that fused technology, critical thinking, and strategies for students to be the “historian in the classroom.” We were focused on ways to use iPads for content creation, feedback and reflection. Plus we showcased a variety of other critical thinking digital tools for the classroom – iBooks Author, Haiku Deck, Evernote, nGram Viewer and GapMinder.
My latest multi-touch iBook “Progress and Poverty in Industrial America,” is now available for your iPad – FREE at iTunes. Critical thinking questions based on Common Core skills help students “think and write like a historian.” It’s a great resource for use in the classroom, and serves as a model for teacher or student curation of historic content into interactive digital DBQ’s.
This 18-page iPad DBQ guides students through the historian’s process. “Stop and think” prompts encourage a deep reading of many notables of the Gilded Age – including Russell Conwell, Henry George, Andrew Carnegie and Stephen Crane. Visual source material includes posters, 1908 Sears Catalogue, a gallery of photographs by Lewis Hine and video of one of Edison’s early Vitascope films.
Two years ago, three junior high teachers were thinking about how to better motivate their social studies students. They decided one way to get kids more excited about learning was to get rid of their traditional textbooks. Here’s a guest post on how these teachers teamed with their school and district leadership to create their own textbook.
Publishing is an effective tool for getting students engaged and writing. The new book, Publishing with PowerPoint, walks the reader through a process of self-publishing that can be used in any classroom. PowerPoint is an effective book design software – it’s already on your computer and everyone know how to use it. Students find it easy to use PowerPoint templates and position a wide range of text and images on a PPT slide. Powerpoint slides can be quickly grouped and rearranged into book pages. Finally, converting PowerPoint slides into pdfs for publishing can be done with the “Save As” function. The teacher with a limited budget can print just one copy for the classroom. Parents can order their own copies online.
We focused on getting started with using iBooks Author (iBA) in the classroom. Our discussion includes iBA workflow specifics, tips for getting started, project ideas and how to use iTunes to share student work with an authentic audience beyond the classroom. Listen and learn more about how to create and publish your own ebook. Includes links to more iBA resources.
Too often teachers give students a Venn Diagram and ask them to compare. What looks like analysis on the surface is often no more than re-filling information from the source material into the Venn. Summarizing and comparisons are powerful ways to build content knowledge and critical thinking. But if students are going to master CCSS skills they need to design the model, find a way to express it to others, and have the opportunity self reflect on their product and feedback from peers. Here’s how to teach analyzing.
I will demonstrate how to meet these four keys to teaching analysis with FlipNLearn, a foldable that students design, print and share. It’s an innovative learning tool that students design on a computer, then print on special pre-formatted paper. FlipNLearn is a great way to give students a manageable design challenge that promotes teamwork, self-assessment and reflection. In 30 minutes, or less, they can produce tangible product that blends the best of PBL and CCSS skills in communication.
For years progressive educators have known the textbook was dead. Apple’s latest iPad Mini / iBooks Author event (October 23, 2012) suggests we are closing in on the tipping point that should hasten its demise. I’ll let others focus on the viability of the iPad as a textbook replacement in this era of shrinking budgets. Instead I’ll focus on three reasons why teaming iBooks Author (iBA) with the iPad can turn students from passive consumers of information, into active researchers, thinkers, designers and writers.
I just completed my first multi-touch iBooks Author project – “Why We Fight: WWII and the Art of Public Persuasion.” I learned a few things the hard way. Here’s some “how-to” tips that will save you some time and make your IBA experience more productive.
A step-by-step guide to student writing that demonstrates the power of student choice, authentic audience and self-reflection. Sixth graders are motivated by writing “Traveling Through the Human Body with ABCs” for a third grade audience. The project demonstrates how to help students master content and develop project management and teamwork skills. The power of publishing enables students to think like writers, to apply their learning strategies and to organize and express their learning. It exemplifies the best of the information revolution – students as creators of content rather than as passive audience.
I am proud of my life-long career in public education - especially the 25 years I spent as a teacher. For over 20 years, I have worked with school districts, state DOEs, leading educational organizations and companies to improve the quality of teaching and learning. I provide training and consulting services across the United States and internationally.
Free DBQ iBook: Close Reading Plus Essential Question
Critique and Evaluate PRIMARY SOURCES / Guiding CCSS PROMPTS
Analyze Propaganda: Think Critically About Persuasive Multi-Media Sources