Pam Goble’s presentation focused on how to use media to enhance the learning process. She introduced the concept of media circles and provided us with an opportunity to experience them first hand. To prepare for the media circles, we were given a chance to choose one of the following roles: connector, economist, etymologist, fashion critic, questioner, recorder/ spokesperson, scene master, sociologist, technology specialist, or visualizer. In the classroom, these roles can be used to help students focus their attention to specific details in the film. In addition, students will be motivated to participate because they will have a sense of control in their learning.
Once our roles were assigned, we viewed a clip from the movie and noted what we observed. Then, before sharing out, we were able to meet in groups with other students who shared the same role. I loved this set-up! I think it’s a great way to help students build their confidence, monitor their understanding, and collaborate with their peers. Students can support each other and explore different ideas through conversations. After we reviewed our notes with our peers who shared the same role, we broke up into our original groups to share what we had learned. At this point, I felt comfortable expressing my ideas to the other members and I am confident that students in my future classroom will experience that same sense of security.
When I reflect back on Pam’s presentation, I am drawn to the engaging nature of the media circle activity. This type of interaction with media and literacy is child-centered and focused on getting students to actively participate in the learning process. As a literacy specialist, I am always searching for new ways to motivate students to “read their world.” When I use the term “text” my definition exceeds the traditional meaning. A text can be a book, a magazine, a billboard, a recipe, a movie, a photograph, etc. Therefore, my goal is to help students recognize these different text forms and understand how to read them. In media circles, the students are given a chance to broaden their concept of a text and the ways in which they process different types of information. “As students learn the language of film, they learn to analyze visual and auditory images. Typically in the English/language arts classroom, analysis has been confined to words-students have analyzed stories, plays, poems, essays, and novels- but now their notion of analysis expands to include more than verbal images…Studying film language makes explicit the techniques for telling a story visually, heightens student’s appreciation for the art of film, and increases their awareness of how subtle cues can shade meaning “(Teasley, 1997, p.27). Students learn to attend to the literal and inferential meanings that are conveyed through verbal, auditory, and visual means. They are encouraged to look deeper into the text to discover subtle messages about the character, setting, or main events.
After the presentation, I continued to wonder about how I could implement this type of instruction in my own classroom. Media circles can be integrated into the reading workshop as well as other content areas. It is a way to build conversational skills and encourage students to deepen their understanding of a text. In addition, when we read a film we develop skills that are also needed for reading more traditional texts. We need to teach children how to make inferences, accumulate the text, synthesize information, make predictions, and monitor for meaning. If we can provide students with a medium that they are comfortable and familiar with, they will be more inclined to practice and apply these skills that are so essential for reading comprehension.
In preparation for my future classroom, I decided to explore the format of the role sheet. For a first grade classroom, I would be more inclined to use the handout that included the following components: people that I saw in the movie, places that I saw in the movie, things that I saw in the movies, and words that were new or fun that I heard in the movie. I think one way we can reach struggling writers is by encouraging them to draw their ideas. These visual representations can then be used a springboard for conversation. In addition, I’m wondering how I could manipulate the form to meet the needs of different types of learners. I’m thinking that students who are more kinesthetic learners could use their bodies to act out the main ideas in the film. They could create a snap shot of the things that they saw in the movie by posing in different formations. This movement exercise may help students verbalize their ideas later on with the group. As a teacher, I think it’s important to discover ways in which we can differentiate our activities so that all learners can participate and feel supported. If anyone has a suggestion I’d love to hear it!
Check out Amy's
post on media circles.