Have you taught something in your classroom, and suddenly you see it on Rahmel’s face, he was been struck with that “aha!” moment? The moment that us teachers live for, the one that signifies why we teach. Well, as I sat listening to Pam Goble’s presentation on “Building Historical Background Knowledge While Viewing Film” I felt as if I myself was caught in one of those moments.
For the past month I had been working in my class on literature circles. I have challenged my second graders with something further than character study literature circles (second grade type literature circles). They had each chosen an endangered animal book club to be a part of. I often referred very strongly to Harvey Daniel’s book on literature circles. The kids were reading up on their endangered animals as well.
These groups were going very well but I wanted to gear these groups to some sort of social action. But how could, should and would I do that? I didn’t want to simply tell them that our class needed to do something about these poor animals getting hurt; I wanted this decision to come from them.
As Pam began presenting she mentioned that much of these fundamental ideas on media circles stemmed from the research that Harvey Daniels did in his book literature circles. Pam then explained that just as in a literature circle each member in a media circle would also have a role. Some of these roles may be; connector, technology specialist, economist, etymologist, the fashion critic, group evaluator, questioner, recorder, scene master, sociologist, summarizer, and visualizer. Then we were asked to break up into groups, decide on a role, and watch the clip from a movie. What I especially realized how rich these conversations in our groups went. Once we were each given a role and once we’ve shared a common experience (the watching of the clip) it was amazing to witness the perceptive conversation that my group had.
Once I sat back and processed the conversation, I felt inspired to relate this to my own classroom. And that’s when my mind went “Aha! Sophy, you silly goose, why don’t you extend your literature circle to media circles?” So that’s what I did as soon as I went back to my classroom. I went cyberhunting (yes, I just made up my own term) to look for powerful videos that would visually show and explain what was happening to endangered animals. Here are the ones that I was able to narrow down to show my class;
This blue whale one is graphic
An adult informative organization and page- they also have letters, fundraisers and things for us to get active in.
These images or videos had an enormous impact on my students. This time when the groups went back to share out their thoughts, the videos did a powerful job of provoking my students towards social action. These videos sparked their minds into furthered their learning into a call for action. I also realized that I had in some ways been neglecting my kids all this time by not including as much media as I could into the academic curriculum.
My heading suddenly started swerving with all the different ways that I could incorporate media into my classroom. First I realized that media circles could be used for so many different things; I thought about the way the roles could alternate based on the subject matter that I was teaching into. I also realized that media itself should not be limited. There were multiple ways in which I could empower my student to become multiliterate. My students and I decided to brainstorm and develop a chart such as the following in doing further research on our animals:
Today Class 2BGAT talked about the different ways to research. Here are some great ideas that we came up with:
Channels & Shows on Television:
• Discovery For Kids- Bindi The Jungle Girl
• PBS – A Big Big World
• Animal Planet
Websites to Visit:
• Google for kids
• Animal Planet
• Discovery for Kids
As I walk away from this activity I recognize the impact that media can have on students. My class wrapped up our literature circles on endangered animals by calling out a cry for action on Earth Day. We headed out to the streets to get signatures for a petition that we were going to send to the President regarding the Endangered Species Act. I know that this would not have been possible without those powerful videos and the conversation that soon followed those videos within each group. Oh and of course, none of this would have been possible without that “Aha!” moment thanks to Pam Goble.
Here are some additional resources to help you particular with either media or literature circles in your classroom:
This particular site tells you how e-books are going to change the way we think about reading and wirting.
This Toronto based educational consultant talks abou to media develops the social realm in the classroom.
This is Discovery media in the classroom based resources for ideas.