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Saturday, January 12

  1. page Family Literacy Why Read? edited ... Behavioral Benefits of Reading {prisoner_reading.jpg} ... for similar relationsips"…
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    Behavioral Benefits of Reading
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    for similar relationsips"relationships" (Brand and
    Data indicates that below grade-level reading abilities are significantly related to the development of aggressive antisocial behavior. (Meitchenbaum 2011)
    Children with low reading achievement by Grade 3 have a statistically greater likelihood drug abuse, early pregnancy, delinquency and unemployment. (Meitchenbaum 2011)
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Tuesday, February 14

Monday, February 13

  1. page teaching students to be critical, close viewers edited ... Example Activities Division 1 Placeholder With students from kindergarten to Grade 3, odds…
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    Example Activities
    Division 1
    PlaceholderWith students from kindergarten to Grade 3, odds are that you will not be able to go into great depth with any sort of analysis. However, you can get the students prepared for this sort of thinking by asking them simpler questions about a film or television episode that you are going to watch as a class. For example, let us take a look at the show Dora the Explorer. The titular heroine frequently comes into contact with a pesky fox named Swiper, who (as you may have inferred) attempts to swipe things that Dora finds. You might ask your students something simple, such as "what do we learn from Swiper?" It is a fairly simple question, but it can help to promote a questioning attitude in these younger students.
    You might also want to show them an episode of The Magic Schoolbus, which (to my knowledge), is still being used as a precursor for some topics in schools. For the sake of this example, I will be discussing the episode where they take a field trip inside Ralphie to see why he is sick. Sample questions: "Why does Arnold think he should have stayed home today?" "What should you do if you get sick?" "Should you pick your scabs? Why or why not?"

    Division 2
    PlaceholderThis is around the age you might wish to begin with some of the more basic analytical questions, focusing more on things you can see directly in the television show, film or advertisement. However, an in-depth analysis is likely still not in the works until at least Grade 6, if at all. So, for this particular example, let us use the film version of Bridge to Terabithia. There are several things shown explicitly within the text, so a surface analysis of the film would be reasonable to ask of students in Grade 5 or 6. Sample questions: "How is Jess' relationship with his father? Does it change over the course of the movie? If so, how?" "How is Jess' relationship with his little sister? Does it change over the course of the movie? If so, how?" "How does the film version of Bridge to Terabithia differ from the book?"
    Division 3
    PlaceholderBy the time students hit Grades 7 to 9, they are starting to get to the age where they are ready for a deeper analysis of the media, although it may be a bit much to ask of Grade 7 students initially. For example, let us use the film Wall-E. If your class is not quite used to doing any sort of analysis, lead in with questions about surface details in the film, such as "why is Earth abandoned?" or "Why is it significant that Wall-E found a plant?" Following those questions, you could ask your students "What does this film have to say about technological advancement?" or "How does Wall-E's interaction with EVE parallel a human relationship? How do they differ?" or "How does Wall-E's relationship with EVE change over the course of the film?"
    You can also ask students to discuss an advertisement, and see if they can pick out what makes the advertisement effective or not. You might use the Old Spice advertisement, or one of the many notorious P.E.T.A. ads (provided the principal has said that it is okay to do so). A class-wide discussion is generally the best way to go about this, if not assigning a brief paper to your students, as there are many valuable insights that a dialogue can give that a single, isolated paper cannot.

    Division 4
    UsingThis is around the age where you should expect students to be ready to engage in thoughtful analysis, whether for a written text or a film, television show or advertisement. There are several ways that you can initiate this sort of thought, although providing definitions and terminology is always a good place to begin. Using the TV
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    the website.
    Furthermore, you can also ask them to take a music video and analyse its content. I would recommend asking your students to do this after doing some sort of lyrical analysis for the song in question, as well as advising students to choose songs that are school-appropriate. However, if you ask your students to inform you of their choices before-hand, this should not be an issue, as the inappropriate videos are just as worth analysis as the "tame" ones. Sample questions: Does the video "fit" with the song, or do they appear to be completely unrelated? How does the video portray men and women? Are there periods of the music video where the song that accompanies it stops playing, for the sake of the video's plot?

    Resources for Teaching
    Sources Cited
    Always be sure to check the Authorized Resource List, or at least speak with your principal, before assigning your students a project related to a film, television show or advertisement. Personally, I would recommend film versions of texts you may be reading in class, as that allows for analysis of the differences between the two media.
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Sunday, February 12

  1. page teaching students to be critical, close viewers edited ... The most important part of close viewing, however, is asking questions. In my example at the b…
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    The most important part of close viewing, however, is asking questions. In my example at the beginning of this page, I noted how important it is to ask the question "who is this film/TV show/advertisement being aimed at?" It is certainly a good starting point, but in order to form a deeper appreciation, we also need to consider various literary concepts and social contexts. What techniques are being used in your favourite TV show? Are they being used for comedic effect, or in order to create a more serious tone? Is the show meant to represent something close to our current social climate, or is it meant to act as a rebuttal and portray an "ideal world?" If the show or film is set in the future, does it reflect various social norms that affect us today, or does it show us a logical conclusion of the way things occur today? Again, these are a few sample questions that might help to inspire critical thought about a subject, and having an example or two to draw from may help students to examine things more critically on their own.
    Close Viewing of Film
    {220px-Tiposter.jpg} My family doesn't do well with roadtrips either.
    The first thing you ought to do is choose a film, and view a few times. The first time through, you will be able to get a surface understanding of the film that you will build upon in subsequent viewings. On your second time through, take note of the visual details, such as the setting, character designs/costumes, and even the camera angle of shots. These can all give you different insights into what is going on in the film. In addition to the visuals, listen closely to the characters' dialogue -- if there is dialogue, of course -- as well as any music that may be playing. Does something the characters say in passing become important later? Does the music fit the scene: why or why not? When watching characters speak to one another, be sure to take note of their body language: does their body language coincide with the way they are speaking? Why or why not? Do not forget to keep an eye on the background on your second viewing; sometimes, subtle clues or humorous elements have been slipped in the background that you might not notice the first time through. Similarly, you should take note of the order events are portrayed in: does the film follow a chronological order, or is it told in anachronic order (i.e, in an order that does not follow the way things happen in the film's timeline). Do not forget to watch for the social contexts within the film, as well as how the film reflects the social contexts of the time it was produced in; both of these provide important insight into a film. This checklist may be useful to you for analysing a film, although you will need some background with film analysis in order to properly apply it. Fortunately, it does have a few definitions -- such as those for diegetic and non-diegetic sound -- that should prove useful to anyone attempting to use the checklist.
    For example, we have the film The Incredibles, which is about a family of superheroes and their struggles with fitting in to the mundane world. The parents, Bob (a.k.a. Mr. Incredible) and Helen Parr (a.k.a. Elastigirl) have settled down and had a family, although Bob seems to be having difficulty adjusting to a life where he is not allowed to be a superhero. Bob and Helen, as characters, deal with very real familial issues, such as issues of fidelity, the difficulties of raising children (let alone children with super powers), and trying to get by living like normal people. What elements of the interaction between the members of the Parr family make them seem like any other family? How does this film differ from other films about superheroes? Other animated films?
    Close Viewing of Television
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    of the character who is
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    create meaning).
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    For example, we have the show Glee, which has been fairly popular over the last few years. The show deals quite a bit with the issues of being a teenager, especially the romantic issues they may come across as they make their way through high school. For example, we have the character Kurt -- and his struggle with being a gay teen in a small town in Ohio -- to consider. What does the show have to say about homosexuality, and the way LGBTQ individuals are treated in our society? It is notable that, for quite some time on the series, Kurt is the only LGBTQ character, although this does change over the course of the series. Furthermore, there are allusions to lots of characters -- including Brittany and Santana, who are cheerleaders and members of the Glee club -- engaging in sexual activity together, which are not met with nearly as many problems as there are for Kurt, a male homosexual. What does that have to say about North American culture, and its perception of the LGBTQ community?
    Another television show, Misfits, is a British series about young delinquents who acquire super powers thanks to a sudden electrical storm. As a series, it deals with much more mature subject matter than in Glee, ranging from violent encounters with various other super-people to sexual encounters with other super-people, although the latter situations also contain nudity and tend to be less violent. What insight does a show like this give us about the differences between North American culture and European culture? Do these shows deal with any similar subject matter, and if so, do they deal with the subject in different ways?
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    of Advertisements {old.jpg} The man your man could smell like.
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    fast food. They can also be used to raise awareness about certain issues, or fundraisers, such as the Walk to Cure Cancer. How do these advertisements establish a mood through their use of colour, camera angles and lighting? How are the figures in the advertisement portrayed or dressed? Are the figures in the advertisement being portrayed in a provocative manner (for example, many ads for P.E.T.A.)? What is the advertisement saying about the product; will it make you seem more masculine or feminine? Is the advertisement funny, or serious?
    For example, we have the infamous commercials for Old Spice, with The Man Your Man Could Smell Like. A rugged individual who is capable of doing many things, including turning tickets into diamonds and other assorted acts that would require any normal man to be an experienced wizard. What do these advertisements say about masculinity? Does every man need to be capable of rising out of the sand while playing an acoustic guitar that contains puppies? What if you are a man who uses a different deodorant, or other sort of hygiene product? Are you suddenly less of a man? The Old Spice Guy, as he is often referred to, is treated in a humorous manner -- or at least that has always been my interpretation -- but the ideas the advertisements present are still troublesome. After all, not everyone is nearly so muscular, or capable of spawning motorbikes within hot tubs.

    Example Activities
    Division 1
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    Division 4
    Using the TV Tropes website could be quite helpful, providing a springboard for a more in-depth understanding of visual and print media. You could start by showing them the page for a movie, TV show, or even a book that you are studying in class, and ask them to click on an individual trope on the page. For example, I chose The Smurfette Principle: how is this trope applied to various television shows? To films? Books? This particular activity would likely work the best with older students, although you will have to remind them not to use certain terminology provided by the website, as there are often more refined literary terms for the examples being provided on the website.
    Music videos?
    Advertisements?

    Resources for Teaching
    Sources Cited
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