As part of our journey in freshmen English students study they mono-myth or hero’s journey cycle that shows up in classical literature as well as modern fiction. The cycle of encountering a challenge and overcoming it in order to end up in a new state of “ordinary” and grow from that experience is something that we also encounter in everyday life.
We may not slay monsters or use magic to solve our problems, but encounter and solve them we do and the outcome is experience as well as growth. As students study this cycle and look for it in other class texts, as well as their own lives, we will read the class text SPEAK by Laurie Halse Anderson. This novel is not normally considered a hero’s journey, but Melinda definitely follows the cycle as she struggles with her own freshmen year. The infographic linked below is a representation of the hero’s journey and Melinda’s journey side by side to help students make the connections.
The goal is that after studying several versions of the hero’s journey, students will work on creating their own hero’s journey based on their experience in class this year.
This year in the MAET Overseas program we have been looking at the design thinking process, creativity and what sparks creativity, and ways to abstract that creative process into powerful little pieces of work. One way these ideas have been explored is through the Icinemagraph project. Below you can view my Icinemagraph on silent expressions of voice and my commentary that accompanies it.
This year as part of my second year in the Master’s in Educational Technology (MAET) Program, I spent four weeks in Galway, Ireland taking a critical look at my current curriculum, pedagogical principals, and use of technology. After focusing on an area of refinement, exploration, and innovation, I dug deep into research on the essay revision process and how film could be used to enhance that process. This post is a multimodal reflection of the ideas and ideals that I have explored with my colleagues this year.
The first installment is a video representation of the context of the program and my progress (or at times, struggle!) throughout the process.
The second installment is a remix of the representation of the program given in the first installment. This year is the second year I had the opportunity to spend with my MAET cohort in Galway, Ireland. The connection I have to my colleagues, my friends, has grown into a network of support, encouragement, and innovative inspiration that I never dreamt I would have a chance to be a part of. In order to honor those connections as well as the experiences and challenges we have faced together, I focused more on the personal connections than the coursework in my remixed version of my reflection. Below is my rendition of Cups from the movie Pitch Perfect, in honor of the fact that our experience this summer cannot possibly fit into cups as we discussed in class (inside joke: context).
Lyrics (with a bit of cheese : ) )
I got my TPACK workin’ all year now,
Thanks to MAETy2 this year,
And we sure did have some sweet company
Getting Leigh & Michelle as professors here.
Oh, when we’re gone, when we’re gone,
We’ll use our research when we’re gone.
I’m gonna miss my awesome peers, but through Facebook we’re still near,
Oh, we can collaborate all year long.
Spartan’s Will/ This Spartan Did
This year we played with MSU Branding and below is my first attempt at contextualizing my goals and ideals and then the final edition after the courses I have been through this summer.
After considering my curriculum for the past 2 years with my 9th grade language arts classes, a pattern began to emerge whenever I had students do project based learning. Students would write their formal paper, produce film about their writing, and then either write a secondary piece based on the experience or go back and revise the original writing piece.
As I looked back at the level of engagement and improvement evident in my class data from these project based learning experiences compared to the experiences where students wrote and revised their paper in a traditional drafting process, I started to wonder what exactly was sparking their improvement. This is when I noticed the connection to how they interacted with film. To be completely honest, I did not intentionally incorporate the filming process into their writing process in many of these units. I saw the film as a separate extension for them to engage in. What was really starting to happen was that students were able to use the filming process and their own produced film (whether it was performance based or reflective film of them talking through their projects/process) to think about their written work in a completely different way and notice elements they may have originally been unable to see and address in their formal draft.
As 9th graders (14-15 year olds), students really struggle to think about the writing process and edit their own content. It is comfortable for students to address grammatical and formatting issues that their teacher points out, but actually modifying the content and making sure that they are addressing the prompt to the best of their ability is a major struggle. So, I started looking at how I could highlight and engage them in this process of revision thinking. This led me to a lot of research on the revision process or what I found more often, the lack of revision writing that happens in a classroom. “Revision is essential in helping students learn to write independently because it pushes students to critically consider the effectiveness of their work, yet research indicates that revision is frequently overlooked by students and teachers” (MacArthur, 2013; Witte, 2013). As this statement suggests, I have noticed this in my own school setting, especially in a language arts department where each teacher has 140-150 students they are responsible for. The revision process takes time and that is something that is hard to work into a 43 minute classroom setting where every CCSS standard must be met and 15 days of class time are allotted for state PARCCs assessments.
The result of reflecting on my curriculum, researching revision practices, and the past 2 years of classroom experience with my kids was a desire to create a framework for the writing process that incorporates film and actively helps them engage in revision thinking. “Proficient writers revise throughout composing and use revision to think more critically about their topics as well as hone their work for the audience, making revision as much a process of discovery as it is creating a final product” (MacArthur, 2013; Sommers, 1982; Zito, Adkins, Gavins, Harris, & Graham, 2007). As stated above, revision is about the process more than the final product. The goal of this research to practice experience is to have my students work through this process in order to hone their critical thinking skills about the work they produce. This will be repeated, not only in the unit outlined below, but also in 4 other units throughout the year.
Many standards will be met throughout this unit, but the following are the focus standards that will be emphasized throughout the process and measured through formative/summative assessment.
CCSS Focus Standards:
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.5 Develop and strengthen writing as needed by planning, revising, editing, rewriting, or trying a new approach, focusing on addressing what is most significant for a specific purpose and audience. (Editing for conventions should demonstrate command of Language standards 1–3 up to and including grades 9–10 here.)
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.9-10.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, taking advantage of technology’s capacity to link to other information and to display information flexibly and dynamically.
Content of the learning experience:
The first experience will be our Narrative Writing Unit. The timeframe for this unit has been approximately September 7th – October 15th. Adding in the additional steps that will be necessary to focus on using film to revise and the added lessons on the process and production of film with written strategies I am anticipating this unit taking until the end of October, even with the early start to the school year we will have this year.
Basic Framework: (Write-Feedback-Script-Film-Evaluate/Reflect -Revise)
- Students will write group narratives (3-4 students) They will be grouped according to the genre they choose to write in. The writing process will focus on narrative elements and framework we have been studying in class while they constructed their Personal Narrative Projects (first assignment of the year).
- Turn in Draft 1 in Google Classroom for feedback from Miss Wallace. This feedback will be in the form of comments on Google Docs. The comments will be accompanied by a Google Doc Rubric with highlighted sections noting where the students are in their progress with the draft.
- Revise and resubmit draft for “Green Light” on the scripting process. In order for students to get their scripts “green lit” they will be evaluated on their use of dialogue, pacing, narration (or lack of), as well as their creative decisions on what to leave in and what to take out from the original story in order for it to translate effectively to film. (evaluated with comments/simple rubric)
- Write Film Script from story -Dialogue Development
~What will transition from the story to the script well?
~What elements of your story can be cut or should be?
~What story elements must be kept for coherency and completeness?
- Submit Script Draft (While teacher looks over/offers feedback students are moving into the blocking process). If scripts are formatted correctly and students have a firm grip on dialogue development and pacing then their film will be “green lit” and they will proceed to blocking.
- Film Blocking done in Graphic Novel style panels with a written strategy that will be submitted for feedback. (Strategy with guiding questions provided)
~Where will it be filmed? Why?
~What props/sound effects, etc. are necessary? Why?
~What camera angles/lighting will you use? Why?
~How do your decisions help set the tone in your scene?
~How will the actors’ body language convey the mood or theme being portrayed in each scene?
~Lines – are there any? Why or why not?
~How are you conveying your message to your audience without outright telling them your message?
- Filming – students will film their scripted and blocked stories in the span of a week + 2 weekends: Students will be assigned or choose roles such as director, lighting, stage direction, continuity manager, props, makeup/costuming
- Showing/Viewing films – Film Review Strategy
~Evaluative/Reflective individual piece on student’s own process and end product – w/input from class feedback (share out format on class feedback)
~Group Analysis Strategy where groups look at their role in the filming process, their expectations, reflection on changes they would make if possible, and how they feel the audience reacted to their end product.
- Selection of top film from the class to be viewed at the Freshmen Film Festival (6 total 15-20min films, Community invited, short Q&A after)
- Prep for festival (this would be an extension piece to the assignment)
- This experience will then be used as a model to work with Text-Film-Text in other units besides narrative.
Pedagogical methods that were considered during this design experience:
- The standard, 5 step writing process – focusing on analysis, evaluation, and revision
- Film design and using film design to showcase author/director choices
- This writing-filming-writing experience results in a Film Festival, which would be a project based learning framework but we are sort of building the pieces outside of that framework and then working into it. (If that makes sense at all) *Capstone assignment maybe?
Technology that will be used throughout this process:
I am considering laptops, smartphones/cameras/other filming devices, editing programs and apps, youtube for informational supplementals about the filming process and checking out how scriptwriters / directors work through their process.
Feedback from Research to Practice Session
Online survey results:
- Was the information in this research to practice session clear and applicable?
Three participants answered this question on a scale from 1-5, 5 being that the session was clear and applicable. The results showed that 2 participants rated the session a 4 and one participant rated it a 5.
- What are some ways you could see film leading to revision thinking in your own classroom?
Participant A: Film is an opportunity in some projects I already do, so maybe it needs to be more purposefully taught. I always run out of time, though.
Participant B: I know that teachers often shy away from having students create movies because of the time it takes. However, I think that see this spin on using film to enhance the revision process is incredibly valuable. I hope to get a couple of teachers to try it this year.
Participant C: I found the idea of using images to inform the revision process inspiring. It is always a challenge to engage students in detailed, descriptive and image-enhanced writing. The contrasting images of a similar scene (There and back again) is a brilliant way for students to describe nuances in a particular scene they are writing about. I will apply this example in my own classroom. Also, storyboarding seems like a powerful way to enable students to look at different aspects – props, facial expression, body language etc in a scene and then add them to a descriptive or narrative piece of writing.
I had the opportunity to film the final ten minutes of my Research to Practice Session, where participants were working on story boarding and then revising that story board with the addition of film elements, such as camera angles, lighting, and what props would be necessary in the scene. There were participants in the session that shared their thoughts on the idea of focusing on using film for the revision process. Reflectively, I noticed that even though I thought that I allowed for more discussion at the time of the session, really we only had time for a few short remarks. This is definitely a point of revision for my own practice as a speaker and classroom teacher. If I had more time I definitely would have allowed the discussion to flow much longer and see what other ideas or concerns participants could come up with for the use of film in the classroom.
Throughout the process of building this Research to Practice unit and session there was a lot of reflection and revision involved. From the very beginning, the initial reflection process was very informative. Provided the opportunity to look back at my classroom practices and curriculum over the past two years, it was great to be able to really dig deep into how I have been running the writing process in my classroom and how I can work towards improving it. This observation and the following two weeks of research and feedback from peers, professors, and conference participants have led to a clear understanding and goal for my curriculum over the next year. It was so refreshing to get valuable feedback from other educators who were involved in the same mindset and using the same frameworks. What has emerged from this process is a usable, researched plan of implementation that I can use in my classroom this year.
Dinkins, E. G. (2014). MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS’ PERSPECTIVES OF AND RESPONSES TO STRATEGIC REVISION INSTRUCTION. Middle Grades ResearchJournal, 9(2), 75.
Early, J. S., & Saidy, C. (2014). A study of a multiple component feedback approach to substantive revision for secondary ELL and multilingual writers. Reading and Writing, 27(6), 995-1014. doi:10.1007/s11145-013-9483-y
|Fulton, A., & Bardine, B. (2008). Analyzing the benefits of revision memos during the writing and revision process. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 81(4), 149-154. doi:10.3200/TCHS.81.4.149-154
Kajder, S., & Swenson, J. A. (2004). Digital images in the language arts classroom. Learning & Leading with Technology, 31(8), 18.
Yim, S., Warschauer, M., Zheng, B., & Lawrence, J. F. (2014). Cloud‐Based collaborative writing and the common core standards. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 58(3), 243-254. doi:10.1002/jaal.345
Today I presented my Research to Practice session at the MAET (Master’s of Educational Technology) GREAT15 Conference at NUI Galway, put on by Michigan State University. The main question that fueled my research and thought process was, how can film or imagery help students develop revision thinking and lead to better formal writing?
After reviewing film of my session and talking to several participants there are a couple of moment I would like to focus on in this reflection. First, it was a very difficult process to narrow down exactly what to focus on during a thirty minute session. Especially when that session is trying to represent an idea that encompasses an entire unit. I chose to concentrate on the blocking process before filming because this seemed to highlight the change in thought process/different perspective that students would have to take in order to transition from written story to film. This process is what would fuel revision of their original story eventually. I felt that if I could get this moment across to my session audience, they would be able to understand a bit about the overarching goal I am hoping to achieve with my kids next school year.
Based on the feedback, everyone was able to understand my perspective and consider the use of film as a revision tool. A few participants showed interest in further discussing the distinction between student generated work and other texts they are presented with and interacted with in the classroom. Two participants wished that they had more time to interact with their peers and the presenter about the ideas and unit plan that was mentioned throughout the conversation. They also mentioned during the presentation as well as afterwards that there were several “take away” observations that they had made throughout the lesson. This feedback let me know that participants were engaged and that it would have been okay to let the conversation flow a little longer or go a little deeper into my vision for the unit I am currently creating based on this research.
This experience was so informative and really pushed me to consider presenting research and my own material from many different perspectives. I feel that this opportunity has fueled a desire to seek out other opportunities to share my ideas in this sort of setting in the near future.