Tag Archives: film and visual media

Walter Wallace Decodes the Rockingham Meeting House Cemetery

While I realize that it’s not most people’s idea of fun, I like to spend time in cemeteries. I appreciate funerary art. I enjoy the solemnity and quiet of cemeteries. I benefit from the perspective cemeteries provide. And, since the advent of the smartphone, I enjoy using cemeteries as a primary source in historical research. One can learn a lot about the demographics of a town by its deceased citizens.

So, I am pleased to see that my pal Walter Wallace, in Springfield, Vermont, has worked with a local cable access production company to offer this video on Puritan symbolism on gravestones at the Rockingham Meeting House, in Rockingham Vermont, where he is a docent. Incidentally, this meeting house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.

Great work, Walter!

A Learning Support on Aesthetic Criteria for Reviews

A little over a decade ago, I worked for a couple of years in a middle school in the North Bronx. While there, I developed a short unit on writing reviews. Somewhere in along the way, across that ten-year span, I lost the unit (it took me a while, as a slow learner on these things, to master data storage), but somehow hung onto its templates. Those are in a folder awaiting redevelopment; I do think teaching students to write reviews is a good way to guide them to a broader understanding of culture in general, and the elements of culture in particular.

While rummaging around in some old folders, I found this learning support on aesthetic criteria for writing reviews. I remember distinctly that these lists were student generated. I acted only as a Socratic foil by asking questions to clarify terms.

At some point, I’ll get back to writing the unit this document was meant to support, and post its lessons in these pages.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

 

The Godfather

If your students announce an interest in classic American cinema, as several of mine have in the past couple of days, then this reading on the The Godfather and its accompanying reading comprehension worksheet might be just the ticket for them. I’m developing a new series of reading, so there will me more to come on the cinema.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Rebel Without a Cause

“A film (1955) adapted by Stewart Stern and Irving Shulman from the story ‘Blind Run’ by Robert M. Lindner. The rebel of the title is a rebellious teenager whose unruly behavior culminates in a death-defying challenge in which he and a rival drive their cars full speed towards the edge of a cliff. Starring James Dean, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo, the film acquired iconic status among the restless youth of the 1950s, Dean in particular often being referred to as the ‘rebel without a cause.'”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Here, on a beautiful Saturday morning, is a reading on J.R.R. Tolkien, the esteemed author of The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, along with a comprehension worksheet to accompany it.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Adaptation

Broadly speaking, the recasting of a work to fit another, such as the recasting of novels and plays as film or television scripts. For example, Stephen Hero, A Passage to India, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, and Les Liaisons dangereuses as stage plays; The Forsythe Saga, Daniel Deronda, War and Peace, Brideshead Revisited and The Jewel in the Crown as television dramas. Sometimes a cycle or sequence is adapted: for instance, the dramatization of some of the Canterbury Tales as a musical comedy (1967). Short stories and poems are often equally suitable.

As an extension there are works like the Peyton Place and Colditz of which episodes continued to be presented long after the original stories had been used up.”

Excerpted from: Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. New York: Penguin, 1992.

The Weekly Text, December 2, 2016

Several years ago, when I was still subscribing to the Teachers & Writers Collaborative (T & W), I stumbled across the work of a Jamila Lyiscott. She had published her poem Broken English in T & W’s magazine. “Broken English” impressed me as one of the best explanations of code switching that I’d seen–and that I’ve seen since. I understood right away that “Broken English” could and should be used in my classroom.

Because I believe in teaching writing skills, and assisting students in developing their own understanding of cogent expository prose, several years ago I began designing synthetic and experiential lessons and units on the parts of speech, focusing particularly on writing grammatically complete, meaningful sentences. I’ve really only worked in inner-city schools, where my students speak a colorful vernacular informed by the Hip-Hop music they so adore. I knew I had to find a way to justify my pedagogy to them, as well as my belief–influenced to no small extent by the work of Lisa Delpit–that it is important for students to understand how to speak in a variety of registers, including that known quaintly as “the King’s English”, which Ms. Delpit rightly calls a “language of power.”All of this brought me back around to Jamila Lysicott.

So I began work on what has ultimately become this lesson plan on code switching, which is based upon “Broken English.” I’ve been procrastinating posting this as a Weekly Text because the worksheet, at eight pages, strikes me a bit too long for kids with limited literacy and/or attention spans. I thought about breaking it down to something smaller. Ultimately, I’ve decided that I will post this as is with the proviso that this lesson is, practically speaking, probably more like two, three or perhaps even four lessons. Moreover, if you decide to use it as a vocabulary building lesson, I think you could pull more words out of the text and add them to that section of the worksheet. As with all Weekly Texts at Mark’s Text Terminal, these documents are in Microsoft Word, so you may alter them to suit your needs.

So, for this lesson, you will need these four do now worksheets on the words articulate as an adjective (and this might be a suitable opportunity to teach it as a verb as welldictionprose and verse. This Cultural Literacy worksheet on slang might also be useful as for this lesson. Here is the worksheet for this lesson, and the teachers’ exegesis for “Broken English”. Finally, this typescript of the poem “Broken English” itself might be helpful, especially if you want to break it up for discrete lessons.

And here is a link to a TED Talk in which Jamila Lyiscott reads “Broken English.”

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.