Sunday, January 20, 2013

Text to Screen

Every six week term, I try to get my students to read at least 5 books at their reading level. In theory, they're supposed to take an AR test on each one and blog about two of them. This term, I decided to create a new requirement for my fourth graders: one of the books has to have been made into a movie, and they need to watch said movie after they've finished reading the book.

You see, I'm looking for another way to assess this standard:
RL.4.7 Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions from the text.
In the past, I've done read-alouds or a class novel, and we'd watch the movie when we finished. There were always some problems with that system, though.
1. Invariably, someone had either a) already seen the movie, b) already read the book, or c) done both, so they probably weren't getting as much out of the experience.
2. It really limited our options because I'd have to pick a short book that I knew I'd be able to get through in the six weeks or I'd need to choose one that I had 25+ copies of.
3. The movie watching ate up a lot of class time and always seemed to get interrupted because I wouldn't have a block long enough to watch it or there'd be a fire drill or something.

This year, I decided there had to be a better way. Armed with our new Common Core standards and a vision for what I'd want my readers to accomplish on their own, I set out to design some activities they could complete with any book they chose. I think I've finally done it.

This file, which is now available at my TpT store for an introductory price of $5.00, includes 8 different activities for grades 4-6 that can be used with any book that has been made into a movie. In this file, you will find:
  • A resource guide to find books that have been made into movies.
  • 8 engaging, higher-level thinking activities that align with CCSS:
    • Compare and Contrast with a Venn diagram
    • Off the Page - trace characters, events, and settings from the movie back to the original text
    • Visualizing Setting & Characters - what happens when our mental image doesn't match the movie?
    • Cut! - Analyze what got left out of the movie and why
    • Interview the Director - develop questions you'd ask the director and share the rationale for asking those questions
    • Casting Agent - evaluate the actors chosen to play different characters
    • Red Carpet - create an award for the movie, for better or worse
    • Direct Your Own Remake - if you could do it all over, what would you change and why?
  • Assessment checklists for grades 4, 5, and 6 that identifies the various CCSS that could be assessed at each grade level based on the activities in this file. 
In the meantime, I've disappeared from the blogosphere for a little while, which puts me woefully behind on my New Year's Resolutions of blogging more. Since my last post less than a couple weeks ago, I've applied to a doctoral program in educational leadership, acquired a student teacher who will be with me for 9 weeks, worked on my early childhood math endorsement, went on my first movie date in over a year with my husband (having a baby really slowed us down on the movie-going), and celebrated three birthdays in my family, including my husband's. So I really wasn't just sitting around watching Real Housewives or eating Ben & Jerry's -- I promise. But this week, I will do better with blogging. Honest!

How are you addressing RL.7 in your classroom? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

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