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Posts Tagged ‘Teaching with Technology’

By Alli Gubanich

 

BEFORE YOU WATCH

This video shows how to use QR codes to deepen student engagement with the words and ideas in Twelfth Night—and to teach essential literacy skills outlined in the Common Core. QR codes are a nice blend between the paper world and the digital world.  I was inspired to create this kind of communication by Tony Wagner’s book Creating Innovators, which is full of QR codes for the reader to scan.  In this video, I explain how to use QR codes to enhance a research paper with complementary multimedia.  The end result is a paper that certainly could be read on its own, but offers the reader additional material for visualizing the textual information.  QR readers can be downloaded to any smartphone or tablet for free.

 

THE VIDEO

 

AFTER YOU WATCH

Students usually love to curate interesting and relevant multimedia for their papers.  I have had students send me to watch cartoons and lectures, look at fine art and internet memes, listen to NPR and MTV.  I’m always intrigued by the connections my students choose to make.  Asking students to include multimedia requires them to analyze the topic in question in yet another light, and the process of choosing appropriate supplemental material requires higher level thinking skills.  Additionally, the “art of curating” really substantive or relevant material is a skill worth developing.  Including it on your rubric legitimizes the process and gives you another area in which to help your students grow.

Read Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, and Part Five of our Teaching Twelfth Night with Technology series.

 

Alli Gubanich is an upper school English teacher at AIM Academy, a research-to-practice lab school in Conshohocken, PA that serves students with learning differences.  Her professional interests include technology infusion in the classroom and differentiated learning in the 21st century classroom.  Additionally, she is an accredited teacher trainer in the Socratic Seminar instructional method.  Alli is 2014 TSI alumna.

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by Gene Campbell

 

Before You Watch

 

The idea behind this video is a simple one: get your students to immediately get the play on its feet. Here you’ll learn how to help your students take a scene from any of Shakespeare’s plays (though in this case it’s a portion of Act 5, Scene 1 from Twelfth Night) and turn it into a montage of one-second movies using iMovie. Through this process, students will be asked to break down the dramatic structure of the scene, to do a close reading of the scene, and then to distill that scene to its barest essence.

 

The Video

 

 

 

After You Watch

 

While I did not teach Twelfth Night this year, I used a simplified version of this lesson for our first day’s discussion of Henry IV, Part I. Due to a time crunch that I’m sure everyone reading this blog has felt at one point or another, I didn’t think that I could afford the extra day or two that filming and editing a one-second movie montage could have entailed, so I opted for tableaux vivants instead. The principle was the same — get the students to do a close reading of the text and then translate the poetry, rhetoric, and imagery into one representative moment — though the time required was reduced to a single day and the finished product was a still image rather than a very brief film clip. I split my students into two groups and asked them to come up with an image for each line of King Henry’s opening speech. One student read the part, the rest of the group acted, and I photographed each tableau and then projected the photos as the reading was repeated at the end of the class so that everyone could see the finished product. Henry’s manipulation of his audience came alive as an image of unity was followed by one of discord in a neatly repeating cycle that highlighted his political savvy and duplicitous message as well as set up the questions that I would be asking them to consider when Hal begins to behave in eerily similar ways later in the play.

 

There were audible gasps from the students when I projected their work for them at the end of the day, and that energy and engagement helped carry us through our discussions in the following weeks. There was something about seeing the imagery made concrete that connected with them and allowed them to understand that speech — one that I have taught to at least two sections every year for the past fifteen years — in a way that was never possible before. I believe both the tableaux vivants and the one-second movies provide access to this level of understanding while lessening the anxiety many of the students feel when I ask them to act out a scene in class, and this shared process of creating meaning is everything I want my classes to be.

 

If you have any questions or ideas about this lesson in either of its forms, please email me at gcampbell@stalbansschool.org or reach out on Twitter (@21stCenturyLit).

 

Reading Part One, Part Two, Part Three and Part Four of our Teaching Twelfth Night with Technology series.

 

 

Gene Campbell is the Dean of Students and an English teacher in the Upper School of St. Albans School, an all-boys Episcopal school in Washington, DC. He received his BA in English from Georgetown University and his MA in English from The Bread Loaf School of English at Middlebury College. He currently teaches British Literature to 10th graders as well as 11th and 12th grade electives ranging from Comparative Literature to 21st Century Literature to Narrative Film.

 

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By Jenna Gardner

 

BEFORE YOU WATCH

 

This is an activity I used with students at the beginning of Twelfth Night Act 2, scene 2 when Viola, disguised as Cesario, realizes that Olivia loves her because Olivia believes Viola to be “the man” she pretends to be.

 

The beauty of Shakespeare is in its performance, which allows students to hear and see his words and engage with all the possible meanings of a text. I wanted to help my students visualize Shakespeare’s language and to promote hypothesizing, discussion, debate, and critical reasoning regarding his implicit as well as explicit meanings in Twelfth Night. The online tool Voyant allows an entire text to be investigated by simply embedding a corpus copied and pasted from a website. Using Voyant and Folger Digital Texts, students can see the words of greatest frequency in a word cloud and perform keyword searches to see word frequency and area of occurrence in the text. Data in all the fields— word cloud, word trends, and keywords in context, etc.—can be exported and saved.

 

THE VIDEO

 

 

AFTER YOU WATCH

 

By using Voyant, my students engaged in a close reading of Viola’s soliloquy, “I left no ring with her…”, and through this tool my students began to see the role that disguise had already begun to play in Twelfth Night. Students had activating questions that they worked on in preparation for our in-class work and discussion. By manipulating and analyzing the text in Voyant, students tested questions, made observations, and drew conclusions about the force and impact of disguise in the rest of the play.

 

As a class we discussed Shakespeare’s use of disguise, and students began to generate other associated words—hide, deceive secret, deception, etc. Working in groups with laptops they tried out their brainstorming words and generated new terms they felt that were related to this idea of disguise. This could also be done with projecting the screen of one computer and having the class work collectively. Using Voyant’s tools to look at instances where these terms occurred in the play allowed them to see the rhythm of disguise within Shakespeare’s work and to be mindful of their occurrence when they emerged in later class readings. This activity works especially well when paired with student performance work. The whole idea of disguise really comes to life not just when students use Voyant to analyze it but when they speak and embody it.

 

This close reading focus on disguise also led to an in-depth discussion on the role of dramatic irony in comedy and why it is so essential. This was a text I taught at the beginning of the school year to develop my AP English Literature students’ close reading skills. All of their work led to writing an analytical essay on their close reading of this soliloquy.

 

Voyant can be used with any text that students find intimidating. It is a tool I used with our class study of Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights in which we examined her use of hellish and heavenly terms—angel, devil, fiend—and their importance in conveying her thematic inversion of meaning.

 

Please feel free to send me your questions or ideas by contacting me on Twitter! (@JennaGLit)

 

Read Part One, Part Two, and Part Three of our Teaching Twelfth Night with Technology series.

 

Jenna Gardner is an AP English Literature, Junior Language Arts, and AP Art History teacher at Meadowcreek High School in Norcross, Georgia. Currently her students are in the midst of their Shakespeare Madness debates, which are calling on them to use their close reading skills to argue for Shakespeare’s ‘best’ play.

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By Gillian Drutchas

***We’re thrilled to bring you another series of teacher-created videos from the Teaching Shakespeare Institute 2014. Last month, teachers shared ideas for a Romeo and Juliet unit. This time around, we invite you to watch—and read—their strategies for teaching Twelfth Night with digital technology. Up first: Michigan teacher Gillian Drutchas…***

 

BEFORE YOU WATCH

For many of my students, beginning any new text is daunting, and Shakespeare’s works cause even more anxiety.  Not only is the language a challenge, but so are the names of many characters.  After all, how many Orsinos and Malvolios have you had in class?  This activity is designed to help students make sense of who the characters are and how they are related to one another.   Furthermore, not only does this activity help students delve into the play, but it also gives them a document that they can use as a reference as they continue their study of the play.

THE VIDEO

 

AFTER YOU WATCH

Although I haven’t had the opportunity to use this activity with Twelfth Night, my 9th graders made a similar infographic using the characters from Romeo and Juliet.  It not only helped them to sort the Montagues from the Capulets, but also made them think carefully about the position (both physically and metaphorically) of characters who did not easily fit into one family or another, such as Mercutio and Paris.

Because I am always a little leery of mandating students to use technology that can be time consuming and more trouble than it’s worth, I also gave them the option of creating their infographic on paper or using another digital program.  While some took me up on the offer, many chose to use easl.ly.

As I so often am, I was surprised by the insightful approaches many students brought to the assignment.  Here are a few:

  • Several students chose pictures of familiar celebrities and television characters whose personalities mimic traits of Shakespeare’s characters as their images. For example, Ryan Gosling was a popular choice for Romeo as my 15 year-old girls felt Gosling epitomized Romeo’s romantic, yet brooding nature.
  • Others created color coded boxes for each character, using various shades to depict how entrenched a particular character was with each family.  For example, while Benvolio may have been a bright red, someone like Mercutio may have been pink to show that although he hangs out with the Montagues, he’s not actually a Montague.
  • A few students chose to use another Web 2.0 tool, bubbl.us to create the text of their infographic. However, this tool did not allow them include pictures. So after organizing the characters on bubbl.us, the students printed their creation and added their own images.

A few of my AP English Language students did get to use this activity in a colleague’s Women in Literature course, and their feedback highlighted the importance of having students support their ideas with actual text from they play.  They found that identifying the key quotations to describe each character was particularly helpful.  One student reported that “although we read the play in class, finding the quotes made me look deeper into the characters and remember who was who.”

Feel free to send me any thoughts, suggestions or ideas you might have on Twitter (@missdrutchas).

 

Gillian Drutchas teaches English 9 and AP English at Marian High School, an all-girls, Catholic high school in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.  She received a B.A. in English and Psychology from Mount Holyoke College and an M.A. in Educational Studies from the University of Michigan.  She is also a 2014 alumna of the Folger’s Teaching Shakespeare Institute.

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