Posted in Food for Thought

Comparing Books and Movies

There are people in the world who like books. There are people in the world who like movies. And there are people in the world who like both. I’m the kind of person who likes both.

It’s great to like both if you can understand that books and movies are not the same. They are never going to be the same. It simply isn’t possible. But people who like books and who like movies often struggle because they do not always like movie adaptations. It can be hard to separate a beloved book from its big screen counterpart. People who love books and movies claim that plot lines are altered, characters vanish, it just wasn’t as good as the book. These opinions are not always wrong. I just think there’s more to it than those simple opinions.

Let’s remember that movies aren’t claiming to be books. They’re interpretations of the books. They’re reimaginings of the story the book told. Sometimes they give viewers a fresh perspective or a scene not in the book because it didn’t quite fit. It’s a new way for readers to understand the story; readers should embrace and appreciate that.

Sometimes the beauty lies in comparing books and movies. Were the story lines the same? Was the point of view the same? Were there new characters or different twists and turns? Compare and analyze the two versions of the story and see what the results are.

Remember to be open to change, to different interpretations, to reimaginations of stories. A book and a movie not matching perfectly isn’t the end of the world. It’s an opportunity to embrace a new perspective, learn something new, and see a familiar story in a new life.

BB

Posted in Classroom Ideas, Teaching Techniques

Showing Movies in Class

I love movies. And I love comparing books to their movie counterparts. I find it really interesting to make comparisons between books and movies, and I want to share that with my students. I think that doing so could lead to a lot of discussion and great analysis. I also think it’s important to know why you are showing a movie in class and what you want the end result to be.

Let’s take a minute to be honest. In my experience, there are two main reasons to show a movie. The first is because it’s right before a vacation and students are too hyped up to focus and get work done. The second is for a comparison or another educational activity.

If you’re showing a movie before a vacation, your goal is probably to show a movie and keep students mildly entertained. And that’s OK. That’s what will happen, and everything will work out the way it’s supposed to.

However, if you’re showing a movie to students so they can make a comparison or learn something, they need to have a reason to pay attention. There needs to be buy in, or students aren’t going to give the movie their full attention. They’ll find something more interesting or something they feel is more important to give part of their attention to.

Create some buy in. It can be simple. It can be a comparison chart they need to fill out. It can be questions they need to answer. It can be a big overview question they need to be prepared to answer. But give students a reason to pay attention. Set some expectations. Then everyone is on the same page, and no one needs to be fighting with anyone else.

BB

Posted in Classroom Ideas, Food for Thought, Regular Update

Bulletin Board Real Estate

I think that bulletin boards are highly underestimated pieces of classroom real estate. I know that I underestimated them until I began my internship this year. I think part of the problem is that when I (and I assume others) think “bulletin board” I think elementary school. And I want to teach at the secondary level (grades 7-12). So I don’t necessarily want a board with cute art projects because that’s just not where my students are. (I do love a good art project though.)

This year though, I’ve seen two bulletin boards that I’ve fallen completely in love with, and they really couldn’t be more different. Let me tell you a little bit about them.

bulletin board 1:

Bulletin board 1 showcases a million different cool things. I know that “a million” sounds like some serious hyperbole, but I assure you it isn’t. This bulletin board is full of so many cool posters – movie posters, book posters, quote posters. I literally go into the room that houses this bulletin board and stare at it. I want all those posters. I want them for my classroom. I want them to be in my life even when I can’t go visit this bulletin board anymore. This is a bulletin board that I find inspiring because it makes me think about how all these things can be applicable to an English classroom (where this bulletin board lives) and to students. I really want to know how all these posters ended up together and what the students think of them. And I think it would be great to have this type of bulletin board one day because it’s a great use of bulletin board real estate.

Bulletin board 2:

Bulletin board 2 is great for different reasons. This is a bulletin board that showcases student work. I think that right there regardless of what that work is is great. Showcasing student work really makes the students a part of the classroom. They have ownership of some real estate because it’s their work that’s on the wall. I think that aspect of this bulletin board alone is fabulous.

I also really like that every marking period the work on the board changes to reflect the theme of the quarter. This isn’t a stagnant board. It’s constantly changing and becoming something new. And it’s giving students the opportunity to grow and evolve throughout the year and see that reflected and showcased.

What do you do with your bulletin board real estate? What do you dream of doing with your bulletin board real estate?

BB

Posted in Food for Thought, Regular Update

What Does Literature Consist of?

I think it’s easy to believe that literature consists only of books and articles. Literature is something that’s read, right? That’s what we’ve always believed and what we’ve always taught to the next generation. And I think that it’s a fair argument and it’s set up on a sound foundation. But in today’s day and age with the world ever evolving, is it maybe time to reconsider things?

Wouldn’t it be a good idea to consider the wide array of things which students these days can analyze? They can analyze movies, for instance. They can pick apart a movie the same way they pick apart and analyze a book. Students might even be able to go into deeper analysis of some areas because of the visuals being presented. This also might be an area of analysis that students are more willing to delve into because it’s something they’re more accustomed to. They’re used to watching TV and movies and they’re used to having conversations about them with their friends. Wouldn’t it be great to bring it into the classroom and allow students to be more comfortable with what they’re doing instead of forcing English standards and ideas onto them?

I also think that music would prove a great source for analysis. It’s something that many students are constantly plugged into, and it provides many of the same parts of analysis that reading a poem would. I think that analyzing songs would be great because students are more likely to relate to them, or at least relate to them more easily. It also would be, in my opinion, a good gateway into poetry. I think it’s hard to just throw students into poetry and expect them to relate and analyze; songs would be a good stepping stone along the way.

I’m sure that there are many more resources available which we could bring into our classrooms for analysis, but I think that these are two great places to start. I think what’s really important to consider is what our students relate to to start with, and work on bringing that into the classroom. If we make the classroom a more relatable place students might be more open to English and all the parts that come with it.

BB