Thursday, November 1, 2012

Using Digital Texts and Pop Culture in Mini-lessons

This past summer, I posted about my new learning from Kate Roberts' session on Using Pop Culture, Media, and Technology in Writing Workshop at the TCRWP Summer Writing Institute (click here to read my post about this session).  This past Saturday, I was excited to see that Maggie Beattie Roberts was offering a session on Teaching Writing using Digital Texts at the TCRWP Reunion.  One of my goals this year is to incorporate digital texts and pop culture into my reading and writing mini-lessons so each time I have the opportunity to attend a session on it, I jump at the chance.  In both sessions, I learned ways to include short video clips in purposeful ways to teach the qualities of writing and literacy skills in our mini-lessons.  Both Kate and Maggie shared how our students are immersed in pop culture in their daily lives so we need to think about how we can tap into that and use it in our classroom instruction.  

After attending these sessions, I learned that in writing workshop, we can use videoclips as a demonstration text to show how writers use a particular skill or strategy.  For example, to show how writers use backstory in narratives we can show a video clip and have students pay attention to the dialogue and how people act to help them gather information about the backstory.  In argumentative or persuasive writing, we can show a videoclip and have students pay attention to the character's claim and reasons and then chart them with boxes and bullets.  In informational writing, we can view a video clip to learn ways to include elaboration.  For example, while viewing, we can identify when we hear/see: problems, geography/location, statistics, comparison, facts, cause/effect, features, point of view, and so on.  

After this summer, I created a YouTube account and created folders to begin saving video clips I come across that may be good to use as mentor texts and demonstrations texts in our reading and writing workshop.  For example, I created a folder for book trailers that I can show to recommend books for independent reading and for our read alouds too.  I also created a folder for video clips I can use during reading workshop and writing workshop mini-lessons.  For example, today I showed a short 3 minute YouTube video clip from the movie, Akeelah and the Bee during my mini-lesson to have kids synthesize the skills we learned during our character unit. Students turned and talked to their partner mid-way through the clip and then again at the end to share their thinking about the character's relationship as well as a theory they can develop based on the characters' actions and decisions in the scene we watched.  The students loved watching the clip and applying their literacy skills to a different form of media. 

 I am excited to continue to work on my goal of including digital texts in my mini-lessons in meaningful and purposeful ways.  I would love to hear how you are including pop culture and digital texts into your mini-lesson instruction so please share any and all ideas you have! :) 

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