Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pop Culture can Make Minilessons Come Alive in Writing Workshop

Today is day three of the TC Writing Institute and I have so much to share already!  Each afternoon, I can choose a closing workshop to attend out of a pretty extensive list of choices (wish there were more of me so I could attend them all!) Yesterday afternoon, I attended Kate Roberts' closing workshop on Pop Culture, Media, and Technology in Writing Workshop. First, I have to say that Kate Roberts is brilliant and my district is extremely fortunate to have her as one of our staff developers.  When I saw that Kate was teaching this workshop, I circled it immediately because I am now ready to try out incorporating media into my mini-lessons this school  year.  

Kate started off by stating that 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 in our classroom instruction.  She shared the great idea of giving students a questionnaire at the beginning of the year that asks for their favorite TV shows, movies, music, and video games so we can then use that information to help us search for videoclips of media that interests our students.  

Kate shared four categories of work we can do with pop culture: 
  • Using Pop Culture for Engagement - Think about how we start off our mini-lessons and fold some pop culture into our connections. For example, we can connect trying hard to get to the next level in a video game to having that same spirit in our writing. We can use the information from our media questionnaires to help us search on YouTube for short scenes to use. 
  • Transferring Literacies - use what they do when they watch TV and transfer that into their writing.  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.  Can also show a videoclip and have students pay attention to the character's claim and reasons and then chart them with boxes and bullets.  
  • Creating Materials for Publication - We can get our students to make comics using ComicLife, make iMovies, create podcasts, and so on.  One option is to have students work on this for homework so it doesnt eat all classroom instructional time.  We can also devote time at the end of the writing unit for this kind of media work and ask students to translate their writing piece into a different form of media.  
  • Building Community or for Assessment - Some examples of ways we can incorporate more technology and media in our classrooms is to use blogs, wikis, Edmodo, and Flip Cameras.  
I would love to hear how you incorporate pop culture, media, and technology into your mini-lessons so please share!  I look forward to trying out all these ideas in my minilessons this school year - Thank you Kate Roberts! 

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