Week 5: Story Critique

I have to admit this week I have struggled-the news is breaking my heart. It’s made me think a lot about my students and how difficult these terrible events are for me to process, never mind a child. My search for this week’s story critique along with the range of emotions I am experiencing led me to Teaching Tolerance, a website I’ve used in the past, but it has been a while. I didn’t totally know what I was looking for but I found a range of resources for talking to students about tragedy. One article about Helping Students Heal was helpful because it included points for K-5 teachers, which I was surprised by and pleased with. Many times I feel like these types of resources are only created for older students. There was also this great list of resources: Teaching About Race, Racism and Police Violence.

I then explored some of the classroom activity videos from Teaching Tolerance. I chose to critique the following video titled Classroom Activities: Moments of Courage:

Using Lankshear and Knobel’s Ch4 New Literacies and Social Practices of Digital Remixing  to guide my critique I found the following:

The video includes varying types of involvement. The teacher and students participate in the video in the form of classroom activity, while the teacher specifically narrates and reflects on the lesson. I think the video is a way of conveying ideas on education and teaching students a lesson in courage, and standing up for what you believe in. The audience involvement could include teachers gaining ideas for lessons they can bring in their own classroom.

The literacy dimensions in the story include video editing skills. Someone clearly took footage of the classroom and the teachers interview and edited it all together to make a cohesive story. There was also audio that had to be considered, including music that was included in some scenes.

I found the video by going directly to Teaching Tolerance’s YouTube page, but I’m sure the videos are somewhere on their website as well. If they aren’t they probably should be in order to make them as accessible as possible. These sites obviously limit the ability for people to see these videos. They do have some videos on their Facebook page, but the classroom activity videos don’t seem to be included.

In order to improve the content of the video I would have loved to hear reflections from the students themselves on how they thought the lesson went, and what they learned. So often we forget to have our own students reflect on the lesson, and their own learning-we are so busy moving on to the next thing. I also think the narration could have been a bit more clear about more specifics on the lesson, some visuals, or text may have helped. Overall, I got the feel for the lesson and I like its idea, but I think the above additions would have helped make the video even stronger.

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