My eighth-grade class is expected to achieve three specific Connecticut Mastery Test objects each semester. I diligently teach the required objectives according to our curriculum plan. My students quickly become bored with the repetitive nature of the assignments. Many students would exhibit work avoidance behaviors due to their lack of interest. One of my students suggested that I allow the class to watch a movie every Friday as a reward for their efforts during the week. I regretfully informed the student that I had specific objectives to achieve each day and would not be able to allow the class to watch a movie since a movie could not fulfill our Connecticut Mastery Test objectives. My student replied "why not?" It was this conversation that inspired me to use movies to assess proficiency on learned objectives. I began to use movies as the text for reading comprehension questions. Again, my students were able to show comprehension of objectives they previously had difficulty with.
Movies and commercials are excellent tools for a study of voice. Movies and commercials will be helpful in most classes because they appeal to more than one modality at the same time. My students will analyze movies and commercials with the goal of differentiating between the voice of the characters and the voice of the creators of the movie or commercial which are different senses of voice. Students will spend five days examining television commercials and movies, and five days creating a commercial. The culminating project for the unit will be a commercial that each student (or group) will create that encompasses what they have learned about voice.
In the "What Are We Really Watching" sub-unit my class will view three movies that are based on books with a focus on interpreting how the characters express their beliefs or attitudes and those of creators of the film through their actions and choices.
The Chronicles of Narnia; the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Misery, and Holes
are a movies based on books. I plan on using the books as novels for guided reading during my literacy block prior to the start of this unit. I will begin this phase of the analysis process by first reviewing the books. I will ask my students what they believed the different characters sounded like through having students read the text aloud in the voice that they "hear." My class will then watch each movie that corresponds to a particular book (one movie per week). My students will then write a short response comparing how they thought each character sounded and how the creators of the movies interpreted the sounds of the voices. We will then discuss which interpretation of the voices the students prefer. I will then lead a discussion with the class about the different images they saw in the movie. We will also discuss how personification was used to make non-human things have human voices. I believe my students will be able to note how they used their
to put a distinctive voice to the characters in print and compare what they "heard" to what the movie creators "heard." The Imagining Ear is a concept illustrated by Robert Frost which alludes to a reader forming visual images of a text.
Advertising is the greatest art form of the twentieth
An imaginative approach for the interpretation of voice and accomplishing language arts standards is the use of television commercials and movies. Students who gain understanding of standard based objectives through familiar modes are more likely to show proficiency when assessed on the same themes using traditional text. It is this belief that is my motivation for using television commercials to improve reading comprehension, and interpretation of voice.
I will begin this sub-unit by giving my class a homework assignment to look at as many television commercials as possible. I will then have students discuss a commercial with a focus on what they believe the commercial is about and the structure and organization of the commercial. I will then have students view different commercial clips in class. I will then lead a discussion with the class about the different images they saw in each commercial. I will then have students write a short response to the commercial they find the most interesting stating how the advertiser uses imagery to persuade someone to purchase a product. I will finally have students analyze their favorite commercial according to the following criteria:
1. Purpose of the voice - who is the speaker's target audience and what are they being persuaded to do?
2. Speaker of the voice - is the speaker of the voice human or non-human?
3. Where the voice can be found - can the voice be found in the concepts being written about or through visual images being conveyed?
4. Relationship between speaker and audience - how is the speaker addressing the audience?
5. Expressed information about the speaker - what information about the target audience (age, race, gender, etc.) can be determined?
Students will create their own commercial for a product using the previously listed criteria as a rubric. Each commercial will be videotaped to provide students an opportunity to analyze the images portrayed and critique oratory skills.