Link to lesson plan
Link to slideshow
For this project I wanted students to find a way to combine photographic images with the practice of interpreting literature: the idea being that words in a literary work have the potential to create images in the readers mind thereby giving them a different way of understanding the book. The use of the Red Badge of Courage for this exercise is relevant because photographs from the war actually influenced how Stephen Crane approached telling the short story. I recently reread the Red Badge of Courage and in some of my background research on the book I discovered that one reason Stephen Crane’s book was a new and different portrayal of war was because of the graphic images of war that had come back from the front. Before then, the only people who really got an idea of what war looked like were the soldiers and others whose work took them to the battlefields. By the 1860s commercial photography was an established profession and it only made sense for the photographers to turn their lenses on the battlefields surrounding them. This was a historic development in war reporting and literature and a great subject matter for the students to explore. I wanted to have them practice higher level thinking by looking at larger issues of how these photographs might have affected the public’s view of war and whether this was a positive or negative development.
The first ISTE article I read was titled “English Language Arts Units for Grades 9-12″ by Christopher Shamberg. The article begins by the author revealing that when asked why he was teaching the Scarlet Letter, he was unable to come up with a response. His point was that we need to constantly be reassessing what we are teaching and why we are teaching it. He then goes on to talk about technology and the constantly changing needs of the high school language arts classroom: “The problem is that college entrance exams no
longer test for literature and that students need 21st-century Information Age skills, not
20th-century Industrial Age skills. These new skills Shamberg elucidates are, in large part, technological ones. He concludes by talking about the new “literacies” teachers are challenged to acknowledge and assimilate and how these new literacies can better prepare our students for a rapidly changing world.
“Copyright, Digital Media, and Teaching High School English” is second (it is accessed by scrolling down from the first) article I read and it contains some useful information regarding our work for Project 2. ” Copying and pasting others’ work has never been easier and it brings up issues of copyright protection. The article talks about the concept of “fair use” and how for the most part schools and educators are able to use materials that would be copyright protected if used commercially. Problems arise, however, when students use their work for school on Facebook and other social media sites. The article goes on to emphasize how important it is for students have an idea of what the copyright laws are and in what contexts the “found” media can be utilized. The article concludes by discussing the creative commons. The creative commons is an organization with a website where artists, musicians and others can make their work available for others for free. Students can find media through the organization and use it in their school work without worrying about copyright violations, which is a good way to spend more time learning and less time worrying.