Monday, May 2, 2011

Using Technology in an English Classroom: A Teacher's Experience

Guest Blogger: Mrs. Marianna Montuori, English Teacher WBMHS

This post was written by Mrs. Montuori. I asked her to write down her reflections of allowing students to choose between a traditional written response, making a silent movie with the video cameras on their cellphones, goanimate.com or a poster, this is what she had to say...

Thanks Mrs. Montuori! I hope this will inspire more of you.

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Junior honors English students read "Bartleby the Scrivener: A Story of Wall Street," by Herman Melville, and after discussing the basics, such as plot, characterization, symbolism, students were asked to explain the last line of the story, which is "Ah Bartleby! Ah Humanity!" Usually, I have students generate a 250+-word written response but wanted to try something different (plus, it was due the Friday before April vacation...), so I gave the kids four options. These were:
  • traditional written response
  • silent movie (made with cellphones)
  • visual interpretation / poster
  • goanimate.com cartoons
One student completed a traditional written response; two worked together on a silent movie; three worked together on a visual interpretation / poster; and then three groups (three students/group) generated goanimate.com cartoons. The assignment was the same for all: Explain the last line of the story. The evaluation was the same for all as well: creativity, insight/depth of thought, and effort. I loved the final products--funny, clever, thought-provoking, very entertaining--and I think the kids enjoyed having choices. I highly recommend goanimate.com--good stuff!

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