Friday, November 25, 2011

Thoughts on Curriculum 21

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with a colleague about planning a new English course for our seniors--one that would prepare them for "21st century" college reading, writing, and analytical assignments.  We discussed the importance of media literacy and how our students, because of our more traditional program, rarely read and write texts that are relevant today.  Some of our teachers, upon hearing this idea, resisted.  Why should they analyze film, television, or YouTube videos?  What would teachers have to give up...Hamlet?  Perhaps.  Or perhaps not--maybe students could re-envision Hamlet through a video and audio mashup of scenes from different versions.  That's just one idea.

Upon reading Jacobs' Curriculum 21 I realized there's another layer we should add into this sort of course, and into all of our writing courses--documentaries.  I can just imagine our seventh graders writing the script to a documentary about a research topic of their choice.  I can hear their well crafted, voice-overs and imagine the time they'd take to select the music to accompany the images.  There's so much to teach in this sort of unit of study--as soon as I finish collaborating with my tech integration specialist, I'm on to my media literacy specialist to help me plan a documentary-writing unit for middle school students.

Then what?  VODcasts, leaving comments on authors' blogs, multi-school poetry slam via skype...

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