Thursday, April 28, 2016

iMovie, Poetry, Lit Class Mash Up

A colleague of mine, +Terry Guerin  recently gave her 9th grade students this assignment for literature class.


Using one of the poems in the packet, create an imovie visual/audio interpretation of it. Your film should be no more than 2 minutes long (preferably one minute). It may be a slideshow with music, it may have a voice speaking the poem while images float by, it may be an animation you create, it may include original music, paintings or drawings. You do not have to use the entire poem, you may use a portion of it. If you work better with a partner, you may work with someone but then you will create two presentations. Use the maker space to create a stop action animation? Ask anyone there for help with the imovie app OR consult the instructions on the app. On the day of the showing, please turn in an analysis of the poem (if you are working with someone, you will each write on one of the poems) and your inspiration for your film. Please include a description of the process, how you arrived at your work of art. 

I very much like the open ended nature of the assignment. I always like when students have real choice in how to attack a task. Here is one of my favorite videos and its accompanying explanation. Thanks to Jonah W. for allowing me to share his work here. 

He writes:

I chose to do “Do Not Go Gentle into The good Night” by Dylan Thomas. I chose this poem because it is full of imagery, poetic devices, and the words are very powerful. The poem is about how Dylan Thomas wants his father to fight death, and not allow it to take him. The poem speaks to me on a personal level because as my grandfather was sick, I watched him fight death, I watched him rage against the dying of the light, and I watched the night finally take him. In my imovie, I chose to include pictures of the sun setting, and night falling in. I chose these images because night is a common refrain throughout the poem. The concept of night is a powerful one, Thomas uses connotation to give night the greater meaning of death. When he says “Do not go gentle into that good night” Thomas is saying do not go gentle into death, but fight it. I also chose to put the image of soldiers throughout my imovie. I chose to put soldiers because Thomas talks about the different types of men that fight death. This concept made me think of how soldiers are fighting death when they are in battle. The poem also caused me to think of a candle. While it is burning, it is raging against the dying of the light, and when it goes out, it is going gently into that good night. Overall, “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night” speaks to me in both a poetic and personal way, achieving powerful imagery and an even more powerful meaning, Do Not Go Gentle is truly an epic poem.

Built into this assignment is metaphor, imagery, and voice. I sat in on this class as they presented their films. A tech-skeptical teacher was blown away by both the quality and thoughtfulness of these videos. I've said all year that tech done well let's us build upon what we already do so well. So many teachers view tech as a sterile, Skinnerian learning box add on that will rob humanities classes of the essential way of being that makes a good humanities class. I've suggested that just the opposite is true, that it can enhance what we already do.  I love this assignment and I love the fact that my colleague took a big risk. I love it even more that the risk paid off. 

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