Friday, June 15, 2007

Freshmen Projects

A couple of our teachers just posted some end-of-semester projects over on Learning and Laptops. Brad posted a couple of projects on the topic of the Cold War, including one that made excellent use of PowerPoint.

Anne then posted nine projects examining the question: What does literature say about us as human beings? She likes them all, but particularly recommends "Experiences."

As always, constructive criticism is welcome (on the particular blog post, please). Since I usually get asked, these are freshmen students (that's 14 or 15 years old for those of you outside of the U.S.).

1 comment:

  1. To Anne and the students who synthesized their experience of literature and media in "Experiences":
    So many marvelous images that are so well-selected to build your message! You do such a thorough job of showing me how all these pieces of literature ----and Jean-Jacques Rousseau (by the way, he'd have pronounced his middle name "ZJahk" - one syllable) share common themes. What a huge endeavor to pull so many examples together, find commonalities (and nuanced differences), generating your OWN commentary on the human condition, with connections in your own lives. I wonder if you will ever read a piece of literature or a newspaper story again without starting to connect it in some way to what you have said here. I can hear you questioning what a new story means in terms of this framework-- and mentally revising this framework as your experience broadens. And will you write some stories or poems of your own, out of your own experiences? I hope so.

    A bit of criticism, because everyone can get better:
    There are times when I wish the words and images could co-exist more and share the screen/audio track less obtrusively. In other places, your presentation is seamless. Where you change from photographs to geometric background, I am startled a bit. When you put more than one or two lines of text on the screen, I am frustrated. When you read to me, I am offended. You pictures tell the story for me. If you are going to narrate (which you really need to do to underscore your meaning and make sure your audience gets the full message you have crafted), let pieces of text tell the story-- and animate them so I am not inundated with more than one at a time. You do not bury me with photomontages. You let me savor each image alone. Please let me do that with the texts, as well. Even though this is English class, I don't think you have to use complete sentences on screen. What are the words I MUST see to hear the common threads?
    Your narrator had a gigantic job--and I think it tired her in places. Maybe you could have taken turns to add expression and variety---but that is being very picky on my part.

    I hope you are able to build on this kind of experience by making more and experimenting with ways to tell your story in the next three years before you graduate. You will leave your teachers with examples that will challenge others to find their own visual motifs and individual messages. Maybe that can be part of your story. I hope you thanked your teacher for setting you free to learn.

    I thank you for letting me share in it.

    - Another teacher, reader, humanities-type in another state in hte U.S.