Engaging reading responses from students

It is very close to the end of term. Reports have been written and for two weeks teachers have been trying to engage boys in their responses to reading without marks being an incentive. Yes, there are plenty of arguments about engaging tasks should be the norm and marks only a small part of the learning process in general, and then as a guide.

I have been doing some work with year 7 students in the last week or so. We have been working on some Facebook mock-ups for their literature circle book characters. (Information about what we do is on my wiki here.) There have also been some year 8 students creating some book trailers  as their last response to their crime fiction genre study. (Information here. ) We thought that this was a good time to introduce and discuss the use of Creative Commons images/sound and Fair Use in general. (List of sites we used here) The boys are all interested in the concept and are happy to follow the guidelines about what is fair and reasonable. They are still learning and did not always get it right but they are onside with it and want to do the right thing.

The final products are coming in. There were some great Facebook pages created for their fictional characters. The character profiles and conversations between friends were fantastic to read. I enjoyed the “voices” they used, the pictures they chose and the comments they made. I will put some of the example into the wiki.

In preparation for working with these groups I have been looking at lots of images, hearing lots of sound/music and looking at examples of interesting videos. The boys can be quite adept at discussing what works and what is less succesful in a video.  Some boys did not understand the concept of a book trailer until we talked about them in terms of film trailers and The Gruen Transfer (ABC) was also a good resource as it discussed advertising. There are some good examples of the advertisements they created for different shows by found by simply looking for “Gruen Transfer” on YouTube.

Lastly from mashable there was a post about the following video entitled Starry Night – Vincent van Dominogh. Recreating Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night” from just over 7,000 dominos. I know it is not a crime trailer but it was amazing and certainly held attention.

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