Hi friends! This blog is for teachers and families- all for the sheer joy of literacy. When we are enthusiastic about reading and writing our students and our own kids become excited to read and write. I hope that we all can be models for those in our care- how did you show your passion for reading, writing, learning, language, or words today?? It's in those small, daily moments that we teach kids to love literacy.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

60 Second Recap + Teaching Comprehension Idea

Have you all heard of 60 Second Recap? I just added the link to the The Reading Teacher page of this blog. It's a website for middle school/high school ELA teachers and students with Cliffnotes/Sparknotes-style videos. The video recaps are all a minute and are on novels that we would all recognize as required middle/high school reading. (The lame thing is that you have to watch a commercial before you get to see the recap- but I guess we'll all used to that by now.)

I first heard about 60 Second Recap a couple of weeks ago on NPR. Of course, there were a handful of NPR listeners that were up and arms about the 60-second video summaries. And yes, I see how it can be a bit demoralizing to us teachers that love reading and want our students to share this passion for books. BUT I think there is a way to use this site to encourage reading and reading comprehension.

As I was showing my husband, a high school English teacher, the link, and he said, "I would show my kids a video, then I'd have them create their own." So simple, and such a great idea. I know my students comprehend more when they look back into a text and rehash what happened in their own words (don't we all?) - that's why discussion and reading responses are so essential to comprehension.

I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that we all have an smart phone, Flip, or some sort of video recording devise accessible. Go show your students a sample video or three, and create an assignment where they make their own video in a small group of 2-4 students.

Your students could create different types of videos. A few groups could do plot, a few others could do characters, and a couple other groups could concentrate on theme. And BAM! After your students watch their classmates videos and make a video themselves- they will definitely internalize and comprehend the book more thoroughly.

These video recaps can be used in other ways:
  • Scaffolding learning for struggling readers
  • Building your student's background knowledge before your students read the novel
  • A way to introduce the themes you want to focus on during the book- then have the students look for places where the named theme presents itself
  • A primer for you, the teacher, before you teach the book! (I know I needed a little help when I was required to teach Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart to 7th Graders!)
Let me know your thoughts about 60 Second Recap. Does the thought of it offend you? Or do you see yourself using this resource in the classroom?

Be Well! Read On!

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