Friday, November 21, 2014

Regent Park Film Festival, Carol Dweck, Media Literacy FF: To be Continued

This a panoramic shot inside the lovely theatre at the Regent Park Film Festival.  The class watched the documentary American Promise.  We arrived back to AMG quite late and I did not have to hand out the homework and explain the mini movie review they will do on the film.  On Monday, I will spend some time reviewing the film (probably by showing the trailer again) and have the students do this exercise as part of the morning routine.

In preparation for the film, I knew that some of the concepts brought up in the film might be knew for them.  So, I created a word wall of vocabulary related to topics that came up in the film.

Many of these concepts are sociological and I wanted to give the students a richer sense of who we are as people.  So, while concepts of Race and Class impact the two main characters of the film, there are other aspects of who are too.  In the following image, from a lesson,  I selected a variety of "Identity Wheels" from the Internet.  Each one is slightly different, but you can see that who we are is made up of many dimensions.

For a lot of students, and adults, when they may watch a film with a protagonist who is not White and see and understand that character as being Black.  A good film, or documentary, allows you to see the many dimensions of his or her character.  I believe the filmmakers in American Promise were successful with that.  We were able to see more dimensions to the characters of Idris and Shay than their "race."  Race is a huge component of the film, but it is not the only part and this is something I want the students to understand as we continue our discussions in class.

In the wheel that is at the bottom right of the image posted above, you may be able to make out attitude, motivation, or perception.  These are parts of our identity that are often overlooked and sometimes take a back seat to the more obvious and visible markers of skin colour, accent, where we work or live.  These markers are important parts of who we are and what moves us.

In relation to the movie, I am hoping the students were able to pick up on some of the attitudes, perceptions and motivations of the two main characters.  Based on the research of Standford Psychologist, Carol Dweck, I have used her research around "mindsets" to have the students do some thinking about how they may think about themselves and what may drive them.  Here is the chart of Mindsets, along with the questions:

The following page was taken from a TDSB publication on the Strength Based Resiliency Manual (to commence in 2015)
To assist them, I jotted off some ideas to show them how the questions might be answered.

The answer is not entirely complete, but I hope it gave them a starting point to think a little more on how they think.  This concepts is often new and challenging for them (and for a lot of people), but I think it is a valuable exercise.  I look forward to reading and commenting on those journals, this afternoon.

Earlier this week, some of the Grade 8s had the opportunity to visit Western Technical School                       ( ) and see some of the programs available there.  Here are a couple of photos I grabbed:

We have made some progress in getting deeper into our Media Literacy unit.  I used one of the ads I selected to help model for the class what they are expected to due on the "advertising tour" we will be doing in class.  I was pleased to see that the Grade 8s added some more observations to  the ad I selected.  Here is a screen shot.

The aim of this exercise involves the students picking up on and developing their understanding how how advertisements are constructed and adhere to a certain style to make them appealing to consumers.  

The Number Sense unit on Fractions came to a close last week.  I could have extended it into other important and crucial aspects of fractions, but I need to move on to a unit on Measurement.  Opportunities for Rewrites exist for failing grades.  I have to check some of the Rewrites submitted from students and see if some of them attempted to exercise elements of a Growth Mindset and worked hard to improve their grade.


- no formal homework was assigned (a Journal entry on the documentary will be handed our tomorrow)
- a non-graded paragraph (5 sentences) was handed out on Thursday to be completed by all of the students

enjoy your Sunday

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