A Blog Covering D.C. Education [ABCDE]

Closing the Teach For America Blogging Gap
Oct 23 2009

Why We Reread

Many of my students see no value in rereading.  A few weeks ago, we read Shirley Jackson’s short story, “The Lottery”.  When we announced that we would be reading this (brilliant and suspenseful) story, some students complained that they had already read the story and “knew the ending” (as if that was all that were important about reading a story!).  No matter how passionately I described that I had reread the story over and over again–and always found something new in it–they were not convinced that there would be any point in rereading the story.  What can a teacher do to teach the importance of rereading?

 I have one good mini-lesson idea for a way to convince students about (a) the importance of rereading and, concurrently, (b) the effect of reading with a purpose.  The following video is a minute-long awareness test (originally a bike safety PSA) that asks viewers to count the number of passes made by a basketball team.  As you will find out, because viewers are so focused on counting the number of passes, they generally fail to notice other things that occur in the video.  I’m vague for a reason.  You must watch the video.  Check it out here.

Now if that video didn’t catch you off guard, you’ve got a keen sense of awareness.  Anyways, this video seems to demonstrate a few things teachers should consider:

  • One’s understanding of a text will differ depending on what one is asked to do with it.
  • Rephrased, if one is asked to do many different things with a text, one will discover many different ideas about it.
  • Using audiovisual texts can dramatically increase the power of a message sent by teachers to students.

I don’t have a projector (in fact, I am without any effective resources; I have an old, dirty chalkboard and a half-working overhead projector, but no screen on which to project!) so I can’t show a clip like that in the classroom–yet.  I will, however, do what every other creative, resourceful teacher seems to be doing and set up a proposal on DonorsChoose.org.  I found out that the founder, Charles Best, went to my high school.  Maybe I’ll reach out directly to him.
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2 Responses

  1. emy

    I just love how you incorporate your passion of cycling into teaching ideas – very creative here. Hope your get all the proper equipment in your classroom very soon.

  2. MJL

    Ohh TFA moonwalking bear video … thank you for breaking up the monotony of online learning

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Really, "A Blog Covering Dilemmas in Education": A (former) English teacher's reflections…

D.C. Region
High School

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