Despite the fact that I haven’t been blogging much, summer is a “high traffic” time for my blog because of all the teachers visiting from Pinterest, etc. If you happen to be one of them, WELCOME! Kudos to you for being so productive on your summer break — I’ve been watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix and playing Pokemon Go (just kidding – well, about the Pokemon at least). Really though, I’m so glad you’re here! I hope you will check out my About page to learn more about me/my job/ this blog and spend some time browsing the Teaching tab for all the resources I’ve got. But, before you do that, I thought I’d share a quick activity today that is a hit with my students every year and could be adapted for an ELA class at just about any grade level…
You may not know this, but Youtube is FULL of movie trailers (previews) for popular films that have been re-cut to have an entirely different feel to them. For example, Mrs. Doubtfire cut as a horror film or Jaws as a Disney movie for kids. The (super talented) creators basically took exact scenes from the real movie and spliced them + added special effects and music to change them. It’s pretty fascinating really. If you have an hour or so to waste ;), search re-cut trailers on Youtube, or Google for lists. (As always, make sure you pre-screen before showing anything to your class!)
I use a lot of trailers in my classes already (almost always before introducing a novel that has been made into a movie), and my students always enjoy them, but this totally catches them off guard. Basically, I show two trailers of movies I’m *hoping* they haven’t ever seen – I use The Shining recut as a “feel good” family movie and Sleepless in Seattle as a horror movie. After we watch each one, I have them write in their journals – or just talk with their table/the class – about what they think the movie will be about, what kind of audience it appeals to, how it made them feel, etc. THEN, I show them the real trailer, and we discuss how and why they felt so different from each other. (Note: It’s important to show both recut trailers – or however many total you want to use – before showing the real ones as it “spoils it” if they already know what’s going on.) Finally, I talk about the fact that while movies and television can rely on things like lighting, music, etc., to create a mood, literature relies on descriptive language and details to do that instead. (I typically have to provide a definition of “mood” and go over how it differs from “tone” etc. as well)
From there, we jump to the book we are reading – in my case, Lord of the Flies – and look at some examples of the author creating different moods with his words. As a culminating activity, I have students re-write one of the passages that we read from the novel to give it a different mood and ask volunteers to share what they wrote with the class. (You can access my handout here: Mood in Lord of the Flies)
As I mentioned, I usually do this lesson towards the middle of my Lord of the Flies unit, but it can easily be adapted for any novel or short story study. You could expand it by watching more trailers, looking at more passages, or having students write a longer more in-depth passage of their own, but I typically do two trailers, two passages, and about a five-minute quick write. The whole lesson takes no more than 45 minutes – perfect for a “mini lesson” – and has been very successful in helping students understand how to look for places the author creates mood in his/her writing and remember the term/concept in later works.
I hope this was helpful and gives you some ideas for implementation in your own classroom!
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P.S. If you’re already thinking about how to make next year the BEST year ever, may I suggest Teach 4 the Heart’s FREE Classroom Management Live Training? It will be this coming Monday (7/25) at 8:45PM EST AND/OR Wednesday (7/27) at 2:30PM EST if you’re busy watching The Bachelorette on Monday ;). Linda has some AWESOME ideas and perspectives on classroom management and her courses are very well done! Whether you are a first year teacher or a veteran looking for a refresher, you don’t want to miss this! (Sign-up HERE, and see her S&S guest post on being a mentor instead of a friend for a little preview here.)