Real ⇄ Fake

“Storytelling is what engages us, not facts and figures.”

YES! YES! YES!

This is why I encourage you, students,  to add good discussion questions and your own opinions and experiences into your weekly portfolio pages.

There’s a lot to talk about in this video, including “fake news” and what we believe on the internet … the importance of citing your sources … the difference between fact and fiction. And the motivation behind video editing (or news media decisions). Is it to manipulate the audience?

And BRD students, the correct answer to “Where did you find that information?” is NOT “The internet.” Can you explain why?

Another discussion question: What do you like and dislike about nature documentaries?


I’m taking a break from posting on this Topics site for Golden Week. I’ll be back with more topics on Monday, May 8th, but there are lots of topics in the archives if you’re looking for English input.


☀️ ENJOY YOUR GOLDEN WEEK ☀️

Teachable moments

This article from Education Week has a list of ten “teachable moments” from the first Harry Potter book, which was published 20 years ago. (Wow.) They include:

Breaking the rules is sometimes necessary.

Having rules to break is also necessary.

Learning happens everywhere, we just have to take the time to notice.

Two things you could try with this topic:

  • Find video clips from the movies to add to each (or some)  of the things on the list and explain what’s happending in the video (summary).
  • Go back and read that book or another in the series — or a completely different story or movie — and find your own “teachable moments”

Example:

Here’s a video clip that illustrates part of the first teachable moment and an explanation of what’s happnening:

We don’t choose familial situations, but we can choose to make the most of what we are given.”

Summary:

This is at the beginning of the movie, where we discover what kind of living situation Harry is in. He’s made to sleep in the broom closet and he’s given clothes that don’t fit him. Dudley is his “brother” figure, but he’s a selfish brat. On his birthday, he complains about not getting enough presents, even though the living room is full of them. His parents spoil him and are mean to Harry. We can see from Harry’s expressions how he feels about all this, but he doesn’t do anything to show his anger and frustration.

Friend or foe?

Brain Pickings, one of my favorite places to find interesting things to read and think about, introduces a children’s book called “Friend or Foe?”

It’s an allegory with a not-so-hidden message about “otherness” — how we see people who are different, as enemies or friends. This Brain Pickings post is also a great example of how you can introduce a book to your classmates: with lots of pictures and selective quotes. Like this:

quote-1

quote-2

Whether or not you add a SPOILER ALERT (in this case, what the answer to the “Friend or Foe?” question is, which is NOT revealed in this post), is up to you.

Writing prompt: After reading the description of the story, what do you think the answer to the question is?

Short of the Week

The Academy Awards are this weekend. One of the awards that doesn’t get as much media attention is Animated Short Film. These are the nominees this year, one of which I posted about in October.

Short of the Week is a collection of short films — from very short (2 or 3 minutes) to a bit longer (45 minutes or so).

Short of the weekIn the About page they say,

“We believe in the power of stories. Stories were our first way of passing on knowledge. From tales around a cave fire to dramatic theater to virtual reality experiences, great stories have shaped our culture.”

You can browse in several ways, including the channels (Animation, SciFi, Horror, Documentary, Comedy, Drama), by genre, topic and style (see below) and also by country and collection.

Short of the Week

Some of the shorts I have watched and thought were ripe for contemplation and discussion — and one was just plain charming:

“3 + 1” (in French with English subtitles) — Comedy

“Rosa: These Storms” (in Spanish with English subtitles) — Documentary

“Eggplant” — Drama

Here is an interview with the creators of the site: “Andrew S. Allen and Jason Sondhi on the Relaunch of Short of the Week” (from Filmmaker)

Another related article: “Why Short Films Are Still Thriving” (from the Atlantic)