Kristie Kannaley
Dr. Dail
English 4414
17 November 2010
Digital Case Study Statement of Intent
When I began my internship with my sixth grade classes, I was surprised by the eagerness of the students to participate in classroom activities and respond to class discussions. After all, my experiences thus far have included awkward observations of teachers waiting for the silent students to become uncomfortable enough to raise their hands and break the silence. Honestly, one of the most rewarding parts of my internship was the students’ ability to reenergize my teaching and keep me thinking in ways I had not considered beforehand. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to create my own unit based off of any concepts I wanted to teach. My collaborating teacher only required that I plan my lessons within the boundaries of the sixth grade standards. Overall, I struggled more with classroom management, specifically with students speaking out of turn, than with any other elements of teaching.
Firstly, I decided to begin my digital case study by introducing the actual curriculum I taught and the instructional strategies I used to reach the students. This part of the video is crucial because it gives reasoning behind the students’ excited behavior. Since I was teaching mood and tone, I decided to use many different types of texts to help the students understand the concepts. We watched video clips, listened to music, examined photos, and read excerpts from pieces of literature. I chose to format my case study in a way that displayed the different types of texts we examined in class.
Although many of the slides seem random, we actually studied and discussed most of the pictures in terms of mood and tone. Specifically, my digital case study shows pictures of books such as The Watsons go to Birmingham, 1963 and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. We read an excerpt from the first novel to examine how dialect can influence mood, and we read the second book to discuss how point of view can affect tone. Additionally, I showed pictures and paired them with musical selections to show the students how music can completely change the mood of a movie or video clip. We listened to music from Jaws and Star Wars paired with pictures of Dora the Explorer and Barbie. Furthermore, we two watched different movie trailers for Mary Poppins, which is part of the reason that I include the song “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.” Not only is the song relevant to the topics we discussed in the class, but it is also reflective of how I thought I would have wanted the classes to proceed. The song has a very light-hearted, yet calm mood to it, and I wanted the students to approach the material in a similar fashion. However, as I mentioned in my introduction, I was taken aback by the uncontrollable excitement of the students.
After introducing the topics we covered, I switch the music to “Bird is the Word” to represent the somewhat chaotic nature of the class. “Bird is the Word” is one of their favorite songs, and the students sing it randomly throughout the day. It fits nicely with my project because it is a wild, repetitive, and somewhat obnoxious tune. Of course, the students were not literally obnoxious, but they were very chatty. However, they were not chatting in small groups about irrelevant issues. In fact, the class did a fantastic job of staying attentive to the lesson. The main classroom management issue that I had to handle was the constant calling out. The multi-media activities made the students very excited, especially when they recognized the songs or pictures. They were eager to respond to my questions and to share what they thought with the rest of the class. Although I truly enjoyed having such an enthusiastic class, I struggled to get them to take turns speaking and to listen to their classmates. The pictures I chose for this section of the case study are reflective of the difficulty I had controlling the class. The pictures of the lips and of children talking represent how all of the students wanted to speak at the same time. The pictures of the man drinking coffee and the crazy smilie represent how I felt in the situation as I was trying to keep the students focused. Additionally, I chose to flash the words “hyper,” “loud,” and “crazy” between the pictures to give the viewer a better understanding of the setting I was trying to create in my video. Furthermore, I increase the speed of the picture changes from the original speed in the video to evoke a sense of urgency in the viewer.
After presenting the content and the classroom management issue, I use text to explain how I handled the situation. I explain that I told the students to “stay with me” and use a picture of a sun to represent the positive connotations of the word choices. Also, I show a picture of a Monopoly police officer to represent how a more punitive choice of words may make the students feel. Another technique that worked for me was reminding the students that I could not hear their classmates speak. I show the pictures of animals being friends to represent how the students should respect their classmates and friends. After that, I use text to explain that these strategies worked, but only temporarily. Then, I show the same pictures (such as the mouth and the children talking) to indicate that the students went back to being chatty several minutes after I had managed to calm them down.
At the end of the video, I reflect upon how I could have altered this situation. I suggest (through actual text) that I only pay attention to students who have raised their hands in future circumstances. Once students catch on to this type of management, they will probably remember to raise their hands more often during the lesson. Additionally, I also take it into consideration that having students who are so excited about the lesson that they cannot contain themselves is not necessarily a terrible situation. My positive connotations throughout the digital story show how I am not deflated by my class’s enthusiasm. In fact, I even hint that perhaps I was wanting to maintain too strict of a classroom by expecting the students to always raise their hands. Overall, the main issue was that I did not want the students to talk over each other to try to answer my questions. Although I would have preferred that the students be a little more mindful of their classmates, I was also excited to have a class full of eager eleven-year-olds, hence how silly my video becomes near the end as I show blinking pictures of lips and a monster to represent how excited the students were to participate.