Sunday, February 26, 2012

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Screenwriting...for third graders??

"Screenwriting for Third Graders" is the title of an essay on The Hollywood Reporter's web site. It tells of some Hollywood types going into a needy elementary school in the area to help students understand what they do. I really am fond of this idea, because first, kids love the movies, and secondly, all media (including film) start out as writing. (Too bad you won't find that fact in any English Language Arts textbook.)   I can't think of a better way to engage this audience than to show them actual screenplays and explore the codes and conventions in them.

Film is one of those "new literacies" that many teachers are still (even today) discovering.

If you're not already aware of it, I have developed a web page entitled
"Scriptwriting In The Classroom" which offers ideas, suggestions and resources.

So, for all the teachers trying to engage students in digital storytelling, book trailer production and more, please checkout
my page.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Teaching Critical Thinking With The Movies

Ok, the Super Bowl game is history and the buzz about the commercials is finally dying down.  What’s next?   The Academy Awards. (Read more here)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Youth, media and complacency about piracy

Young people want their music, TV and movies now — even if it means they get these things illegally. A recent Columbia University survey found, in fact, that 70 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said they had bought, copied or downloaded unauthorized music, TV shows or movies, compared with 46 percent of all adults who'd done the same. Wth such an entrenched attitude, what can be done about widespread online piracy?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Political Campaign Ads: A Prescription to Lie?

I was recently interviewed by a columnist with a Ft Myers (FL) newspaper. We got around to talking about the political season, since the Florida primary was right around the corner. Teachers may be interested in my webpage on the role of media in politics--which primarily recommends teachers consider using the politicians 30-second-ads in instruction. This is also the topic of a book I authored.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

2012 NCTE Media Literacy Award Call for Entries

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) invites educators who teach media literacy to consider applying for this national award.

The deadline is June 30, 2012. The Beck Foundation has underwritten the $2,000 prize.

The winner(s) will be recognized during a ceremony at the NCTE 2012 national conference in Las Vegas.

Details available at:

Friday, February 3, 2012

Using Super Bowl Ads In The Classroom

ELA teachers know that using these commercials  with students is a great way not only to teach techniques of persuasion (propaganda) but also the techniques of production (non-print, media creation techniques).