Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Political Parodies

Kristin, I have followed your lead using movies in English. In thinking about The Canterbury Tales and what I wanted my students to gain from it, satire and societal commentary were two topics of importance. I visited with Karl throwing around ideas related to a Code of Conduct students could create using various orders of knights for their structure. This seemed to be an ok plan, but it still was quite clear in my head.

Bouncing ideas off of Lauren, she too agreed what was important to her was Chaucer's satirical comedy and the cultural observations he made. We wondered how we could assess this in a new format, but was not certain the movie element would work. We worried that students would create Saturday Night Live-style parodies instead of satire in its truest form where it is often hard to find the humor unless you know the background, the politics, etc. It uses its original form to create a serious product.

An idea then came: using the political ads as our foundation, students could take a pilgrim and bring them into the 21st century. They could research political propaganda, a certain office, and infuse Chaucer's details about the pilgrim: physical features, habits, vices and virtues into the advertisement. We both loved the idea. Lauren thought that students could work in small groups to create 3 ads that respond to eachother, all running for the same office. We want the students to look at the various classes and know which pilgrim fits into where in our money-driven society.

I created the first video; I feel it worked well using Windows Media Player. I don't even have a microphone and my little ThinkPad picked up the music and the voice quite well. I know the students will take my example and create even more powerful pieces.

What I liked about using technology was not that I'm using it, but thinking about objectives for teaching this piece of literature, assessments that seem to capture not only one or two aspects of the literature, but many key criteria. And, I know for job interviews and applications, the question is always asked what computer software, programs, etc. do you know? Students will now have another piece to add, plus a sincere understanding of satire.



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