When It All Comes Together…

Synchrony.  We’ve all seen it as educators.  Oftentimes, it is the “Aha!” moment when a particular concept clicks with a student.  Increasingly, though, I find that moment occurring in my classroom when students are able to make connections among texts – and between various types of media.  Perhaps that’s the result of our students’ increasingly connected world today, or perhaps it’s a result of our ability to increasingly bring a variety of types of media into the classroom.

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Today, that synchronous moment stemmed from a Google+ discussion that asked students to consider the interrelationship of Huckleberry Finn, Jane Smiley’s article from Harpers, “Say It Ain’t So, Huck,” and two recent video clips: Richard Sherman’s response to being called a thug after the Seattle Seahawk’s win against the San Francisco 49ers, and the Saturday Night Live clip, “28 Reasons,” spoofing Black History Month.   I’ve shared two groups’ responses to the SNL clip through the lens of Smiley’s argument.

What arises from these types of moments, where texts gain meaning from one another, is insight into our culture at large.  Moreover, these types of synchronous moments allow students to see the value of these canonical texts in their lives.  And, perhaps most importantly, these synchronous moments allow students to navigate the media landscape that composes their lives… all while addressing CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.6 Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness or beauty of the text.

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