Monday, March 15, 2010

Today in St Anthony's Academy

Model making and painting

Pie...for Pi Day

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Highlights of this week

The Epic of Gilgamesh

The Importance of Being Earnest ~ Wilde's play and the 1952 and 2002 movie versions.

First French Lessons

Computer Games ~ Open University

The Screwtape Letters

Fathers of the Church Lenten Reading Plan

Homeschool Teen Group

Mass for the start of Term 1 at Campion College

Late lunch at the Coffee Club, after serving at a funeral.

Weekly Mass and Novena to St Anthony

Installation mass for Bishop Anthony Fisher op

Stations of the Cross

Youth Group ~ CorYouth

The Giver by Lois Lowry ~ Writing Memories

Kumon Maths

Making Welsh Rarebit for the feast of St David..and Pasta and Garlic Bread for today, the feast day, of some of the Franciscan patron saints for the year ( Thomas, Alexander and Luke's saints-from-the-basket-on-the-Epiphany)

And many other things...including chores, work at Kumon, volunteer work, games and music..but no time this week for Latin or piano lessons. Sigh.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Movies and Media Literacy

This week, February 15, we are watching movies and initiating discussion on film as text.

What film?

The Dr Who special



The Cardinal

What discussion?

Be Your Own Film Critic discussion questions ~

Image—What We See

In what spaces or locations did the filmmaker choose to shoot the scenes? (indoor, outdoor, daytime, nighttime, real life building, stage set...)
What objects or staging elements help to tell the story? (props, costumes, wardrobe, backgrounds, furnishings, special effects, models or miniatures...)
What moves during the clip? (actors, props, background, lighting, the camera...)
The clip was screened on a flat television screen but appears to have depth? Why?(placement of foreground and background elements, relative size and brightness of objects, focus changing from one part of the picture to another...)
How would you describe the lighting in the clip? (bright, dark, shadowy, changing, colorful, muted, gloomy, realistic, other-worldly...)
Why are some characters seen in close-up more often than others? What does camera framing tell us about the characters? (close-ups and/or prominent placement in foreground denotes importance, wide shots give "geography" of scene, low angles suggest a threat...)

Sound—What We Hear

How many separate types of sound appear in the clip? What are they? (dialogue, music, sound effects, natural sounds...) How many are heard at one time?
How would you describe the sound of this clip? (bright, dark, lively, solemn, rich, sparse, harmonious, dissonant . . .)
If you close your eyes and listen to the clip can you describe what's going on?
How did the filmmaker use microphones and sound equipment creatively? (using a variety of musical instruments, distortions, rising or falling volume, combinations of sounds, use of silence...)
How do the different elements work together to create a sound atmosphere? (one sound louder than another, off-screen sounds, musical moods, dramatic emphasis, sound traveling from one speaker to the other...)

Organization—How It's Put Together

How many times do the pictures change in the clip? What kinds of techniques does the filmmaker use to make the changes? (fade to black, dissolves, special effects, revealing detail, action continuing from one picture to another . . .)
How did time pass in the clip? (time was expanded or compressed, real "clock" time, slowly, in a rush...)
How would you describe the rhythm and pacing of the clip? (fast, slow, changing, building, descending, soothing, discordant...)
How did the filmmaker build suspense and interest in the story? (music, locations, tempo, dialogue, character and story development...)
Did the filmmaker put the pictures and sound in a logical order to tell the story? (sequence, timing, balance, believability...)

Expressive—How We Feel

What feelings did you experience while watching this clip? What elements contributed the most to these feelings?
Do you think people act in real life the way they do in the film? (stereotyping, realism...)
What kind of people might react negatively to this clip? What kind of people might react positively to it? Why? (women, minorities, certain nationalities...)
What might have influenced the filmmaker in making this film (personal experience, ethnic origin or nationality, political point of view...)
If you were to make a film on a similar subject or story, what would you do differently? What would you do the same?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Looking at art and at picture books this week.

A monthly art theme - explanation here.

A picture book is a story told in words and pictures. Each makes an important contribution to the way the story is told, the meaning created.

A picture is not the same as an illustrated story: there the words alone could tell the story and the illustrations simply break up the words or decorate the text...In the best picture books, the illustrations are absolutely necessary. They carry parts of the story or narrative and in some cases the language is dropped and the pictures alone are all that is needed.
Libby Gleeson. Making Picture Books, 2003. p. 2

Monday, February 1, 2010

Studying the novel and TV series

The novel Cranford by Elizabth Gaskell and the ( reasonably recent) TV series.

Is the town of Cranford a glimpse of Utopia..St Thomas More's idea of everyone living and working together, of community..Modeled on Plato's Republic, written in Latin, finished and published in 1516, it describes an imaginary land, purged of the ostentation, greed, and violence of the English and European scenes that More surveyed. Did More write this tongue-in-cheek? Did Gaskell?

Or is Cranford a statement on women's roles, at that time?

In the first place, Cranford is in possession of the Amazons; all the holders of houses above a certain rent are women. If a married couple come to settle in the town, somehow the gentleman disappears; he is either fairly frightened to death by being the only man in the Cranford evening parties, or he is accounted for by being with his regiment, his ship, or closely engaged in business all the week in the great neighbouring commercial town of Drumble, distant only twenty miles on a railroad. In short, whatever does become of the gentlemen, they are not at Cranford. What could they do if they were there?

This week, we are also looking at The Giver by Lois Lowry - is Josh's society meant to be Utopia, yet ends up being a dystopian society, full of horror...who has the right to say whether a child will live?

Using literature as a model text for student writing is widely regarded as a sound strategy for engaging students, both as readers and as writers. This practice is especially effective when the connection between model text and student writing is reflexive, as in the case of The Giver, in which storytelling and memories are central to understanding and appreciating the literature. Students should be led to understand, as Jeffery Wilhelm notes in You Gotta BE the Book: Teaching Engaged and Reflective Reading with Adolescents, that storytelling is "a primary way of knowing and organizing our personal knowledge of ourselves and the world. Storying defines humanity, makes us human, empowers us in being who we are, and makes it possible for us to conceive of being more than we are" (52-53). Reading stories about memories and storytelling while writing such stories themselves, students build literacy skills and gain an appreciation of the importance of narrative and history in their lives.

And then there is The Catcher in the Rye - author J.D. Salinger passed away this week. "I almost always write about very young people"

Wednesday, January 27, 2010