Opening eyes…

Every so often you come across something new. It opens your eyes to a culture or world that you have little experience or understanding of. At the same time  it can fit with issues you have been thinking about and open your mind to new possibilities. Sounds very dramatic… I will explain.

My Sky+HD box has a service called Sky Anytime which automatically records what it describes as unmissable TV to watch anytime that I desire. While browsing the selection I came across a film called The Full Monteverdi which uses Renaissance vocal music to create a contemporary drama.  The film is sung throughout and the only other audio that can be heard is background noise from the setting (a restaurant). It’s an exceptionally powerful piece of film which is very moving to watch. I found a short segment of the production on YouTube and have included it at the top of this post. I didn’t have the privilege of subtitles when watching but I really don’t think they are needed as the the meaning is fundamentally created through the modes of gesture and sound (not necessarily language). It’s a really interesting text and I would really love to use it (or something similar) with upper KS2 when considering the  affordancesof different modes within a meaning making system.

This film opened my eyes to a whole new world of music and film… it makes me wonder what else is out there and what I am missing out on.

The Full Monteverdi

Finding a cliff by the sea

Thank you to everybody who sent really great feedback about the Brer Rabbit critical literacy project I really appreciate it. I’ve also heard that it was being talked about at the Decatur Book Festival after The Wren’s Nest (the birth place museum of Joel Chandler Harris in the USA) picked up on the project. All of this really helps raise the awareness of critical literacy with real-world texts.

As soon as the Brer Rabbit project was over I started to think about other big projects that I could build into our curriculum.  This blog post brings together some of my threads of thought for the new project.

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Fragments of time…

Now that I’m using Google’s operating system on my mobile phone I’ve decided to move all of my mail/contacts/calendars over to Google so that I can keep track of them on the move. While I’ve been dusting off the cobwebs of my old Google account I found a blog I set up in 2006 with one post about being at university. It’s a very surreal experience reading it back:

Ok so I’ve finally given into temptation and joined the world of blogging.

Sadly, I haven’t actually got much to ‘blog’ about at the moment. University ‘vacations’ are not that great… how it can be called a ‘vacation’ I don’t understand, considering the amout of work they actually give us to do. Dissertation research continues, some of the stuff I have to read is actually quite interesting but the sheer volume of literature I have to read makes the whole thing scary. I really miss school and the fact that I don’t have a proper teaching practice until next May doesn’t make things any better.

I do actually miss University… I want to get back into the swing of things. I want to actually start the 3rd year – the end of studying is near and hopefully this time next year I’ll be starting a teaching post somewhere… now that is scary. Doesn’t seem like yesterday that I was starting QE Sixth Form to do my A-Levels.

Obviously I got a teaching post and my huge interest in reading stuff about multiliteracies clearly started at this point  and led to me returning to study for an MA this year. But isn’t it strange how things change – my writing style, priorities and general outlook on life. I wonder what this blog will look like in three years time?

The one that started it all…

I’ve just noticed that Walt Disney’s Snow White is being re-released on DVD and Blu-Ray in November. I like to use this film in class when analysing multimodal texts. Some of the scenes are exceptionally powerful (and quite terrifying), in particular the transformation of the Evil Queen into the old peddler woman. It’s actually become very hard to get hold of on DVD as it was only released in 2001 for a limited time.

The film is also significant because it was the first-ever feature length animation… it will be interesting to see how it stands the test of time – especially with a blu-ray release.

Belated thanks…

Brer Rabbit

When I initially wrote the post about critical literacy and the Brer Rabbit stories I forgot to thank one person for their support with the project. My brother, Michael Waller, helped the children to recreate and re-imagine the Brer Rabbit characters and I think you’ll agree he did an excellent job. Having the children see their story worlds realised in such aprofessional and authentic way made the experience all the more special for them.

New horizons await…

It’s the last week of the summer holidays! I currently feel like the only teacher in the world who is looking forward to returning to work.  I’m very excited about what the new academic year will bring. Not only am I looking forward to working with Orange Class on the new Ratatouille and Cliff by the Sea projects (more info soon) but I’m also really excited about starting the new MA in New Literacies at the University of Sheffield in October. I’m not sure how I’m going to manage working as a teacher and studying at the same time but I am going to make sure I enjoy it.

I’ve also rejoined the gym today, after months of threatening, and hope that the extra activity will keep me more active both mentally and physically.

I also hope to continue to post regularly on this blog as the year progresses but as my workload increases it may become less frequent, especially with the imminent arrival of Ofsted.