Skip to main content

Theme Analysis with Powtoon

A few weeks ago I received an email from a parent.  She said that she and her child were struggling with adapting to all of the technology being used at school.  I had to laugh!  Believe me, I totally understand.  I got through college with an electric typewriter!  When I first started teaching twenty-three years ago, there wasn't a computer on campus for teachers to use, we did not have voice mail, and grades were kept in a binder for the teacher,  not the students!  Boy have times changed!  I am constantly learning about new ways to enhance the classroom experience and facilitate learning for my students.  I don't want to get left in the dust!  

 Here are a few things I've tried this year:

1) website allows students to both practice and take quizzes on both grammar and punctuation.  Students can personalize their interests, which means that the sentences they may contain their best friend's or favorite sports player's name.  It also provides instant feedback, as well as an explanation of each missed question!

2)  Class Dojo-I started using this this week.  Each student has a cute little monster with their name under it.  I project all of the monsters onto the big screen.  When a student is  on task or doing something positive, I can click on his other monster on my ipad.  Their monster will then pop up on the screen with a positive comment from me! The kids love it!  It also allows me to randomly select students to participate or answer a question with just a click of  a button!
My Little Monsters

3) submit most writing assignments and projects to this site. It allows me to make numerous comments on their work, use rubrics I create to score their work, and I can even leave voice comments on their work.  It also saves paper.

4)  Powtoon-Students can create digital, animated presentations on this site.  The presentations look VERY professional.  It allows students to do much more than they could do on a Google Presentation.  Some of the characters are even animated!
Learning to use Powtoon

Collaborating in our Beautiful Media Center

Working on Theme Analysis Powtoon

This week we are using Powtoon to create a theme analysis presentation of Monsters on Maple Street.  Before beginning the project, students had to create a theme statement (basically a thesis) about the teleplay.  We discussed using eloquent, sophisticated language in their statements and really trying to come up with something original.  They then had to find quotes from the text to support their theme statement.  Finally, they provided the context and analysis for each quote.

After that, they were instructed to create a Powtoon which will be shared with the class.  They seemed to really enjoy it, and they put a great deal of effort and thought into choosing and analyzing their quotes.

Finding Textual Evidence in Monsters are Due on Maple Street

Coming up with a Theme Statement

Being Silly 

Love these kids!

Popular posts from this blog

Bottle Flipping

Last week someone posted article on Facebook about the newest trend with middle schoolers-bottle flipping.  If you haven't heard of it, you probably don't teach middle school or have a child in middle school! Consider  yourself lucky! If you know about it, then you also know it's annoying as heck.  Kids (usually boys), toss a partially filled water bottle into the air so that it flips in midair.  The goal is to have the bottle land upright.  This year I have had to ask several students to put their water bottles away because they wanted to flip them.  I know,  I'm mean!  

After reading the Facebook article I thought, "Hey!  I bet I can incorporate this into a lesson somehow."  Using my Oreo lesson as a model, that's just what I did.  First, I found two different articles about bottle flipping.  I went through both looking for key vocabulary words.  I then typed out the sentences with the words and created an activity where students had to guess the definit…

Oreos in China and Read 180

A few years ago I read an article about what happened when Kraft introduced the Oreo to the Chinese in 1996.  It was not a success.  The Chinese thought the filling was too sweet-the cookie too bitter.  Kraft almost pulled the beloved cookie off the shelves. Instead, they began a quest to find out how to make the Oreo appeal to the Chinese. Enter the green tea Oreo, the mango Oreo, and an Oreo in the shape of a straw (not sure that still qualifies as an Oreo).  The revamped Oreos were a huge success! I found the article fascinating and decided to design a lesson around  it to share with my students.

First I showed them a news clip from CNN about the topic. Then, I taught them a few vocabulary words that appear in the article using Kate Kinsella's method.  Next, we read the article together and marked the text. I did a think aloud as I read aloud to them.  After that, students created a T-Chart listing the ten most important words in the text, as well as five main ideas from the tex…

Making Comments on Student Writing Meaningful

As any English teacher knows, we spend countless hours grading and commenting on student work.  What I realized after a few years of teaching was that many students did not read my comments at all; they just looked at their grade. Some didn't even look at the rubric!   However, many students valued my feedback and relished every comment.  I felt as though I was wasting my time on more than half of the essays.   As evident from the next essay the students wrote, the majority of the students did not heed the advice I gave in the previous essay.  I came up with a solution!  Using Google Forms, I created a detailed survey for my students to fill out about the comments they received on their writing.  I will include pictures of various questions and answers.  Better yet, I told them that all responses would be read and a graded  for the thoughtfulness.  I had a sub that day, so I created a link to the form in my daily blog post for my class!  SO easy!  Students were forced to go back t…