Sunday, September 26, 2010

Composition filler help

Hey people, help me out ---- my first sequence was about education (or college). I'm about to get papers from them and on that day that I don't really have any readings due or whatnot, and while I could find something relevant and copy it and we could read it and analyze it in class, one of the other postdocs just suggested that I show them a video in class instead. Excellent. *tents fingers together evilly.* So, give me suggestions!

The next sequence I'm actually sticking to the crappy anthology, and using their whole "personal narrative" crap sequence. I am not going to let them write a personal narrative, since a) I don't like them b) I don't need to hear any more about the Bible than I absolutely have to and c) they are already pretty good at the genre of personal narrative and need work on actual analysis and argument. Instead I am having them compare and contrast personal narratives under the theme of "changes in identity" (or the evolution of one's identity). We'll see how that goes. I have very little hope that it will go well, but there it is.

What I would love are suggestions of video or film texts that can fit into a 1-hour period and somehow be a good conversation-starter for this sequence on "changes in identity." (Ideally I'd like something on why we read and write about personal narratives; yes that's really more of an article that I need to find but anything to help students conceptualize or complicate the idea of identity would be great.)

Any suggestions? One postdoc brought in an episode from Battlestar Galactica (a tv episode would be the perfect length), another has been showing Old Spice commercials for rhetorical analysis. What can you think of that I could bring in on the day their essay is due?

If you throw out enough suggestions I can just show movies the whole next month and actually get my job apps out --- whoo-hoo!

11 comments:

Sapience said...

The episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where Buffy is torn between two worlds--the world where she's the slayer but her family has been torn apart, and the world where her family exists but being a slayer is just the result of her psychotic mind. And she has to choose which world to live in. I think the episode might be Normal Again?

Tree of Knowledge said...

I was going to suggest clips from a Spalding Gray movie, but Sapience has a better idea. A lighter Buffy episode is the one where they all forget their identities due to a spell and then guess new identities based on how they wake up in proximity to each other and superficial details: Tabula Rasa.

Tree of Knowledge said...

You also do interesting things with reality tv shows. The Two Coreys comes to mind as about a show about evolving identities (and it not really working).

Wendy said...

Halloween is another good Buffy episode about identity. That's the one where they turn into their Halloween costumes because of Ethan Rayne.

Mike said...

Hi, Al Jolson's "Jazz SInger" is great, it deals with ethnoracial identity, whiteness, and religion. And I bet your students will be speechless when they see it! Also, they will really have to pay attention as there are zero special effects.

You can find clips of it on Youtube and the movie itself is about 80 minutes or something. I have tried it in a few classes and it really provokes conversation. A Jew wearing black face, a gentile face, and also a Jewish face. So many masks!

Bardiac said...

I'm 400 years behind... what is this movie thing you speak of?

I tend to do a proofreading exercise on days students turn in work. I take in a bag of sticky note pads, and have students exchange papers. Each reads another student's paper backwards, a sentence at a time. Anything the student notices gets a sticky with a little note.

When the student gets the paper back, s/he goes through, and either makes neat corrections, decides the sticky is wrong, or asks me/looks up in a dictionary and makes whatever correction.

In my fantasy, they learn something AND I don't have to mark things! :)

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

Well, Bardiac has the best suggestion as far as having the students "do" something. But if you just want to have a day where the students are wagging their tails, then I suggest you show them several episodes of Strong Bad Emails from Homestar Runner. My very favorite is the one where the writer asks Strong Bad to write his English paper for him: http://www.homestarrunner.com/sbemail64.html

Jon Rubin said...

It's such a pity they have to fit in to the one hour slot; otherwise (although the Buffy suggestions are excellent) Total Recall, or the Sixth Day would be great. Or Blade Runner: or pretty much any film based on an Philip K. Dick idea.
You can read the original short story that Total Recall was based on, here:

http://ita.extractionpoint.com/read/Dick,%20Philip%20K%20-%20We%20Can%20Remember%20It%20For%20You%20Wholesale.txt

Susan said...

I have NO ideas, but if you can get them to understand that identities evolve you will have done major educational work...

haphazardmusings said...

How about a 45-60 minute sequence of The Truman Show? He spends most of his life thinking his life is his, constructing his own identity, only to find out that his identity has more or less been constructed for him.

reassignedtime said...

If you wanted to make their hearts hurt, you could show them the Blue Angel films version of Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape, which lasts 55 minutes. (I do this to my intro to lit students because I love Beckett and I believe that it's character-building for them. Probably it wouldn't make you many friends amongst your students, but perhaps they've done something for which you would like to punish them?)

What I really do on days papers come in, though, is I tend to give an overview of the next unit and have them do some sort of in-class writing or group work that gets them started with thinking about the themes of the next unit. It's usually a really relaxed day, but one that gears them up for what comes next.