Monthly Archives: February 2014

Graphic Organisers

Collection of Graphic Organisers (PDF or online)

Graphic Organisers from SLSS

SLSS have an excellent collection of graphic organisers. This document contains blank graphic organisers, suggestions for possible uses of each organiser, and samples of each. Included are: ranking ladder, stair steps, chain of events, sequence charts, funnel, fishbone, brain droplets (wisdom pearls), cross classification chart, double and triple Venn diagrams, four corner organiser, tri pie, star burst, and research grid.

usuing-graphic-organisers-in-teaching-and-learning-(SLSS)-page-064

Fact versus Opinion

Fact-vs-opinion-page-001

Filter

Similar to the funnel above.  I’ve used this for breaking-down ‘large’ concepts and themes and brainstorming – it’s particularly helpful to students when filtering their ideas to focus on a specific topic – when writing a speech, for example.

Filter-page-001

Inverted Pyramid

Used for writing newspaper articles (language of information).

Inverted-Pyramid

Observation and Description: Five Senses

When reading a text, students can use the 5×5 chart to write short descriptions or observations related to sight, smell, sound, taste and touch.  It may prove even more useful for short story writing: students combine entries in the chart to create a description which they can write in the box at the top of the sheet.

Observation-and-Description---Senses

Story Pyramid

Story-Pyramid

A sample of a completed story pyramid using Cinderella can be viewed here. I’ve used this with my ‘Create A Character Activity‘.

 

Time-Order Chart

A simplified version for writing summaries.

Time-Order

Timeline (online)

TimelineJS is an open-source tool that can create interactive timelines just by using entries in a Google Spreadsheet. There are samples of timelines on their website, as well as instructions on how to create one. Click here to view my interactive timeline of Shakespeare’s life.

 

Writing Wheel

Writing-Wheel-page-001

An example from the NIPT website can be viewed here.

Timeline: A Brief Biography of Shakespeare

Click Shakespeare Timeline below.

Or click here to view a larger version.

The timeline was created using TimelineJS, an open-source tool that can create interactive timelines by using entries in a Google Spreadsheet.

Sources: William Shakespeare: Complete Works (ed. Jonathan Bate and Eric Rasmussen, 2007); Bartleby.com; Britannica.com; CoventryTelegraph.net; Folger.edu; InternetShakespeare.uvic.ca; ShakespearesGlobe.com; Shakespeare.org.uk; WWNorton.com.

The 86th Academy Awards

The Academy Awards

According to its website, the Academy is “dedicated to the advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures.The 86th Academy Awards will take place on Sunday March 2nd 2014 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, which has a capacity of 3,300 seats on Oscar Night. The Academy Awards are also known as the Oscars.

 

The Statuette

Officially named the Academy Award of Merit, an Oscar is given in recognition of the highest level of achievement in movie making. (The Academy adopted the nickname ‘Oscar’ in 1939, but no one is quite sure where its name originated – there are a few different theories!)

Although it weighs 8½ lbs, measures 13½ inches high, and has a diameter of 5¼ inches, the Oscar statuette stands tall as the motion picture industry’s greatest honour.

Award for Best Original Screenplay presented to Herman J. Mankiewicz in 1941 for writing Citizen Kane. Image from natedsanders.com.

Award for Best Original Screenplay presented to Herman J. Mankiewicz in 1941 for writing Citizen Kane. Image from natedsanders.com.

MGM art director Cedric Gibbons designed the statuette: a knight standing on a reel of film gripping a crusader’s sword. It was modelled after director and actor Emilio Fernandez, who posted nude for the design. George Stanley then sculpted Gibbons’ design.

The five spokes of the film reel represent the original branches of the Academy: actors, directors, producers, technicians, and writers. The original statuettes were gold-plated solid bronze, but in today’s Oscar the bronze has been replaced by gold-plated britannia metal. R.S. Owens and Company manufactures the statuettes in Chicago, who spend 3-4 weeks creating 50 statuettes in preparation for the awards ceremony.

Image: Mashable.com

Image: Mashable.com

 

What is the voting process?

The Race

The ‘race’ to be nominated consists of attempts by studios, independent distributors and publicists to make sure that each of the nearly 6,000 voting members of the Academy sees their film. It means special screenings for Academy members, free admission to commercial runs of a film, and the mailing of DVDs.

The Academy aggressively monitors Award campaigning and has issued regulations that limit company mailings to those items that actually assist members in their efforts to assess the artistic and technical merits of a film. This year, an Original Song nomination for ‘Alone Yet Not Alone’ was rescinded when the Academy discovered that the composer emailed 70 members of the Music Branch of the Academy to make them aware of his submission during the nominations voting period – during which information about the composer and lyricist is to remain anonymous. The composer, Bruce Broughton, breached of the Academy’s promotional regulations, the goal of which is to ensure that “the Awards competition is conducted in a fair and ethical manner.” It was the fifth time an Oscar nomination has been rescinded.

Nominations Process

The awards are voted on by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Nomination ballots are mailed to the Academy’s active members in late December. Members from each of the branches vote to determine the nominees in their respective categories – actors nominate actors, film editors nominated film editors, and so on. However, within the Animated Feature Film and Foreign Language Film categories, nominations are selected by vote of multi-branch screening committees. All voting members are eligible to select the Best Picture nominees.

The members fill out the ballot in preferential order (though they are not required to list more than one), and are sent back online (or by mail if requested) to PricewaterhouseCoopers, an international accounting firm, in January. The votes are then counted by hand to prepare a list of nominees. Regular awards are presented for outstanding individual or collective film achievements in up to 25 categories, usually with 5 nominees in each category (up to 10 in the Best Picture category). The nominees are announced each January at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre, located at the Academy’s Headquarters in Beverly Hills. This year, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs and actor Chris Hemsworth announced the nominations on Thursday, 16th January 2014.

Final Balloting Process

Final ballots are delivered to voting members in late-January and are due back to PricewaterhouseCoopers the Tuesday prior to Oscar Sunday for final tabulation.

The Academy’s entire active membership is eligible to select Oscar winners in all categories, although in five – Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, and Foreign Language Film – members can vote only after attesting they have seen all of the nominated films in those categories.

For all the other awards the winner is the person or film with the most votes, but the winner for Best Picture is the first film to get over 50% of the votes. Like in the system that is used in the nominations, voters rank their choices in preferential order and the films are then eliminated in the same manner that is used for the nominations.  Each movie gets its own pile — the film that appears most frequently as a first-place choice will have the largest stack, the movie with the next-most first-place votes will have the second-largest, and so forth. Then each stack is counted.

If one nominee garners more than 50% of the first place votes, it will win Best Picture. If, as is more likely, no nominee reaches this threshold, the tabulators go to the smallest stack remaining, eliminate that movie, remove that stack and go down those ballots to voters’ next-highest choice (of a movie that’s still in the running, of course) and redistribute the ballots across the piles once again. This process of elimination and reapportion continues until one film reaches at least 50% + one vote.

After final ballots are tabulated, only two partners of PricewaterhouseCoopers know the results until the famous envelopes are opened on stage during the Academy Awards presentation. If a wrong name were to be called, it would be immediately corrected by one of the partners, who would go to the microphone and announce the actual winner.

 

Who can win an Oscar?

The awards honour achievements in cinema from the previous year (2013), from on-screen actors to everyone behind-the-scenes.  These are the categories:

Best Picture

Actor in a Leading Role

Actress in a Leading Role

Actor in a Supporting Role

Actress in a Supporting Role

Animated Feature Film

Cinematography

Costume Design

Directing

Documentary Feature

Documentary Short Subject

Film Editing

Foreign Language Film

Makeup and Hairstyling

Music (Original Score)

Music (Original Song)

Production Design

Short Film (Animated)

Short Film (Live Action)

Sound Editing

Sound Mixing

Visual Effects

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

Writing (Original Screenplay)

 

The Red Carpet

One of the most anticipated and exciting parts of the show is watching the stars arrive at the ceremony and walk down the Red Carpet. People watching at home want to see which stars are attending the event, what they’re wearing, and who they’re with. Most men attending the Oscars wear a tuxedo, and women wear extravagant, elegant dresses. The Red Carpet at the Dolby Theatre is 500 feet long, and is flanked by 700 fan bleacher seats which are allocated through an online global lottery. There are several TV shows and live online reports that show you what’s happening on the red carpet. Check out the printable ‘Red Carpet Bingo’ at the end of this post!

Sometimes you will also see or hear the expression ‘Oscar buzz.’ Here, buzz means ‘what people are talking about.’ Oscar buzz simply means ‘what people are saying about the Oscars’ – who will win, what film will win, etc. On Twitter, #Oscars is used.

 

The Academy Awards Ceremony

Far from the eagerly anticipated and globally televised event it is today, the first Academy Awards ceremony took place out of the public eye during an Academy banquet at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Two hundred seventy people attended the May 16, 1929 dinner in the hotel’s Blossom Room; guest tickets cost $5. The first recipient of the statuette was Emil Jannings, who was named Best Actor for his performance in The Last Command and The Way of All Flesh. However, there was little suspense when the awards were presented that night, as the recipients had already been announced three months earlier.

That all changed the following year, however, when the Academy kept the results secret until the ceremony but gave a list in advance to newspapers for publication at 11 pm on the night of the Awards. This policy continued until 1940 when, much to the Academy’s surprise, the Los Angeles Times broke the embargo and published the names of the winners in its evening edition – which was readily available to guests arriving for the ceremony. That prompted the Academy in 1941 to adopt the sealed-envelope system still in use today. Since 2011, Marc Friedland has designed the envelopes and announcement cards bearing the names of each Oscar recipient.

The making of the envelope

 

The host of this year’s show is Ellen DeGeneres.

 

Each award is handed out by a presenter. The presenter is usually another actor. They announce the category and usually say, “And the nominees are…” The presenter will then read the names of the nominees from the Teleprompter.

There is also an In Memoriam segment which honours those who died during the previous year. A committee made up from the Academy weigh in a lot of factors when deciding on who features in the tribute – in particular, their contribution to and achievements in the film industry. The list is passed on to the producers who then commission the commemorative reel. Last year the tribute was presented by George Clooney, followed by a performance by Barbara Streisand.

 

Once the presenter has finished announcing the nominees, he/she then says, “And the Oscar goes to…” or “And the Academy Award goes to…” and opens the envelope to read the name of the winner. The envelope is sealed so that no one knows the winner until that moment! (Only two partners of PricewaterhouseCoopers know the results beforehand.) The winner then comes to the stage to accept his/her award and make a short acceptance speech. The final award of the night is always Best Picture.

 

For the full list of this year’s nominations: 

http://oscar.go.com/nominees

 

For the full list of this year’s presenters: 

http://oscar.go.com/blogs/oscar-news/140224-oscar-presenters-announced

 

Want to play Red Carpet Bingo?

http://marcfriedlandinc.com/TheOscarsRedCarpetBingo.pdf

 

Want to predict the winners?

Click here for your online ballot! (Here for printable ballot.)

 

Tie-In Lessons:

Film Poster Analysis, Film Revision: Key Words

 

Sources used in composing this guide: oscars.org, oscar.go.com, englishteachermelanie.com, latimes.com, ew.com.

Images: natedsanders.com, Mashable.com.

Film Poster Analysis

I think reading – or, to look at it another way, comprehending – visual texts is a fundamental aspect to students’ social literacy both in Junior and Senior Cycle.

However, from my experience there is a certain stipulation on visual texts as being more ‘suitable’ for Ordinary Level or ‘less able’ English students at both Junior and Senior Cycle: there is no option in Junior Cert Higher Level to study film while there is in Ordinary Level, and, similarly, there isn’t an option to study a film as a single text at Leaving Cert at either Higher or Ordinary level – only as a comparative text. Needless to say, I was delighted when I saw that films were part of the textual choice in the new English specification!

This is a lesson aimed at engaging students with analysis of visual texts – in this case, a batch of film posters I had printed on poster-quality A3 sheets. One could also further this lesson to make it based more on advertising in print, TV advertising, and so on.

Students were presented with their worksheet and were assigned to pairs.

They were given one of these A3 sheets (there were 2 film posters to a sheet) and discussed the poster and their answers before agreeing on what to write.

DSCN30581b

Speech Writing: Checklist and Useful Phrases

Checklist

Speech Writing - Checklist

 

Useful phrases, links and conjunctions

Speech Writing - useful phrases, links and conjunctions

Intro to Drama: Tension

Dramatic readings, role play, and performances are a regular feature of my lesson plans. This connects to some objectives in both the Junior and Leaving Cert syllabus, for example:

“students should encounter opportunities for frequent practice in… interpreting orally and attempting performances” (JC English Draft Syllabus for Consultation (Rebalanced Syllabus), p. 16).

“Students should be able to… approach drama scripts from a theatrical perspective… [and] engage in interpretative performance of texts” (LC Syllabus, p. 14)

The performance of a texts serves many purposes: an interactive encounter with the text through active learning can engage students with the text in a meaningful way, the language is understood more easily (and allows for word decoding), and there is greater potential for enjoyment and appreciation of the text.

Furthermore, performing the text (or simply reading it aloud) offers the opportunity to demonstrate expression/intonation. Expressions can be influenced by punctuation and phrasing, and during the performance of a text this can also be influenced by a character’s body language, how they feel during a scene, and so on. Learning about this can develop students’ awareness of how dialogue is spoken when they are reading individually/silently.

The drama section of the 2001 JC Ordinary paper provided an excellent text for such use in class. Each student is given a copy of the text to read, then seven students are chosen to act out the scene.

A Street in Prague - Tension (2001 JCO paper)

What makes this text challenging (to students of all years) is the tension which must be created in the performance.

A few points for students to keep in mind during their performance:

  • The stage is “dimly lit” and it is “after curfew”. Combined with the information we are given about the play, we know that there is a tense atmosphere.
  • Body language is key for the entrance. For the “four teenagers with a ladder” to convey this tension, they must “enter sneakily”.
  • As expected, the teenagers need to be quiet. If students wished to portray urgency, they could speak the lines quickly and quietly- for example, Jan’s line “Oh no! Where? Where?”.
  • Given the setting and the circumstances, how accurate the performance of the stage directions “They freeze, afraid to look” and “Panic. All scatter” will be important to portray the scene’s credibility in the eyes of the audience. Likewise with the confrontation with the officers (all the while Anna is atop the ladder!).