Reflection on the DV Sound Bite Experience from the High School English Teacher

"Perhaps my favorite aspect of this endeavor with theme was its hands-on component. Many times in the beginning of the year when I am trying to discover what kind of learners my students are, many of them write “hands-on learner” and I lament that for the most part, my class is not very “hands-on”. When kids think of hands-on learning, they think of vocational classes, or the arts. This exploration into theme allowed the kids to be active in so many ways—active with technology, active with their groups, and active with an aspect of the novel—one which held them accountable as well as responsible to the rest of their peers.

In reading the student reflection letters, time was our greatest opponent—what else is new? One student suggested doing this earlier in the year and then building on it throughout the semester. We conducted this project right before exams at the end of the year—tough in many ways, but a problem easily remedied.

Besides the hands-on component, I think this project made my kids think more. It’s so easy for English teachers to “talk” theme and then try and explain it; this digital sound bite put the onus on the students to discover their theme and enact it. Because of the storyboard component, the groups had to work together to construct the idea, and then put it into technological action. Every different type of learner was tapped, and Blooms’ revised taxonomy fully covered. While the starting place for understanding their theme is prior knowledge, the novel provides a lens for deepening and extending their understanding, especially when they have to enact it through a project like this.

I can’t wait to do the DV Sound Bite with other texts, and I am getting ready to revise it for Orwell’s 1984 with my seniors."

Reflection on the DV Sound Bite Experience from her students