lunes, 4 de abril de 2011

Making a Commitment: Memorizing and Reciting

April 4, 2011, 3:01 PM

Making a Commitment: Memorizing and Reciting

Lesson Plans - The Learning NetworkLesson Plans - The Learning Network
ACADEMIC SKILLS
Teaching ideas based on New York Times content.
Overview | What is the value of memorization and recitation? What are some helpful strategies for committing text to memory? In this lesson, students share some of the things they have already learned by heart and then select meaningful passages to memorize and recite to the class. After everyone has recited their selections, they reflect on the process and experience.
Materials | Textual selections for individual students.
Warm-Up | Invite students to share something they know by heart with the class. Tell them they may recite anything appropriate for the classroom, of any length and from any source – song lyrics, famous lines from movies, rhymes and poems, dramatic monologues, selected portions of books, the 50 states, or anything else.
Call on at least five volunteers to share what they have memorized. Then recite something you yourself have memorized, and explain the story behind it. Did you choose it or was it assigned to you? How did you memorize it? Have you previously performed your piece in some way? What memories do you associate with it? What “relationship” do you have with this selection, given your memorization of it? How does it feel to be able to spontaneously and instantaneously recite it?
Invite the students who recited, and others, to share their stories and memories, too. How and why is committing something to memory, and being able to call it up instantaneously, a powerful thing?
Related | In “What I Learned at School,” the Op-Ed contributor Marie Myong-Ok Lee shares how an English teacher’s encouragement and special memorization assignment set her on the path toward becoming a writer:
Ms. Leibfried taught American literature and composition grammar, which involved the usual — memorizing vocabulary and diagramming sentences — but also, thrillingly, reading novels.
Thrilling to me, that is. Many of my classmates expressed disdain for novels because they were “not real.” For once, I didn’t care what they thought. Ms. Leibfried seemed to notice my interest in both reading and writing, and she took the time to draw me out; she even offered reading suggestions, like one of her favorite novels, “The Bell Jar.”
That year’s big project was a book report, to be read aloud to the class. However, Ms. Leibfried took me aside and suggested I do something “a little different.” Instead of a report, I was to pick a passage from a book, memorize it and recite it in front of the class.
Read the entire article with your class, using the questions below.
Questions | For discussion and reading comprehension:
  1. How does Marie Myung-Ok Lee remember her high school English teachers, Ms. Leibfried and Mrs. Borman? How did they help shape her as a writer?
  2. What do you think of the teacher permitting a student to recite a passage instead of writing a book report? Why was the experience so meaningful for Ms. Lee?
  3. Why does Ms. Lee think it took “courage” on the teachers’ part to allow her to do an alternate assignment?
  4. How does Ms. Lee characterize “good teaching”? Do you agree or disagree?
  5. When has a teacher or other adult taken the time to notice your interests and draw you out?
Activity | Tell the class that instead of doing a book report, literary analysis essay or other standard assignment, they will do something “a little different,” as Ms. Lee put it in her Op-Ed: “pick a passage from a book, memorize it and recite it in front of the class.”
You might make selection suggestions for individual students based on your understanding of their personalities, interests and skills. Or you might just allow them to choose any selection that interests them (even beyond books per se). If you do the latter, encourage students to think beyond literature and poetry to memorize and recite anything that truly appeals to them, or any favorite and beloved bit of text that is personally meaningful or inspiring.
You might establish parameters, like word count, or you might give students complete free rein.
For further related ideas, see our lesson plan “By Heart” as well as the Times Magazine feature “Secrets of a Mind Gamer.” Students can also test their memory skills using the interactive feature “Total Recall.” For inspiration, show them a video about a high school “memory team.”
Use the list below to introduce some memorization strategies that students can use to help them memorize their passages:
  • Break it up into small chunks, just a few words at a time, as the writer Jim Holt did to memorize over 2,000 lines of poetry.
  • Create flash cards. Write one sentence on each and review them sequentially.
  • Record your passage as a podcast and listen to it frequently, while walking around, completing mindless tasks or going to bed.
  • Write the whole passage down several times. Carry one of your copies with you at all times to review whenever you get a chance.
  • Act out your passage. Even if it’s not particularly poignant or emotional, try reading it in different exaggerated or dramatic ways.
  • Draw a picture or devise another creative correlation for each portion of the excerpt.
  • Depending on the nature of the text you are memorizing, consider using amnemonic device like a rhyme, acronym or acrostic.
  • Memorize through music. Set your sentences to the tune of a familiar song, or create your own melody.
  • Try memorizing backward, from end to beginning.
Have students work with partners for memorization support and practice.
Going Further | Once students have memorized their passages and practiced reciting to their partners, the next step is for everyone to deliver them to the class. Tell students that the goal here is to go beyond mere recitation to effective, dramatic readings that really reach the audience.
Afterward, students reflect in writing about the experience and what they got out of it. Was it challenging? If so, in a positive or negative way, ultimately? How would they describe and characterize their process, from selection to memorization to practice to recitation? How do they think they will recall this experience years from now?
They can also share what they chose to memorize (or plan to memorize in the future) by answering our Student Opinion question “What Would You Like to Have Memorized?”
To go even further, take a page from Ms. Lee’s 11th grade teacher, Mrs. Borman, and establish a regular time period for students to engage in free writing, or have them write their own memoir pieces about a teacher who influenced them.
Or, assign a self-directed learning project that both challenges them and plays to their individual interests and strengths.
Standards | This lesson is correlated to McREL’s national standards (it can also be aligned to the new Common Core State Standards):
Language Arts
5. Uses the general skills and strategies of the reading process.
8. Uses listening and speaking strategies for different purposes.
Life Skills: Self-Regulation
2. Performs self-appraisal.
4. Demonstrates perseverance.
Life Skills: Working with Others
4. Displays effective interpersonal communication skills.
Arts and Communication
4. Understands ways in which the human experience is transmitted and reflected in the arts and communication.
Publicar un comentario en la entrada