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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Common Core Literature Standard 7

CCRA.R.7 pays tribute to media. It reads, "Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words."

Diverse media can transform the study of classic literature from dull to dazzling. To illustrate this (no pun intended), let's look at some opportunities to address CCRA.R.7 with Alice in Wonderland. Written by Lewis Carroll in 1865, this book falls in public domain and can be read (or listened to or sung) for free at Project Gutenberg. Here are a few of the publications available there:


"Works Based on Alice in Wonderland" (Wikipedia) lists literary retellings and sequels; comics, manga, and graphic novels; film, animation, and television; art; music; and video games inspired by the classic children's novel. Who knew that there was such diversity in media relating to this one story? My personal favorite was the statue of Alice, the Mad Hatter, and the White Rabbit in Central Park!

Let's look at some ideas for using and infusing media using Alice in Wonderland. We'll target third, fourth, and fifth grades as examples.

RL.3.7 asks third graders to "explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)." Several of the Alice books are illustrated, including line drawings and full-color representations. Students can match the text to its illustration, analyze how well the two match, and discuss how the illustrations improve or alter comprehension of the text. Or, to shake things up, you could print out pictures from a different version of Alice in Wonderland, ask your students to locate the corresponding text, and even analyze which of two pictures enhances the text better.


Sometimes authors surprise us with creative alternatives. In the text below, Carroll has created a picture with words. What  a great opportunity to discuss how visual representation can contribute to the words themselves!


Fourth graders get to have some fun with RL.4.7 too. It asks them to "make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral representation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text."

YouTube videos are a perfect fit here. I like using clips that depict specific parts of a text and movie trailers. Students exercise their higher order thinking skills to compare and contrast the text and visual representation, as well as evaluate which is more effective (and tell why). For example, students might compare the section of Alice in Wonderland about the Cheshire Cat with this video clip from the 1951 Disney movie. Or they can compare one character with the film version in this trailer of the 2013 film.

RL.5.7 asks students to "analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem)." Video clips and/or trailers work fine for this fifth grade standard, but I'd pick graphic novels. They can really pack some punch. Reading a classic novel in a comic book format will motivate your students, particularly those reluctant readers. Check out Alice in Wonderland: The Graphic Novel. Opportunities for analysis appear on every page!

So there you have it: Standard 7. The Common Core has just challenged you to have some fun with your class (while employing higher order thinking skills). Take up the gauntlet and report back here with your creative ideas!