Choose a well-known or familiar image, artifact, sound, song, movement, taste, scent, or other part of your core sensory understanding of your topic area to observe and re-image in a new form. Your re-imagined representation should communicate the topic in a way that appeals to a different sense than originally identified.
Write about 500 words: a) discussing briefly your understanding of the cognitive tool of perceiving (approximately 1 sentence), b) your original observation, c) your re-imagination, and finally d) how this new understanding impacts your topic.
In thinking about Module 2's focus on perception, I had difficulty at first deciding on what artifact would be a familiar representation of my content topic, genre. I finally realized that what I give my students, a list, is typical of what most teachers use to help teach students to recognize various genres. Here's a copy of the genre list my students use to categorize the books they read in their Reader's Notebooks. It's pretty straight-forward, and, I'll have to say, boring.
In thinking about how to reimagine my genre list, I first thought of coming up with a visual representation. I copied the text of my list and used Tagxedo to create a word cloud.
I didn't feel this representation captured the "feeling" of the various genres and decided to look at how I could use images to represent the meaning of genre and the elements of fiction. I decided to make a video using iMovie. I used my list to search PhotoPin (a useful Flickr tool) for images related to several of the genres on my list. I started by asking myself, "What do you think of when you picture ______ ?" inserting the name of whatever genre I was working on. For example, when I thought of humor, I pictured smiley faces. I also downloaded funny images of toys or interesting expressions. For each genre, I repeated the process and then dumped all of the pictures in iMovie. As I began arranging them, a narrative developed in my head in which I used the images to demonstrate how genre is important to understanding a book. I ended up deleting about half of the images I downloaded and saved the ones that I felt had the most impact. At times, I went back to PhotoPin when a new thought occurred and looked for an image that would fit (for example, when I had the idea of genre providing a "common thread" to literature).
Below is my final result. I also found it a challenge to find appropriate music for the video. I wanted something that wouldn't be distracting, but have a momentum that would move the action forward, like a soundtrack in a film. I listened to about 20 different tracks on FreePlayMusic before I decided on the one I used.
I think the video captures more of the essence of what I want students to understand about genre. As I researched ideas about my topic and looked at images, I thought of new ways of looking genre. For example, genre is subjective and in many ways it is a social construct. There are many types of genre besides literature, such as musical genres, and they change over time.
An idea I thought of as an introduction to the topic, would be to give students a stack of books from my classroom library and ask each table to sort the books by genre. Once they've done that, they could share to the class the genres by which they grouped the books. What is more important, I would like them to explain why they grouped the way they did and see if they could identify some commonalities between the books in each category.
An extension of this would be to have another group look at the books the previous group sorted and 1). see if they agree with the sorting or would change anything and 2). describe the commonalities they see. I would love to see this listed in a Google Doc where students could then compare lists and see the commonalities.