Express Yourself

Be who you are and say how you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.
--Dr. Seuss

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Truisms-Thematic Connections

I am a true believer in teaching students about theme through the use of truisms. I learned about the use of truisms or aphorisms from Barry Lane, Gretchen Bernabei, and Alana Morris about 8 years ago. Alana and I worked on using truisms in a writing framework that we put together. I believe that this practice must be revisited and utilized.
Today in my Face Book newsfeed, I found someone refer to Michael Phelps's new Under Armor commercial. Riveting and moving it was. I immediately saw a connection to reading and writing. This commercial also connects to the use of media and media literacy.
Since I haven't had much time to post, I decided to put everything I was doing to the side, including watching the Texans play the 49ers, and post. I have told my students and many teacher colleagues many a time  to never let an idea get away.  Today, I am going to take my own advice.

There are great commercials that we can use in our classrooms to analyze. We can analyze them for theme and the use of media. What did the producer want us to learn about life? What did he/she use to convey that?  What images and parts of the video go along with the truism?  What details support the theme?  It all goes together.  I want to include some really neat videos that we could use in our classrooms to support the use of theme/truisms.

When thinking of theme, the reader must consider a few questions:
  • What is the main message the author wants the reader to learn about life?
  • Is the theme that you propose true for you and true for most?
One way to get the brain ready for truisms and theme is to study photographs and commercials. I find it helpful to use the word sometimes. (This idea comes from Gretchen Bernabei.)  Sometimes what is learned in the dark, becomes evident in the light. (Paraphrased version of Under Armour commercial.) Sometimes, you have to put in the work, to get the results that you desire. (That is my truism or theme.)  It is not enough, though, to include the sometimes alone. The reader must also go back to the video to provide textual evidence to support his/her thematic statement.

Below you will find a group of my favorite
videos that have truisms and thematic statements included or may  work really well for discussing theme:

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