Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Critically Assessing Games, Films and Fiction Texts

As mentioned previously, students are going to be asked to write a book, movie or game review as a means of demonstrating an ability to write a persuasive piece.

In my last post, we developed criteria for judging the effectiveness of a video game (such as quality of graphics, music/sound, multiplayer, etc) and then applied that criteria to a game. Students were encouraged to be as specific as possible in their provide specific detail from the game to support their positions. For example, if they found the sound effects too annoying, then they had to give an example to back that up: "the woop, woop, woop for every power up sounds squeaky and is too repetitive".

After that, we looked at a review written on that game and evaluated it according to this checklist. Students had to explain what was done effectively (or not) according to the criteria on this checklist. (The reviews were written by prior students or by me).

The ability to evaluate and judge is considered a higher order thinking skill. It is a skill I am really pushing students to utilize in this unit, as not only are they evaluating a game/movie and text but also the reviews written about each of those things.

After the video game, we went through the same process for films. We developed criteria and then applied that to 3 short films, using our graphic organizer.

The 3 short films we watched were:
Order Up

Students were asked to use specific evidence from these films to support their opinion on what they did or did not like about aspects of the character, setting and plot. For example, the ending to Bottle was quite disappointing to some. They DID NOT LIKE IT at all. One of our criteria for a good movie was that the plot had a good resolution. They felt it DID NOT have a good resolution and they cited the details to support their opinion...which I won't state here, because I don't want to give away the ending.

Alternatively, others liked the ending. They thought it was a good resolution because it twisted your expectations... I encourage everyone to watch it and make up their own mind!

Again, after going through the process of critically evaluation the films and determining our own opinions, we looked at a review written on a movie (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) and evaluated it according to the checklist.

Finally, as our last step in preparing for our own reviews, we will be looking at a short fiction text "Know All" from Paul Jenning's UNCANNY collection.  Students will again develop criteria, this time on what makes a good fiction text, and then we will apply those to the text. We will also look at a review written about it.

After that, students are to start the process of creating their own review on a game, movie or fiction text of their own choice.

I look forward to reading student reviews!

1 comment:

  1. I hope you share out your reviews so that I can share them with my students, and use them as mentor texts, too. This is a great project and will no doubt spark some powerful writing.