Sunday, 15 November 2015

MOVIE CASI (aka using short films to enhance reading comprehension)

In SCDSB, some Gr. 4-8 teachers will administer a reading comprehension assessment called a CASI.

This includes a short piece (non fiction or fiction) to read, and then a series of questions.

For fiction, these questions include:
  • summary
  • main idea
  • narrative traits (such as plot, setting, character)
  • character traits
  • evaluation of title
  • connection to text (text to self, text to world and/or text to text)
  • evaluation of perspective or point of view

Students completed their first CASI in September.

From that, I can determine which areas need support.

For example, several students confused summary with main idea, or did not provide enough evidence to support their conclusion, or made fairly superficial inferences when discussing a connection, etc.

We can use that as our starting point, to learn how to be more specific, to provide proof, to go deeper into the text, to develop our ideas more thoroughly and with more conviction.

A great way to practice this is to use short films. They are narratives, and thus allow for the same discussion points as the CASI. Being so short, they allow for repetition. We can tackle main idea x 5 in a fairly short amount of time, while still analyzing stories that have depth and complexity. (Also, they are a lot of FUN).

In class, we watched:

And for each we discussed the various CASI questions.

We also looked at emotional arcs as a subtext: in addition to the obvious plot there is a not so obvious emotional journey. Therein lies the substance for our more complex inferences, the deeper meaning and connections.

To consolidate these skills, I have given students an at home assignment, their own version of a Movie CASI. They can choose any movie they want, or they can choose a new short film I've provided (The Butterfly Circus).

Due date is Wed. Nov. 25th.

Please let me know if you have any questions!
Mrs. J

PS We will be applying these skills to short stories December/January and the next 'official' CASI will likely take place mid to late January.

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