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Pair Ideas:Parody

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Keywords: parody, literature, music, drama, technology, video
Subject(s): Art, Photography, Video, Animation, Technology, Podcasting, Journalism, Writing, Drama, Music, Reading, English/Language Arts
Grades 6 through 12
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Digital Citizenship
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Pompano Beach High School, Pompano Beach, FL
Planned By: Sandy Melillo
Original Author: Sandy Melillo, Pompano Beach
This project was originally based upon William Shakespeare’s Macbeth to assist students in making contemporary connections to a work with which they initially felt no connections. It was Medieval Scotland, it was “old” history, and the language was difficult. Initially, we read the play together and I would preview each scene and repeat plot highlights after the class read it out loud. The students would watch the scene acted out by professional actors on a video and take a quiz that included interpreting and analyzing passages. (Talk about “old school!”) After viewing a slightly edited version of Thug Analysis and having at least some knowledge of the play, the students became both entertained and engaged. Showing the entire Patrick Stewart version of Macbeth with a sort of Nazi/Russian Revolution influence, the students were ready to apply what they knew about the play in creating a parody. It was important to explain that the movie they viewed, although put into another time period, was not a parody, because the script remained the same. However, the new context did require the director to create unique, visual elements without changing the text. Dividing the class into five groups, each was responsible for presenting a particular act. After reviewing the key elements of parody, the students viewed several clips from You Tube and were instructed to create their own parody on their act using any presentation device, live or electronic. In two weeks student presentations varied from sock to athletes on sticks puppet shows, LEGO animation, Prezzi shows, videos of student actors, and amazing visual presentations. Allusions varied from Mean Girls, to athlete drama, to Brady Bunch to South
Park, to famous criminals. The best part was that all were engaged, and everyone “got the jokes.” Some of the performances became “legends” that other classes wanted to view and probably did on social media. Macbeth hit social media! Who knew? Now I want to expand this project to incorporate a wider range of "literary canons" from poetry to plays to novels and move beyond shaky cellphone footage to more professional looking final products that utilizing better cameras and editing programs can create. I also want the high school students to mentor the middle school gifted students who come for curriculum enhancement sessions for an entire day once a month. But utilizing Edmodo, we can create a class where all the students can communicate and continue to work on their projects throughout the month until the next session. We can then load all final project descriptions with photos onto a Wordpress blog site with web addresses that will guide viewers to a Dropbox that will allow for larger projects. This is one of those projects that makes students coming into a course ask "When are we doing the Macbeth project?" and looking forward to it. Hopefully, adding more literary possibilities will continue the enthusiasm. The bottom line is, this project cannot be accomplished without a clear understanding of the original work, so students tend to be more engaged. They "get it" and will keep it. This coordinates with all our school improvement goals associated with reading comprehension moving to the top level of higher order thinking: Synthesis.
This project can be accomplished from no tech to high tech, depending up the project choice of the students to present their parody.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Actually elementary grades can write song lyrics to favorite songs that parody another piece of literature, a current event, history, even math (times tables).
In older grades the same kinds of parodies, particularly current songs and their lyrics, can be altered into parodies for math, science, history and other curriculum (a la Weird Al Yankovic)
Peer viewings and evaluations. Class sharing, particular on same novels read.
Links: Link to Weird Al You Tube videos
Link to Gregory McGuire Novels
Materials: Video Cameras, Flash Memory Camcorders, DVD Camcorder, Digital Cameras, Point and Shoot, Hard Drives, Printers, Camera/Video Accessories, Flash/USB Drives, Tripods, Batteries, Writing
Other Items: 1 2TB External Drive, $89 each, total of $89.00
5 32 G jump drives, $20 each, total of $100.00
1 color printer, $70 each, total of $70.00
2 ink 1-color 1-black, $25 each, total of $50.00
5 DVD Camcorders, $150 each, total of $750.00
5 tripods, $25 each, total of $125.00
5 camcorder batteries, $20 each, total of $100.00
5 32G memory cards, $20 each, total of $100.00
1 paper 500, $4 each, total of $4.00