Entertainment

We live in a visual world and we love to be entertained. Our everyday lives are so stressful and busy that at the end of the day, we need a break. It’s great to escape for an hour or two and not have to worry about cooking, cleaning, laundry, and kids. Or, if we are kids it’s great to escape from the demands of parents giving chores, homework from school, friends and their problems, and the school-day itself. There’s so much going on in our lives that sitting down to read a book that will take weeks to finish doesn’t sound fun. It sounds boring. It sounds like school work. It sounds awful.

And sometimes, it is school work. Sometimes there’s an assignment to read a book for an  assignment. Sometimes there’s a test at the end of each chapter. So why read the book if there’s a movie version. It will be so much easier and save so much time if we just watch the movie version.

What’s the Problem With the Film Version of a novel?

Really, there’s nothing wrong with the film version. There are many great books that have been successfully converted to the Silver Screen. If it’s for entertainment, it’s usually great. However, teachers will often show the different film versions of a play or novel to show the artistic choices a director makes. Students can see how one version might be more effective than another, and how the characters vary from one version to the next. For classroom conversation though, it’s difficult to have a conversation about The Hobbit as it’s read in class while some students are making references to the film version. They are very similar, but there are some things that happen in the book that don’t happen in the film, and things that happen in the film that don’t take place in the book.

Recommendation

Films made from books are great. Watching movies for homework instead of reading is a bad idea. However, watching a movie to become familiar with the story can make the reading easier, more enjoyable, or possibly more frustrating. If your intent is to escape; watch the movie, or read. The story will be great either way. If you’re going to have a conversation about the book, you should probably be reading it. If you bring up details from the movie it will be obvious to the teacher or professor that you haven’t really read the book.

It’s almost guaranteed that if you read the book, the movie will be disappointing. There’s no substitute for the images your imagination can produce. There are things that we deduce when we decipher character intent and decode meaning from action or dialogue. Our minds are powerful and can make meaning from words on the page, even if the author didn’t write it all down. In a movie, we have to see what the director captured on film.

Let’s not argue any more about which is better. Book or movie, they’re both fun. Books are more challenging, and also more rewarding. Movies are great for a moment of escape. Both are valuable in a variety of ways.

What do you think? Are there movies that were better than the book? Are there movies that ruined a book for you? Let me know in the comments section, and if you’ve had this conversation before, share this article.

Read on, and watch on!

-Dave

I really dislike confrontation. By nature, I am a people pleaser and an introvert. I get along really well with students who do their work, are polite, ask questions, and help other students. However, students who have an attitude or visibly don’t want to be in class make me uncomfortable.
And I love it!

Conflict Leads To Solutions

Every year I have taught at least one student who has displayed some form of apathy or disinterest. I know some kids don’t like English. I know everyone likes some subjects in school, while others subjects are awful. You don’t have to love the subject to do well. Effort and attitude are everything!

One year I taught a 7th grade young man who regularly forgot to turn things in. He knew that even if he got bad scores, he would still be moved to the next grade level. I tried to encourage him to turn in work. I tried to create assignments that would get him writing. It didn’t work. He didn’t care.
So I lied. It was a little lie. I told him that if he didn’t pass class he would have to repeat the same class over the summer. Some school districts do this, some don’t. The district I was in didn’t do summer school, but he didn’t know this. It turned him around. He knew that he didn’t want to do work over the summer.

This year has been different because I’ve been teaching Sophomores in high school. They need to pass or they don’t get the credit and have to take the class again or do a credit recovery packet.

Sometimes Let Behavior Simmer

Because I love to read, I want to foster that love in my students. I know not all are going to love reading, but my hope is that maybe they will find the things that they like to read and will accept that as a part of their lives. I permit all forms of books. Paper books, eBooks, audiobooks, nonfiction, graphic novels, everything counts as reading. As a result, students are often on their phones for the first 15 minutes of class. It’s quite funny really, when I get questions about grades or citizenship marks. As if reading a book requires so much swiping and tapping. I can hear what you’re listening to, it’s so loud (and it’s not a book).

One student asked about this terms grade. The assignments were terrible for sophomore level writing. No elaboration, no details, no supporting evidence. The writing was basically skimming answers to say the assignments were done. When the question was asked, “What can I do to fix my grade?”, I responded with, “Do the work. Fix it if it’s not good enough. Edit and revise”.

The Confrontation

It happened just before the winter break. It wasn’t really a confrontation, but the student was obviously frustrated.
My heart was racing. Did I mention I have a hard time with conflict?
And then, it all came out in a rush. “You’re not doing your best. You’re not reading a book when we read. Your writing isn’t a real attempt to address the prompt. I don’t believe you’re writing is going to help you when you take the ACT test next year. You’re not even trying. You play sports, right? If your coach is mean to you and doesn’t seem to like you, but you want to be first string, what do you do?”

I think their response clicked. “I do my best no matter what.”

“YES! No matter how good you think you are, you will succeed if you do your best! Show me your best writing. Find a book you want to read. Try like you care about your future. Especially if you want to play sports in college!”

Whatever my students’ goals, I want them to be successful. Sometimes they need to figure what that looks like for them. There needs to be consequences for inaction. Whatever that looks like in your home, stand strong. Set rules. No matter how much they whine or yell or cry, stick to your rules. You’re helping your child succeed by setting expectations.

Help them find something they like to read. Read with them. Set time aside where all technology is off. You will be teaching persistence, growth, and success.

I hope this helped.

Read on!

-Dave

 

Do you have a special situation that could use some specific advice? Let me know in the comments, or send me an email. I’d love to help!

 

 

 

 

You’re reading more and you’re starting to enjoy it a little. Or maybe your child isn’t resisting the time you dedicate to reading, and is actually helping to choose books. How can I improve what I am doing?

This is an easy thing to talk about. Really. That’s it. Talk about it. If you’ve read a book or story, and your child or someone else has read the book or story, talk about it.

What do you think about the characters? Why do you think characters did what they did? Would you have done the same thing? What could have made the story better? What didn’t you like about it? What other stories have you read that were like this one?

Talk about it.

When someone else confirms your understanding you take a win. When someone else clarifies a misunderstood scene or character action, you refine the way you read. You refine the questions you ask. You are becoming a better reader! It takes practice.

It’s simple. Enjoy the progress. Praise your little reader for doing something difficult.