Literacy Documentary COMPLETE!

Hats off to the 6th grade class of 2014-2015 for completing a 15 minute long documentary on the importance of literacy for middle school students!

More Than Words: A Documentary on Middle School Literacy from Jim Bentley @Curiosity_Films on Vimeo.

This film was created as a result of a project based learning unit undertaken by the students in my classroom.

The script was 9 pages long and written by teams of students.

How can we as filmmakers show middle schoolers the importance of developing literacy skills? This driving question framed over 10 weeks of research, reading, and writing. Students interviewed literacy experts, read scholarly articles, emailed literacy experts, and constantly generated more questions as they learned more about the subject.

Special thanks go to Matthew Gross, Adam Masur, and Dan Cogan-Drew from Newsela for their willingness to collaborate with us on this project. If you’re a teacher and haven’t yet heard of Newsela.com, you need to take a moment and visit their website to see how you might approach teaching nonfiction text for the upcoming school year.

If you’re a student and think reading is boring, PLEASE visit Newsela and take a look at just a few of the articles they have to offer. The world of nonfiction is a fascinating place IF you find interesting nonfiction to read.

A huge thanks also goes out to Kylene Beers, literacy expert, whose work we painstakingly read and reread and referred to in order to understand why some middle school students choose not to read.

Additionally, a huge thank you goes out to Larae Blomquist, Karen Sarafian-Hames, and Prof. Porfirio Loeza for taking time out of their busy schedules to meet with students in order to advance our learning regarding literacy.

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