Margin Notes

CELEBRATING CREATIVITY AND COLLABORATION: HANWELL PARK ACADEMY’S SECOND ANNUAL STUDENT FILM FESTIVAL

Jun
13

Hanwell Park Academy recently hosted its second annual Student Film Festival to celebrate student learning and showcase the incredible talent and creativity of their middle school students. We were thrilled to receive an invitation to attend. The festival is an initiative started by teachers Megan Young-Jones, Stephen Stone, and Sara Stevenson, who aimed to foster traditions in a new school that would engage learners, provide an authentic audience, celebrate student leadership and achievement, and allow students to take pride in their accomplishments.

In the weeks leading up to the festival, students were placed in small groups and participated in a series of mini lessons led by their language arts teachers. These lessons covered essential filmmaking topics, including genres, story arcs, different types of shots, the art of short films, scriptwriting, and analyzing mentor films across various genres. The goal was to provide students with the foundational knowledge they needed to create compelling films.

One of the most remarkable aspects of this year’s festival was the ease with which students navigated the technology. Using iMovie and CapCut, they edited their films with minimal guidance, showcasing a level of proficiency that left the adults in attendance in awe. The ideas, editing skills, and collaborative efforts were evident in every film presented, reflecting the hard work and dedication of the students.

Ms. Young-Jones served as the Master of Ceremonies, bringing her trademark enthusiasm and humor to the event. She kept the audience entertained between each film and ensured that every student’s work was celebrated. Her ability to motivate and champion students was on full display, making the event not only entertaining but also inspiring.

Respecting the diverse learning identities of students, the festival allowed for flexibility in participation. While all students were placed in groups, they had the choice to either appear on camera or take on roles behind the scenes. This approach ensured that every student could contribute in a way that was comfortable and meaningful for them, fostering a supportive and inclusive environment.

The festival concluded with the panel of guest judges having the difficult task of selecting the award-winning films. Awards were given in various categories, recognizing the outstanding efforts and achievements of the students. Below are two of the award-winning films that exemplify the creativity and inclusivity nurtured at Hanwell Park Academy (click on full screen and then press play!):

Fans’ Choice and Best Overall: Toast

 

 

 

 

 

 

Judges Choice: Disney

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for inviting us to this special event, and please invite us back again next year!

WHAT YOU NEED TO BE WARM: A POEM OF WELCOME BY NEIL GAIMAN

Apr
30

What do you think of when you hear the word “warm”? What images or feelings might that conjure up for you?

For  Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency Neil Gaiman, the idea of “warmth” was top of mind when winter was settling in and he knew there would be many refugees living rough…without the comfort that warmth brings. He went to Twitter to ask a simple question: What are your memories of being warm?

Well, Twitter did not disappoint.

Gaiman received thousands of replies, compiled all the responses and, with the help of 12 talented illustrators, created this unique book: What You Need to be Warm: A Poem of Welcome.

Every page is full of “warmth” both in the words and the illustrations.

This would be a beautiful mentor text to use during poetry month. You could examine the way that Gaiman uses language to evoke feelings and look at how the illustrations help to bring the text to life. You could also discuss how Gaiman took all the memories and wove them into a poem.

A great way to do low stakes poetry writing is to a collaborative poem. Students could each create a poem (based on a question or prompt) and then could put them together into one longer text. Then, students could be encouraged to illustrate different parts. This could be done with paper/pencil or with technology.

Here are some ideas for prompts:

  • Home is…
  • Blue is… (Sample lesson plan here)
  • Choose a character from a class read aloud and write a poem describing them

This book reminded me a bit of Ain’t Burned All The Bright, a collaboration between Jason Reynolds and Jason Griffin, because of the collaborative nature of the work. Here are two blog posts about that book.

What You Need to be Warm: A Poem of Welcome would make a great addition to a read aloud stack for Poetry Month, or any time of year!

 

 

 

 

TRY THIS TOMORROW: POETRY RX IS ON “X”

Apr
11

Margin Notes posted about the Poetry RX column in The Paris Review here. Dr. Maya C. Popa (@MayaCPopa), an acclaimed poet in modern poetry, has used her “X” platform to share the same idea of “Poetry Rx”. Read more about her work on her website.

She shares an ailment on “X”, and her followers will offer their prescribed poems, sometimes with explanations and other times without. The conditions are often timely with world events, seasons or connected to real people. Here are some examples:

These posts become curated poetry and art text sets on a topic/theme.

How to try this tomorrow:

Poetry Prescription Gallery Walk:

  • Curate a gallery of poems that were previously prescribed for various problems.
  • Divide students into small groups and have them rotate through the gallery.
  • Ask each group to analyze and discuss why a particular poem might have been prescribed for a given problem.
  • Encourage them to consider themes, tone, and literary devices – whatever mini-lesson you taught.

Classwide Poetry Prescription Database:

  • Create a shared online document or database where students can contribute poems they find or write for specific problems.
  • Have students categorize the poems based on the problems they address.
  • Students can take out the collection of poems when they need support in that area.

Rotating Poetry Prescription Circles:

  • Establish rotating small groups within the class.
  • Each group is responsible for identifying a problem and prescribing a poem to address it.
  • Rotate the groups periodically to ensure that students have diverse experiences in exploring and discussing different problems and poems.

Collaborative Poetry Prescriptions:

  • Assign each student a specific problem or challenge to explore through poetry.
  • Have them collaborate in pairs or small groups to find or create poems that address their assigned issue.

Poetry Playlists:

  • When teaching about character and theme development, have students create a poetry playlist to represent the emotions, actions or motivations of a character.

These ideas involve students actively engaging with poetry prescriptions, encouraging critical thinking, collaboration, and reflection on the choices made in selecting and discussing poems for specific problems.

APRIL IS POETRY MONTH 2024

Apr
02

April is Poetry Month and Margin Notes will be featuring ideas for celebrating poetry this month…and all year long.

We’ve updated our Poetry Month Resource Round-Up. You can access it here.

For more inspiration, enjoy Pamela Spiro Wagner’s How to Read a Poem: Beginner’s Manual, Introduction to Poetry by Billy Collins, and Understanding Poetry by Grant Snider.

You will also find poetry ideas in our Craft Studio and Try This Tomorrow posts.

Happy Poetry Month!

GUEST WRITER KAITLYN GIROUX RECOMMENDS SPICE ROAD BY MAIYA IBRAHIM

Feb
06

“It is magic, how words can be deadlier than daggers.”

In a world where magic tea is taken to heighten one’s powers, where monster roam free and ancient councils make warriors out of children, seventeen-year-old Imani has spent all her life mourning her brother who perished in the Forbidden Wastes. When Imani hears a rumour that Atheer might not be dead after all, she gathers a team of warriors and an array of weapons and sets out into the desert to rescue her brother after years of him being gone. Along the way, Imani and her team face obstacles, monsters and magic that test their abilities and make her questions where her place really is.

Fans of Children of Blood and Bone, Divine Rivals and Shadow and Bone will be captivated by Maiya Ibrahim’s Arabian inspired YA fantasy novel. Spice Road has something that will appeal to every reader. With elements of magic, myth, war, romance and adventure, Spice Road is an excellent book to introduce readers to a new genre they may not have thought to try. Maiya Ibrahim’s deep portrayal of the Arabian inspired fictional city Qalia is enthralling and pulls readers in, making it near difficult to put down the novel. While set in a fictional city, Spice Road is an excellent book to introduce readers to cultures that they may not have been exposed to before, as Qalia is based on ancient Arabian myth and culture.

I would recommend Spice Road to high school students who are looking to try a new genre. This would also be a great novel to use when introducing students to worldbuilding, setting, character and plot. Whether readers pick up Spice Road for its adventure, worldbuilding or strong female heroin, there is something for everyone!

Kaitlyn is a student from the Bachelor of Education program at the University of New Brunswick.

 

 

 

 

 

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM MARGIN NOTES

Dec
21

Our final post of 2023 is the perfect time to reflect on the literacy learning we’ve shared over the past year,  and celebrate not only the festive spirit but also the dedication, passion, and unwavering commitment each of you has brought to the world of literacy education.

May your days be merry, your hearts be light, and your well-deserved break be filled with the warmth of loved ones and the joy of a good book.

With gratitude and festive cheer,

Jill, Jane, Christie, Lauren, Melissa & Sonja

GUEST WRITER ETHAN CHARTERS RECOMMENDS THE WAGER BY DAVID GRANN

Dec
19

I cannot imagine how much time and effort goes into a book Like The Wager.  Author, David Grann, spent countless hours researching a tale almost lost to history, and it has certainly paid off.  This book is based on a true story. On January 28th, 1742, a ramshackle vessel washed up on the coast of Brazil, the men inside were barely alive.  They were crew members of the British Man O War: The Wager, and they were chasing Spanish gold when their ship was wrecked on a desolate island off the coast of Patagonia. At first, they were considered heroes, until another vessel washed up in Chile. This vessel had three men who were accusing the first group of some of the most heinous crimes known to man. Both groups would eventually be court-marshalled to discover the truth, with the stakes being life and death.

We all impose some coherence—some meaning—on the chaotic events of our existence. We rummage through the raw images of our memories, selecting, burnishing, erasing. We emerge as the heroes of our stories, allowing us to live with what we have done—or haven’t done.” (prelude, page 5)

There are so many aspects of this book that make it attractive to a wide variety of people. From sailing the seas to shipwreck and murder to courtroom drama, this story encompasses a wide variety of themes that would appeal to such a large audience. In fact, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio have already acquired the rights to Grann’s book, in order to put this story on the big screen. And this isn’t the first time they’ve done it. Killers of the Flower Moon, the new Scorsese/DiCaprio movie, is written by David Gann.

Ethan Charters is a student from the Bachelor of Education program at the University of New Brunswick

 

WELCOME TO THE 2023-24 SCHOOL YEAR FROM THE LITERACY TEAM

Aug
29

Well, that went fast! It feels like we were just wishing you a wonderful summer, which we hope you had. As sad as it is to say goodbye to summer, we are very much looking forward to the year ahead. There are many new literacy teachers in our district, so we would like to take a minute to introduce the literacy team: 

Jill Davidson – Literacy Subject Coordinator grades 6-12, FEC & OEC 

Jane Burke – Literacy Subject Coordinator grades K-12, WEC 

Christie Soucy – Literacy Learning Coach grades 6-12, OEC & FEC 

Melissa Walker – Literacy Learning Coach grades 6-12, OEC & FEC 

Sonja Wright – Literacy Learning Coach grades 6-12, WEC 

Lauren Sieben – Literacy Learning Coach grades K-8, WEC 

Our typical blogging schedule includes a weekly Book Recommendation and another post that is a Try This Tomorrow, a Craft Studio, or a Literacy Reflection. We hope that you will subscribe to our blog to gather ideas, inspiration and new book titles. 

Looking forward to connecting, learning and celebrating with you throughout the 2023-24 school year.  

RACHELLE AND NIC RECOMMEND DOG MAN BY DAVE PILKEY

Aug
08

Click on the image to watch the book trailer

BEST WISHES FOR A SPECTACULAR SUMMER: A MESSAGE FROM THE ASDW LITERACY TEAM

Jun
15

As the school year draws to a close, it’s time for literacy teachers to take a well-deserved break and enjoy the summer months. The literacy team want to extend our heartfelt appreciation for your dedication and hard work throughout the year. You have tirelessly nurtured a love for reading and writing in your students, sparking their imagination, and empowering them with essential literacy skills. As you embark on this well-deserved break, remember the profound impact you have made in the lives of your students. Take this time to celebrate yourself and all that you and your students have achieved. You are true champions of literacy, and we look forward to witnessing your continued success in the coming year. Enjoy your summer, and we’ll see you refreshed and ready to embark on another amazing literacy journey!

Jane, Jill, Christie, Melissa, and Sonja

Farris, G. Summer Reads. Cup of Jo.