You are on page 1of 11

What is Beautiful?

DiPompeo 1

What is Beautiful?
For Eleventh Grade
I. Context:

The following lesson will be implemented at Marple Newtown High School, a suburban
public school outside of Philadelphia encompassing grades 9-12. The school has 1200 students with
the classroom size varying between 15-20 students. Eighty-seven percent of the student population is
classified as white, ten percent is classified as Asian, two percent is classified as black, and less than
one percent is classified as Hispanic. This lesson has been developed for use in Grade 11 English
classes. The classroom will be used for the first three days of the unit. It should have movable desks
that will be moved into small clusters for group work. The classroom should also include a
computer, projector, computer screen, and Internet connection for daily lessons. In addition, a
Macbook computer lab with at least 10 computers will be needed for the creation of iMovies on the
final day of the unit.
In this lesson students will explore an article, two film clips, and a commercial, which focus
on taking time to appreciate manifestations of beauty in simple things. They will analyze media to
learn about our culture, and then create their own media representations showcasing beauty. Marple
Newtown serves as a great atmosphere for this lesson because it supports a collaborative
environment between students, teachers, and community to provide “state of the art educational
opportunities” (“Marple Newtown School District,” 2009).

II. Rationale:
We all have heard the phrase "stop and smell the roses," yet do we actually do that? I live in
an extremely lively and beautiful place full of activity, art, and people; however, everyday I fail to
appreciate its beauty. Like most people, I am in constant movement working towards a purpose. My
mind is always clouded with to-do lists growing longer and longer by the minute. Walking through
campus I miss the gorgeous autumn trees rich with golden, orange, and red leaves. I miss seeing
loving glances between couples and little kids' smiles as they run around Old Main lawn. But most
importantly, I miss moments solely for myself where I can take in these sights and sounds around me
that I find aesthetically pleasing.
We live in a world full of natural beauty. From sunrises to star filled skies, this beauty is
easily found everywhere. We also find manifestations of beauty in life actions, people, and
relationships. However, our students have developed in a fast-paced society, and therefore, many of
them run blindly through the relentless busyness of the modern world. Especially with today’s media,
our students are bombarded with messages of war, crime, and hate. The media fails to point out the
simple things in life that help make our world beautiful. My goal through this lesson plan is to make
them aware of their surroundings to experience life to its fullest.
Furthermore, through this unit students will be able to construct their own definitions of
beauty. In our society models with unrealistic bodies many times define beauty. In addition,
technology enhances beauty giving a false image to our youth. By looking at manifestations of
beauty in actions, people, and things students will learn what beauty means to them.
According to English education standards, educators need to provide tools and guidance to
students so that they can build an “understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the culture of the
United States and the world” (NCTE/IRA, 2009). Through this lesson plan students will investigate
and analyze three texts: a newspaper article (“Pearls Before Breakfast”), two short film clips
(“American Beauty” and “Koyaanisqatsi”), and a short commercial (Dove). After reading, viewing,
and analyzing these texts students will form a better understanding of our society and its values, and
What is Beautiful? DiPompeo 2

be able to better themselves.

III. Objectives:

Students will be able to:


• Investigate the newspaper article, “Pearls Before Breakfast,’ which explores people’s
inability to take time to notice and appreciate beauty
• Analyze two short film clips (American Beauty and Koyaanisqatsi) that demonstrate people’s
inability to take time to notice and appreciate beauty
• Analyze a short commercial that demonstrates society’s false image and definition of beauty
• Recognize the construction of media messages through discussion on Koyaanisqatsi
• Write journal entries responding to these texts and their daily experiences
• Create an iMovie presenting quotes, music, and photographs of items they perceive as
beautiful
• Write a short analytical paper (3-4 pages; 1.5 spacing) that synthesizes and reflects on journal
entries and iMovie

IV. Standards:

National English Language Arts Standards:


This media literacy lesson plan and project meet the following NCTE/IRA standards:

NCTE/IRA Standard #1: Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an
understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the culture of the United States and the world; to
acquire new information; to respond to the needs and demands of society and the workplace; and for
personal fulfillment. Among these texts are fiction and nonfiction, classics and contemporary works.

NCTE/IRA Standard #5: Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different
writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of
purposes.

Pennsylvania State Standards:


This media literacy plan and project satisfy the following PDE reading anchors for grade 11:

• R11A.2.3 Make inferences and draw conclusions based on text.


• R11A.2.4 Identify main ideas, relevant details and generalizations.
• R11A.2.5 Retell or summarize the major points or procedures of the text.

Media Literacy Standards:


This media literacy lesson plan and project satisfy the following media literacy standards (from the
state of Montana):

• Content Standard 1 –Students recognize that media messages are constructed using specific
techniques which manipulate sound, image, text and movement to convey meaning.
• Content Standard 3 –Students apply knowledge, skills and strategies to design and create
media messages.
What is Beautiful? DiPompeo 3

Students will meet NCTE/IRA Standard #1 by reading a nonfiction article and viewing a fiction text
(movie). In these texts they will learn about the culture of the United States. Students will meet
NCTE/IRA Standard #5 by keeping a journal, writing analytical responses, and writing a reflective
essay. Moreover, students will meet the PDE reading anchors for grade 11 listed above by exploring
the nonfiction article. Students will be dissecting the main ideas and points, so that they can come up
with their own opinions. Finally, students will meet the Media Literacy Standards by analyzing the
two film clips (“American Beauty” and “Koyaanisquatsi”), the Dove commercial, and by creating
their own media message using iMovie technology.

V. Grade Level: This lesson plan is designed for grade 11 because it fulfills Pennsylvania’s
academic standards for reading critically in all content areas. Through this plan students will be able
to “use and understand a variety of media and evaluate the quality of material produced” (McGraw
Hill Glencoe, 2005). It also fulfills Pennsylvania’s standards for learning to read independently by
having students interpret fiction and non-fiction texts including public documents (McGraw Hill
Glencoe, 2005).

VI. Materials
• A hard copy of the article “Pearls Before Breakfast”: I will need as many copies as I have
students. This article will be read for homework, but will be analyzed and discussed in class
on the second day of the unit.
• Journal Entry Prompt: This handout will describe what should be included in journal entries.
I will hand it out on the first day of the unit.
• iMovie/Response Paper Prompt: This handout will describe what should be included in the
iMovie presentation. It will also list questions to be answered in the response paper. I will
hand it out the first day of the unit.
• iMovie/Response Paper Rubric: This handout will list how students will be scored for their
work. I will hand it out the first day of the unit.
• Koyaanisqatsi Discussion Questions Worksheet: This handout will list various discussion
questions on the clip from Koyaanisqatsi which students will answer in small groups
• Notepapers, pen/pencils: These items will be used to take notes in class during discussion.
They will also be used for journal entries.

VII. Technology Resources


Technology Materials:
• Mac Computer lab: Approximately 10 Mac computers will be needed for the student group
iMovie presentations. This computer lab will be open for student use after school and during
the weekend, so they can continue working on their projects outside of class.
• iLife ’09 Software: This software will be used to create an iMovie presentation.
• Internet Connection: The Internet will be used by students to find pictures and video for their
iMovie presentation via the creative commons website. In addition, I will use youtube.com
to show my film clips.
• Projector: This projector will be used inside the computer lab and classroom to show my
iMovie presentation to the class as an example.
• Projector Screen: I will use this screen in my classroom and computer lab to show film clips
and sample presentations.
• Digital Cameras: If students do not have access to a digital camera they will be able to
borrow some of the school’s to take pictures for their iMovie presentation.
What is Beautiful? DiPompeo 4

Problems of Practice:
• The school may not have access to computers. If this happens students can take pictures
using any camera and create hard copy collages for the final presentation.
• The school may have old software. If this happens the class will have to adapt to the version
of iMovie the school has to offer. I will give a presentation on how to use the older software.
• The school lacks a computer projector screen. If this happens I will use a television and
DVD player to show film clips. I will need to purchase or rent the films. In regards to the
commercial, I will print out images of models in advertisements and in real life to discuss.
• The school does not have access to digital cameras. If this happens the students can build
their projects using approved pictures from the Internet.

VII. Preparation Time


The class periods will be 50 minutes in length, and the lesson plan will take four class
periods. If I feel students need more time to complete their media products I will make adjustments.
Additional time will be needed for the various homework assignments listed below:
• Monday: Students will read the article “Pearls Before Breakfast” on their own. They will
also write a journal entry. This will take approximately 30 minutes.
• Tuesday: Students will write a journal entry. They will also take pictures or find pictures
through the creative commons website for their iMovie project. Time spent will vary.
• Wednesday: Students will write a journal entry. They will also take pictures or find pictures
through the creative commons website for their iMovie project. Time spent will vary.
• Thursday-Monday: Students will work with partner to finish iMovie presentation. They will
also use this time to write a short response paper for their iMovie presentation.

VIII. Brief Review of Learning & Products:


“It's about failing to see the beauty of what's plainly in front of your eyes.” This quote taken
directly from the article, “Pearls Before Breakfast,” explains the focus of my mini-unit. We live in a
world filled with natural beauty. We also find manifestations of beauty in life actions, people, and
relationships. However, our students have developed in a fast-paced society, and therefore, many of
them run blindly through the relentless busyness of the modern world. Especially with today’s media,
our students are bombarded with messages of war, crime, and hate. The media fails to point out the
simple things in life that help make our world beautiful. Through this mini-unit my students will
become aware of their surroundings and what they find aesthetically pleasing in their society and
culture. Through the analysis of several texts and the production of an iMovie students will learn to
appreciate beauty in all forms.
This mini-unit will explore five media texts. First, students will look at the Dove commercial
and a short clip from American Beauty and respond with a free-write activity. Second, students will
read the newspaper article, “Pearls Before Breakfast,” and respond in small and large group
discussion. Third, students will compare a film clip from Koyaanisqatsi to a video from the “Pearls
Before Breakfast” experiment. After exploring these five media texts, students will create an iMovie
presentation with a partner. This presentation will include a montage of pictures, quotes, videos,
lyrics, and songs that represent what they define as beautiful.

IX. Procedural Description of Activities:


Day 1: “Introducing Topic”
Pre-activities:
• Show Dove Evolution commercial (1.14 min)
o Step one: In this commercial Dove shows how a model is made over with make-up
What is Beautiful? DiPompeo 5

and technology to fit our society’s vision of beauty


 Materials: Projector, Internet Connection, Computer, Computer Screen
• Show clip of the film American Beauty (2.34 min)
o Step one: In this clip one character shows a video of a plastic bag he filmed, which he
claims is beautiful. The clip ends with him saying, “Sometimes there's so much
beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it, like my heart's going to cave in.”
 Materials: Projector, Internet Connection, Computer, Computer Screen
• Freewrite (10 min)
o Step one: I will ask: How do you define beauty? What do you think the character
means when he says in the first clip, “Sometimes there’s so much beauty in the
world...”? What do you find beautiful? Students will then write for 10 continuous
minutes on this topic.
 Materials: Pens/Pencils, paper
• Discussion Web (10 min)
o Step one: Students will pair up and share freewrites with one another. They will find
common themes and ideas in their freewrites.
o Step two: Student pairs will pair up with another pair to make a group of four. They
will share common themes and ideas of their freewrites.
 Materials: None
• Large Group Discussion (10 min)
o Step one: Students will generate discussion on the topic as a large group. They will
share common themes and ideas between groups.
 Materials: None
• Introduction of Project/Journal (6 min)
o Step one: I will hand out prompts for the journal entries and iMovie/response paper.
I will also hand out a rubric for the iMovie/response paper.
o Step two: I will go over the journal assignment and explain that every night they
should write in their journal about things they found beautiful in the world that day.
The journal will be graded for completion.
o Step three: I will introduce the iMovie presentation and response paper that will be
due four days after the lesson plan is completed.
 Materials: Journal Prompt, iMovie/Response Paper prompt, Rubric for
iMovie/Response Paper
Problems of Practice for Day 1:
• The school may lack a computer projector screen. If this happens I will use a television and
DVD player to show film clip. I will need to purchase or rent the film. In regards to the
commercial, I will print out images of models in advertisements and in real life to discuss.
Day 2: “Pearls Before Breakfast”
Pre-activities:
• Pairing Students (3 min)
o Step one: Students will be asked at the beginning of class to find a partner for their
iMovie presentation. This partner will also be who they share their journal with at
the beginning of each class.
 Materials: None
• Sharing Journals (5 min)
o Step one: Students will read journal entry from the night before with their partner.
What is Beautiful? DiPompeo 6

 Materials: Completed journal entry


Activity:
• Review the main themes of “Pearls Before Breakfast”
o Step one: Students will get into small groups of 3 or 4 and create a simple cartoon to
go with the article that represents main themes (15 min)
o Step two: Students will present and explain their cartoon to the class (15 min)
 Materials: Pens/Pencils, blank computer paper, color pencils
o Step three: I will ask the students in a large discussion format to reflect on the article.
How did they feel after reading the article? What were their favorite sections? (10
min)
Problems of Practice for Day 2:
• There are no problems of practice because I will not be using technology during this day
Day 3: “Compare/Contrast Koyaanisqatsi”
Pre-Activity:
• Sharing Journals (5 min)
o Step one: Students will read journal entry from the night before with their partner.
 Materials: Completed journal entry
Activity:
• Compare/Contrast “Pearls Before Breakfast” video with clip from Koyaanisqatsi
o Step one: I will give my students a list of discussion questions before viewing the
videos. While handing out worksheet I will give a brief introduction of both films. (5
min)
o Step two: I will show both film clips (15 min)
o Step three: Students will split into groups of four to answer discussion questions (10
min)
o Step four: Students will come back together as a group and generate discussion in a
large group format (10 min)
 Materials: Discussion Question Worksheet, Internet Connection, Projector,
Computer, Projector Screen, paper, pen/pencils
Problems of Practice for Day 3:
• The school lacks a computer projector screen. If this happens I will use a television and
DVD player to show film clips. I will need to purchase or rent the films.
Day 4: “iMovie Presentations” (Will be working in Mac computer lab with partner)
Pre-Activity:
• Sharing Journals (5 min)
o Step one: Students will read journal entry from the night before with partner.
 Materials: Completed journal entry
• My iMovie Presentation (5 min)
o Step one: I will show my students my iMovie presentation representing what I found
beautiful in the world.
 Materials: Mac Computers, Projector, Screen
Activity:
• Creating iMovie (40min)
o Step one: With their partner students will compile their pictures together. They will
use pictures they took on their own and either upload or scan them into the computer.
They can also use pictures found on the creative commons website. They have the
What is Beautiful? DiPompeo 7

option of integrating favorite quotes, lyrics, or video into the movie as well.
o Step two: Students will choose songs to be played with iMovie presentation
o Step three: Students will begin creating actual iMovie using software
 Materials: Mac Computers, Internet, iLife 09 software, digital cameras
Problems of Practice for Day 4:
• The school may not have access to computers. If this happens students can take pictures
using any camera and create hard copy collages for the final presentation.
• The school may have old software. If this happens the class will have to adapt to the version
of iMovie the school has to offer. I will give a presentation on how to use the older software.
• The school does not have access to digital cameras. If this happens the students can build
their projects using approved pictures from the Internet.

X. Intermediate Conclusion
Media no longer reports our culture; it is now part of our culture. Living in a media saturated
world, our youth is bombarded with media daily. They take in these images as real things. To help
our youth decode these media messages it is important that they become media literate. Through this
mini-unit students will further develop their media literacy by analyzing a variety of media texts.
Students will “recognize that media messages are constructed using specific techniques which
manipulate sound, image, text, and movement to convey meaning” (Montana Office of Public
Instruction, 1999). In addition, students will apply their knowledge by creating their own media
message in the form of an iMovie. Finally, students will further develop their writing, synthesizing,
and analyzing skills through daily classroom activities.
Moreover, students will gain critical consciousness. Critical consciousness is the ability to
recognize injustices in our society and to take action against them. Through this unit I will open my
students’ eyes to the world around them. They will learn to appreciate the beauty of culture and
society, which are many times thwarted by social, political, and economic oppression. My students
will become critically conscious of their surroundings allowing them to ignore these oppressive
forces to look at life and its natural splendor.

XI. Allocation of Points


For this mini-unit the total points that can be earned are 135. These points are broken
down below:
1. Journal Entries- 10
2. iMovie- 50
3. Short Response Paper- 35
4. Presentation-20
5. Participation- 20
*NOTE: Participation and Journal Entries are graded for completeness on a daily basis
What is Beautiful? DiPompeo 8
What is Beautiful? DiPompeo 9

XII. Rubric Categories and Criteria for Products:

iMovie Rubric
Quality Criteria Ineffective Adequate Effective Points
1. Content Content of iMovie does not display Much of the content of iMovie Content of iMovie displays clear /20
evidence of subject knowledge or key displays subject knowledge and some subject knowledge and demonstrates
concepts. Content is confusing and understanding of key concepts. Some understanding of key concepts. All
off-topic. content is inappropriate or off-topic. content is appropriate and on-topic.
2. Attention to The project shows little evidence of The project shows some evidence of The project shows originality and /15
Creativity originality or new ideas. Project does originality and ingenuity. Project ingenuity. Project employs the use of
not employ use of song, images, and employs the use of song, images, and song, images, and quotes to create a
quotes to create a message. quotes to create a message. message.
3. Effective Use of Project ineffectively uses iMovie Project employs use of some Project effectively uses iMovie /15
Technology technology. Little to no cinematic cinematic techniques to enhance technology. Cinematic techniques
techniques are used. Many technical video. Minor technical difficulties (titles, transitions, zoom, audio, etc.)
difficulties when viewing project. when viewing project. are used to enhance video. There are
no technical difficulties when viewing
project.
Total Points Earned /50
Short Response Paper
Quality Criteria Ineffective Adequate Effective Points
1. Content Content of paper does not display Most of the content of paper Content of paper displays a clear /15
evidence of subject knowledge or displays subject knowledge and understanding of subject
key concepts. Content is confusing some understanding of key knowledge and key concepts.
and does not address iMovie concepts. Connects iMovie project Connects iMovie project with
project. with experiences. experiences.
2. Clarity & Organization Paper is very unclear with purpose. Evidence of logical organization. Organization supports purpose. /10
Transitions rarely used. Lacks Transitions are use, but sequence Sequence of ideas is effective.
logical sequence of ideas. of ideas could be refined. Transitions are effective.
3. Attention to Social Justice Demonstrates no understanding of Demonstrates some understanding Demonstrates a clear /10
social justice. No examples of social justice through minimal understanding of social justice
provided. examples from iMovie or through examples from iMovie and
experience. experience.
Total Points Earned /35
What is Beautiful? DiPompeo 10

Presentation
Quality Criteria Does not meet Expectations Meets Expectations Exceeds Expectations Points
1. Subject Knowledge Student does not have a grasp of Student is comfortable with subject Student demonstrates subject /10
subject knowledge. Their knowledge and able to answer knowledge clearly to audience
presentation is confusing for the questions. Student is not thorough through explanation and elaboration.
audience. Student cannot answer with explanations. Student is comfortable answering
class questions. questions.
2. Attention to Presentation is very unclear with Evidence of logical organization. Student has a clear purpose to /5
Organization purpose. Lacks logical sequence of Sequence of ideas and products can presentation. Sequence of ideas and
ideas and products. be improved. products are effective.
3. Time Management Presentation is under or over 5 min Presentation is under or over 2 min Presentation lasts between 7-10min /5
of the allotted time. of the allotted time.
Total Points Earned /20
What is Beautiful? DiPompeo 11

XIII. Professional Development Resources:

(2009). Apple Education: iLife/iWork. Apple.com. Retrieved from


http://www.apple.com/education/teachers-professors/digital-content-creation.html
(2009). Creative Commons. Retrieved from www.creativecommons.org
(2009). Marple Newtown School District. Retrieved from http://www.mnsd.org/.

(2009). National Council of Teachers of English. Retrieved from www.ncte.org.

(2009). Read Write Think: International Reading Association. Retrieved from


www.readwritethink.org.
(2009). Teach With Movies. Retrieved from www.teachwithmovies.org.
Keller, Karen and Weis, Abby. (2007). Film Analysis. Teaching Media Literacy. Retrieved from
http://teachingmedialiteracy.pbworks.com/FilmAnalysis
McGraw Hill Glencoe. (2005). Pennsylvania Academic Standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking

and Listening - Grade 11. Retrieved from

htwww.glencoe.com/correlations/PDFs/0282PA.pdf.

Smagorinsky, Peter. (2008). Teaching English by Design. Portsmouth: Heinemann.


Weingarten, Gene. (2007). Pearls Before Breakfast. Washington Post. Retrieved from
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/comments/display?
contentID=AR2007040401721&start=1241