Pre-Reading Example #1 (Pics & Qs)

Highways & Byways of Seminole

Take a long look at this picture. Tell me what you see. 

(OK, not really – I can’t actually hear you. But you get the idea.)

Sometimes instead of describing or listing, we’ll do Questions instead - 3 Level One, 2 Level Two, and 1 Level Three. Good times, that.

We’ll discuss, point out details, speculate, etc.  While we want to get to actual ‘facts’ before moving on, I don’t want to cut off or shoot down questions or ideas which are off the mark just yet. Give them time to get there, and nudge only as necessary.

Eventually, we’ll look at a collection of FIVE pictures – ALL AT ONCE! (And you said I didn’t have ‘high standards’.) These 5 pics have something in common – what is it?

5Pics In Common

In class, we’d discuss for a while, and I’d take ideas. Very few get all the way to our subject with just these. Sometimes I’ll eventually take the pictures one at a time and talk them through to my point; other times it has to wait until we’ve come to this subject in the actual unit. 

You know, give them something to look forward to – like I'm doing for you. Come on, I respect you too much to just GIVE you my answer to the connection.

You’re welcome. 

The next one is a bit easier:

Oil Field Equipment

Level Questions, discussion – whatever the spirits choose. Finally, a brief, educational, multi-media historical recreation (known in common parlance as a ‘movie clip’). You know it’s legit because it’s in black & white.

{A clip from Boom Town was inserted here, but Warner Brothers has decided that the bootlegging of their movies from the 1930s in 5-minute increments has become quite a problem lately, and after letting it stand for many long months it's been pulled from YouTube. You'll just have to trust me that it's a nice intro to the craziness of boom towns.}

Boom Town Movie

Then we discuss a bit...

What are some characteristics of a boomtown, if this movie is accurate? What sort of people might you find?

What were some different ways people made a living during a boom, other than working in the oil fields themselves?

What brought our two main characters into conflict? Why were they walking on that little strip of board, anyway? (Bonus points and a sticker to anyone who references “impasse” because we used it to introduce APARTY with that zombie song some time before.)

Before you know it… 

Excited To Learn

And that's why we do pre-reading.

Even if students go through the motions half-heartedly, or even sarcastically, the previewing still works. As we go through the unit, information related in some way to these discussions is now 'stickier' - it has a little mental velcro on it. Sincerity is great - nothing beats genuine interest. But faking it, and faking it hard... well, that's almost as good. 

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