Category Archives: Media Items

The Louvre Museum

Bibliographic information: The Louvre Museum :

Brief description: The Louvre’s website features everything you need to know about visiting the museum. You do not need to travel to Paris in order to take a tour though. The websites offers virtual tours of three sections of the museum. Students can tour the Egyptian Antiquities, the remains of a fortress under the Louvre or the recently restored ceiling paintings of the Galerie d’Apollon. The website also offers a section called ‘A closer look’ which allows students to see the details of museum pieces through a magnifying glass, while hearing commentary and animations on the historical and artistic background of the piece. Another section called ‘tales of the museum’ features animated clips, photographs and stories about the museum and the works it houses.

Qualitative  analysis: This website does not require background information to appreciate the masterpieces at the Louvre. It does however, provide a lot of details and background information to help viewers gain a better understanding of certain works and the museum in general. Purpose or main ideas of works are clearly stated, though some are speculations and not solid facts. The stories of the museum section is narrated in by a limited third person narrator, who provides the details that are available from history. Parts of the site are casual and familiar and others are more formal in tone and vocabulary. The language closely adheres to the viewers linguistic base. Domain specific vocabulary is explained. There is distance between the reader’s experiences and those in the text, but there is acknowledgement of these divergent experiences and sufficient explanation to bridge these gaps.

Subject area: Art, History

Personal thoughts: The Louvre is one of my favorite museums and would love the opportunity to take my students there, but a much more economical and feasible alternative is to take them on a virtual tour.

Subjects/themes: museum, historical artifacts, sculptures, paintings, architecture, tours

Description: The Louvre is the site of an ancient civilization. There are the remains of a fortress under the Louvre, which later served as a palace for the King and is now the home to thousands of priceless artifacts and artworks, such as the Mona Lisa.

High interest annotation: Take a tour of one of the most famous museums in the world without leaving your seat.

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The Adventures of Tintin

Bibliographic information: Herge: The Adventures of Tintin:

Brief description: This website features a variety of information on the comic book character Tintin and his many adventures across various medias, such as books, films, cartoons and games. There is a section about all the Tintin books, which includes a summary of each story, key and supporting characters and pictures. There is also a section of the website about the characters that features more in depth information about each one, including the real life inspiration behind the character, fun facts, the titles of stories they appear in and an overview of their traits and qualities. There is another tab with information about how Tintin began and his author. The News and Happenings section tells about all Tintin related news and events. Then there is the Tintin store with numerous Tintin memorabilia and products. The last link is to the Tintin movie.

Qualitative  analysis: There are a series of Tintin books, so some knowledge of the characters is helpful, but not necessary for understanding. For those who want to find out more about the characters, the website features information about key characters, so there should not be a gap in understanding for those with no prior knowledge of the series. There is distance between readers’ experiences and those of the text; however there is plenty of explanation to bridge the gap. There is a wide array of text features to aid in comprehension, such as changes in font, notes, graphics, etc that compete for the readers attention. The visuals are used to augment and illustrate information in the text. The vocabulary is mostly contemporary and familiar. The language used, closely adheres to the readers linguistic base. There may be some dated phrases that readers are unfamiliar with, but they are easily understood in context.

Subject area: History, Language Arts

Personal thoughts: I found this site when looking for resources for my French class. The French version is a little better, but I still like the English version too. I think these websites that feature characters in various media are great for engaging reluctant readers. I also like the little tutorial on how to draw Tintin, though mine didn’t turn out so well.

Subjects/themes: adventures, Tintin

Series information: The Adventures of Tintin

Character names/descriptions: Tintin is a journalist who travels the world to uncover the truth (and help save the day).

High interest annotation: Join Tintin on his many adventures around the globe, as he investigates and makes his own headlines.

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Bones of Turkana

Bibliographic information: National Geographic Television: Bones of Turkana:

Brief description: Bones of Turkana is a film that follows a famous paleoanthropologist Richard Leakey, his family and colleagues as they look for evidence of human evolution in the Kenyan desert. They are researching traits that make us human and are starting where humanity started, in Africa. This website contains activities for use in the classroom, as well as video clips from the film. The clips address the humanoid fossil evidence and early tools gathered at the Turkana site and its links to evolution. There are also photo galleries and maps to help students learn about evolution from one of the few places with 4.5 million years of human history.

Qualitative  Analysis: Background information is useful, but not necessary for understanding. There is a wide array of text features provided with each video clip, such as a section of background information. The videos also have discussion questions and a short answer for each question. There is also a vocabulary list that includes terms, parts of speech, definitions and for some entries, encyclopedia links as well. Finally, there is an ‘explore more’ link that provides access to more information on the top of the featured video clip. Vocabulary is fairly complex and sometimes unfamiliar, but should not cause problems with comprehension because of the provided vocabulary definitions. There are multiple levels of meaning. Some are clearly stated and others are left for the reader/viewer to identify. The film explores themes of varying levels of complexity. There is distance between the reader’s experiences and those in the text, but there is acknowledgement of these divergent experiences and sufficient explanation to bridge these gaps.

Subject area: History, Anthropology, Science

Personal thoughts: This site has very interesting videos of the fossil dig. I have always been fascinated by archeology, so it is informative to see how things work at the base camp and the processes involved in looking for, uncovering and preserving the fossils.

Subjects/themes: evolution, fossils, humans, Africa

Awards: 2012 CINE Special Jury and Masters Series Awards for Original Digital DocumentaryGolden Eagle Award

Character names/descriptions: Richard Leakey is a famous paleoanthropologist who works with a team to uncover links between humans and ancient humanoid fossils discovered in Africa.

High interest annotation: Join an expedition to uncover fossils that are millions of years old and may hold a key to the evolution of humanity.

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Los Trabajadores/The Workers

Bibliographic information: PBS: Los Trabajadores/The Workers:

Brief description: This video focuses on two men who are day laborers in Austin, Texas. Their stories highlight the dependency of the region on workers who are discriminated against. The men are willing to do almost any job as the cities grows and needs workers, but they wonder why they are not able to share in the wealth they help build. The site features a bio of the filmmaker, as well as a Q&A section with her. There is a section with background information on what day labor is, who does it and why. Another section has links to multiple resources on the topic, including links to websites, articles and books. There are also teaching resources with a discussion guide and quiz about the film.

Qualitative Analysis: Background information on the issue would provide more depth, but is not necessary for understanding. The website has a section with background information for those wanting to know more before they see the film. The story will be of interest because it is a contemporary issue dealing with immigration and the treatment of those who come to the US. In my students’ community there are still many day laborers, so it is particularly relevant. Vocabulary is…Some levels of meaning are stated and others are left to the reader to identify. Organization adheres to most conventions, but digresses on occasion to temporarily provide the viewer with a shift in focus to another view point and place before returning to the main subject. For example, there is a shift to the families left behind in Mexico, so that viewers can see how their lives are affected by the departure of the men to find work in the US.

Subject area: Social Studies, Economics

Personal thoughts: This documentary shows the human side of day labor. Many businesses rely on day laborers and would not be able to run their business without them. However, laborers are frequently disrespected and looked down upon in the communities they helped build.

Subjects/themes: immigration, day labor, Texas

Awards: Audience Award at SXSW and International Documentary Association Award

Series information: Independent Lens

Character names/descriptions: Ramon and Juan are two Mexican day laborers in Austin, Texas, working to make money for their families back home.

High interest annotation: Ramon and Juan are day laborers who take on any job, but are continually marginalized and discriminated against as they do the best they can to build a better life.

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Offical Artemis Fowl Website

Bibliographic information:

Brief description: This transmedia piece links the Artemis Fowl book series by Eoin Colfer, into an number of different formats and reader experience. There are the original books, which are being made into graphic novel format. Then there is an author bio page, as well as ‘secret files’ characters from the series. These files include pictures (graphics), classifications, background, special skills and other intelligence on the assorted characters. The videos tab includes a music video for a song called, ‘Call me Artemis Fowl’, videos of the author performing his novels as ComicCon and various locations across the country and book trailers featuring teasers from the author and graphics of the stories. There is also a game section and a Gnomish Alphabet Decoder.

Qualitative  analysis: This website would be of high interest to Artemis Fowl fans, being well made and featuring lots of graphics, sounds, videos, etc. It may help hook readers on the series and get them even more interested in reading. Knowledge of the characters and their adventures will add to the enjoyment of the site and allow for deeper understanding, but is not necessary for comprehension, as things like book summaries and character biographies are included on the site. There are a wide array of text features, including diagrams, font changes, visuals, sound effects, music, moving graphics and more that compete for the readers’ attention. Graphics and visuals are used to augment and illustrate information. There is distance between the reader and the events of the series, but the website attempts to bring the reader into the story with features like games to get into Artemis’ inner circle.

Subject area: English, Language Arts

Personal thoughts: I think this website is great. It looks very professional and advanced. There are lots of graphics, sounds and different things happening when you click to different parts of the site. A click can set in motion several different things on the page, so it seems full of action.

Subjects/themes: Transmedia, books, graphic novels, music, games

Series information: Artemis Fowl Series

Character names/descriptions: Artemis Fowl, boy genius who, is not daunted by taking on magical creatures and attempting to out wit them.

High interest annotation: Look at the classified files on various characters and find out all the intel in their reports. Decode a Gnomish puzzle or faces the challenges to become a part of Artemis’ inner circle.

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U.S.-Mexico Border: Fences and Deaths

Bibliographic information: National Geographic Education: U.S.-Mexico Border: Fences and Deaths.

Brief description: National Geographic Education has several great lesson ideas for an immigration unit. There is one about the border between Mexico and the United States that discusses what the border is like in different areas and what reinforcements are used to keep illegal immigrants out, such as the triple fenced section at the crossing near Tijuana. The article would be especially good for English Language Learners or students with lower vocabularies because it has definitions linked to vocabulary words.  There are also links to other National Geographic resources (articles, images, worksheets, etc) on related topics. Another related article and assignment on the site has student’s interview migrants in their community to gather their own first hand accounts. I would love to have my current students do a project like this, since many have friends and family who are immigrants (or are themselves from another country). National Geographic is a well respected nonprofit scientific and educational institution.

Qualitative Analysis: A vocabulary list is provided, which lists terms, parts of speech, definitions and links to encyclopedia entries for some terms. This list should help clarify any vocabulary that may be unfamiliar to students. There is also a Spanish phrase that is used in the text, but its meaning is also provided. An image is at the focal point of this webpage. It is a photograph of the fence that separates the US and Mexico at the border near Tijuana. The image is essential for evoking sentiment in the reader. It shows hundreds of white crosses hanging from the fence, which many students will recognize as evoking images of crosses on graves. The caption of the picture explains that the crosses represent those Mexicans who died trying to cross the border, so students who are not familiar with the Christian symbols of gravesite crosses still have access to the meaning of the image.

Subject area: English, Geography, Social Studies

Personal thoughts: I especially like the piece about interviewing immigrants to find out about their personal experiences. This would be especially relevant in my school community where there are many immigrants and diverse cultures.

Subjects/themes: immigration, history, migrants, border crossing, United States, Mexico

Series information: National Geographic Education: U.S.-Mexico Border

Character names/descriptions: The main character of this segment is the border and its different characteristics, such as fences, deserts and rivers, as it makes its way from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. In one activity the characters will be the immigrants interviewed by students.

High interest annotation: Find out about what the border is like at different points along the frontier between Mexico and the United States. Do your own interviews to discover what migrating was like for family, friends or community members.

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Reparation for Mexican and Filipino Farm Workers

Bibliographic information: Oakland Museum of California: Reparation for Mexican and Filipino Farm Workers.

Brief description: This collection, as the title suggests, is about the reparation for Mexican and Filipino farm workers to their native lands. Mexican and even Mexican American farm workers were rounded up by officials and sent in busloads over the boarder. These resources are from the Oakland Museum of California. This website has a collection of photographs showing living and working conditions of Mexican and Mexican American agriculture laborers in the 1930’s. Each photograph has a short description, as well as quotes from people who experienced or witnessed the conditions. There is also a brief history of Mexican immigration from 1900-1930s, which discusses working and living conditions, exploitation, discrimination and government regulations on immigration.  A museum of California seems to be a reliable source for information on what happens in California.

Qualitative Analysis: There are references and allusions to cultural and historical elements. The economical climate is briefly explained and basic background information is given to aid in the reader’s comprehension. Language closely follows reader’s linguistic base and when academic vocabulary is used it is explained. Several themes are explored. The text is about the early 1900’s so there is distance between the readers and the experiences depicted on the website. However, some students may have family who are or were migrant farm workers. This is more likely in communities with large minority populations. Most students will have heard about workers rights and that agriculture works are often not treated well, but most will not have first (or even second) hand knowledge. Sentence structure contains many complex sentences with several subordinate phrases or clauses and transition words. Photographs are the focal point of the online exhibit and the text offers a bit of historical background to help readers interpret the primary source images.

Subject area: History, Social Studies

Personal thoughts: This website has primary sources of photographs which show living and working conditions of farm workers in the early 1900’s. I think seeing actual photographs of the time will help students visualize what the workers experienced. There is also background information about these workers and how they were treated during that time period.

Subjects/themes: immigration, history, great depression, dust bowl, migrant farm workers, reparations, Mexicans, Filipinos

Awards: Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Series information: Picture This: California Perspectives on American History

Character names/descriptions: Migrant workers featured in the photographs of this exhibit are unidentified.

High interest annotation: Find out about the lives of farm workers in the early 1900’s through historical information and a collection of photographs documenting the time period.

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PBS: The Border

Bibliographic information: PBS: The Border.

Brief description: The Border is a PBS Documentary focusing on six stories of the Mexican/American border. The documentary focuses on everyday life, traditions and opportunities in border towns on both sides of the border, contrasting life within the border towns. There is also a timeline telling what the border area was like in the past, up to the present day. Links to other related sites are also included. There was also a follow up documentary called Beyond the Border, which tells the stories of four Mexican brothers and their transition to life in the United States. The website also contains information about a writing contest for students, which includes both creative writing and poetry categories on themes related to the border. PBS is public broadcasting, a nonprofit organization recognized for making quality programming.

Qualitative Analysis: I think the stories will be of interest to students because they remind them that all of their families were at one time immigrants to this land, whether it was recently or before this place was called the United States. The vocabulary and sentence structure varies throughout each vignette and even more widely between vignettes. The documentary is broken up into six separate sections that each have their own focus related to the U.S. Mexican border. The narration is all done in conventional English, with a more formal tone. The parts of the story that are interviews and first hand accounts from people living along the border are more conversational and familiar. Some of the people speak English as a second language, so their vocabulary and sentence structure can vary from traditional American usage at times. The documentary is filmed on video so the moving images and actions of the people are integral story telling elements.

Subject area: Social Studies, English

Personal thoughts: This is an appealing piece because it offers a more intimate look at life in border towns. It focuses on day to day life of people in border towns, rather than border crossing. We get to know more personal stories about immigrants, as seen through the documentary.

Subjects/themes: immigration, traditions, border towns, history, Mexico, United States

Series information: 1st in the PBS Border Documentary Series

Character names/descriptions: families and communities living in border towns in the US and Mexico. For example, one segment follows Richard Montoya, Herbert Siguenza and Ric Salinas who are part of Culture Clash, a Latino theater group, as they work on a piece commissioned by San Diego Repertory Theatre.

High interest annotation: See what life is like on both sides of the border in this documentary featuring the people and lives of those in border towns.

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The Mexican Migration Project: Oral Histories

Bibliographic information: The Mexican Migration Project: Oral Histories.

Brief description: This site shares the findings of a research project to better understand the migration process of people from Mexico to the United States. It contains oral histories in both English and Spanish, which are grouped into the following categories: boarder crossing and working, everyday life and return and those who stay. This seems like it would be a great resource for a Spanish, History or Language Arts class to hear the voices of the immigrants first hand, as they tell their own stories. Text structure and language used is moderately complex. There is also data about migrant workers’ employment, family, earnings, etc. This project is headed by professors at the University of Guadalajara and Princeton University, both of which are well know Universities.

Qualitative Analysis: The vocabulary adheres to the readers linguistic base. Register is familiar and casual. There is distance between the readers experience and those of the text. Unless readers are immigrants, their experiences will not closely relate to the text. The stories are all told in first person and are limited to the perspectives and viewpoints of the narrator, as they tell their own stories of coming to the North. There are a few instances where Spanish words are used mixed in with the English, but the meaning can be found from context. Since the stories are told by native Spanish speakers, some of whom had to quit school at the elementary level, vocabulary is sometimes limited in English. Also, the sentence structure is mostly simple or run on. Some mistakes are found in translations, such as ‘medium class’ instead of ‘middle class’ and other minor vocabulary usage issues. The grammatical and vocabulary mistakes may cause some readers to slow down and read more carefully to fully understand.

Subject area: History, Spanish, English

Personal thoughts: I like this website because it has primary sources and you can read the stories of the immigrants in their own words and find out about their lives directly from the source, both in Spanish and English.

Subjects/themes: immigration, history, migrant farm workers, Spanish

Character names/descriptions: Migrants Hector Liñán, Victor Villa, Miguel Gutiérrez and Baudelio Rosas among others, share their stories of going from Mexico to ‘El Nord’

High interest annotation: Hear migrants’ stories collected here in their own words, both in Spanish and English.

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Voices from the Dust Bowl: the Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection, 1940-1941

Bibliographic information: Library of Congress: Voices from the Dust Bowl: the Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection, 1940-1941.

Brief description: This website has links to many different resources, in multiple formats, such as photographs and interviews with migrant workers in California during the Great Depression. Two journalists visited migrant agricultural work communities and attempted to record the conditions and experiences of the workers. The stories shared by the workers are includes as audio recordings made during interviews and transcripts of the conversations, as well as photographs. There are also musical recordings. The site has a search function, which allows you to see which standards align with the resource. It is a quality source because it is a primary source with first hand accounts of life as a migrant field worker, told by the workers themselves. It is compiled with other resources on the topic by the Library of Congress, which is a respected institution.

Qualitative Analysis: A background of historical knowledge on the Great Depression, migrant workers, labor conditions and tensions in the early 1900’s would all be a useful base for better understanding the photographs, narratives, songs and factors at play in the migrant workers situation. Language is mainly explicit and easy to understand. However, references are made to cultural elements of the time, place and people. Several themes are portrayed. Experiences will likely be unfamiliar to students, though some may be immigrants and able to connect to the experience of coming to the US, though not necessarily life as a worker in the fields. Vocabulary is conversational and familiar and sentences are mostly simple and compound in the oral accounts recorded in this collection. Photographs enhance the audio recordings, but are not necessary for understanding. Just as the audio recordings enhance the photographs, but are not integral to appreciating the photographs. Pictures also include captions to aid in comprehension.

Subject area: History, Social Studies

Personal thoughts: This website is interesting because it has primary sources and you can hear the stories of the immigrants in their own words and have a first hand account of what life was like at that time. I think it would be interesting to compare the life of migrant workers during the Great Depression and now. Sadly I don’t think a whole lot has changed in the decades since these accounts were recorded.

Subjects/themes: immigration, history, great depression, dust bowl, migrant farm workers

Series information: Voices of the Dust Bowl

Character names/descriptions: Jose Flores and Augustus Martinez, two farm workers who share their story in audio recordings. Photographs and music from unnamed workers.

High interest annotation: Hear music performed in work camps, by migrant workers during the Great Depression, as well as seeing photographs and hearing first person accounts of life working in the fields.

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