If you are an English teacher who, like me, have become addicted to HBO's TV series "The Wire" , you have probably, like me, at some point thought "I wish I could use this in the classroom". Our students are experienced TV viewers and so are we, but how can we take advantage of this in our English lessons? I recently attended an interesting and very useful lecture by Janne Stigen Drangsholt (University of Bergen, Norway) on this particular topic. Drangsholt presented "The Wire" as a television series that can be used successfully to teach students about certain aspects of American society. "The Wire" has by some been called the best television series of all time. It is set in Baltimore and at first glance it may seem like just another traditional cop show where the viewer in each episode is presented with a crime that is solved at the end of the very same episode. However, "The Wire" is completely different because the makers have attempted to create a TV drama that tells us the real story. No crimes (completely) solved, (almost) no villains caught, no happy endings. The main issues addressed in the series are corruption, drugs and more or less organised crime. In season four the focus is on the children/ teenagers of West Baltimore. Drugs and guns are parts of their everyday life, but in season four the viewers are also invited to join them in the classroom. Of course, the series is at its best if you can watch an entire season, but if you, the teacher, know the season well enough to introduce it to your students, it can be fruitful to simply look carefully at one episode. In her lecture, Drangsholt used episode 8 of season four, "The corner boys," as an example of such an episode that works on its own if properly introduced. She also suggested a couple of newspaper articles to use in class with the episode. I have made this detailed lesson plan based on the episode where I make use of the articles suggested by Drangsholt. The clip above is from an earlier episode in the same season. If you have any comments on my lesson plan or if you have experiences with using "The Wire" in the classroom, please let me know.
I am an English and Norwegian teacher and this blog is mainly a place where I can keep track of what I do or would like to do in my lessons, what resources I find online and what methods and resources we make use of in class. Occasionally I might just share an idea.