Using “Making a Murderer:” best decision ever!

You might think I’m crazy, but let me tell you, teaching documentary analysis through “Making a Murderer” was one of the best decisions I’ve made so far this year. I’ve written a little bit about it before, but let me give you a little update.

Through some awesome help of social media and a friend of a friend, I got a guest speaker to come to my classroom yesterday. Chris Duffy was a reporter in Green Bay and covered the whole Steven Avery trial and fiasco. He now lives in the Twin Cities, right where I teach. Chris recently wrote an article for the Star Tribune about how documentaries are inherently biased. This is exactly what we’re tyring to teach the kids: that they must analyze everything in the media that they see and hear to really understand if it’s credible or not.

First, we read his article. I used DocentEDU to create an interactive, blended lesson for my students that they worked through at their own pace. It really was so awesome to have their online discussion answers to help spur discussion face to face. Then, Mr. Duffy was magnanimous enough to actually come and speak to my students.

My students were so engaged. Chris was a wonderful speaker and was so interesting. He hit on every single point that I had been trying to teach my students over the course of the unit. Our EQ had been, “Are documentaries a credible source of information?” Chris more than delivered. My students asked him questions (based on the DocentEDU lesson) for the whole class period. While reading their reflections afterwards, having Mr. Duffy as a guest really helped them think and learn about how they do and should consume media. The kids were still talking about it today.

Like I’ve said in other posts, I really encourage you to just reach out and find someone to come and speak to your class. I’ve had guests for every unit so far this year, and it always is the highlight of each unit. Just put a call out there and you never know who you might get!


Author: karinhogen

I teach middle school language arts and run an Edtech company, DocentEDU, on the side. Every day is an adventure in my classroom with technology!

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