“Winesburg, Ohio” Playlist

Image Source: “Winesburg, Ohio” [Book Cover]. Retrieved from: Retrieved from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22094293-hands
Playlists for Close Reading

One of the main challenges I have encountered in the classroom is transitioning new high school students out of summarizing texts and discussing overall themes and into asking them to close-read a specific part or element of the text. I use interrelated short stories to spur this learning process because students can see they are one component of an overall theme, but the distinctness of each tale encourages them to focus on only a few pages of the text. This process can be especially beneficial when all students read a complete collection of short stories, but each student focuses on close-reading a different story in the text. It puts every student in the position of a teacher and allows for a thorough unpacking of the book within a limited time frame. However, I find when I do these types of projects, students rarely spend time interacting with the work their peers produced. Analyses are not the most enjoyable thing to read on a Saturday when there is Fortnite to play.

I created a playlist inspired by the stories in Sherwood Anderson’s Winesburg, Ohio¬†for a Technology for Teaching and Learning Class. I was surprised at how much time I spent interacting with my peers’ playlists, discovering new music and reading their justifications for why a song connected with the text. It was enjoyable to review their projects. This process made me consider how making class playlists is a great way to structure close-reading of interrelated short stories. Each student can choose one story and analyze its connection to a song they like. They not only get a chance to close-read two texts (the song and the poem) but also get to share their music taste with their teacher and peers. This creates a space for students’ to bring their interests into the classroom and helps to foster a stronger classroom community.