Semiotic Play

Semiotic play involves the translation of a text from one medium to another, whether it is from a book to a video, from a poem to a song, etc.  It is designed to make students locate the core meaning of something, but all the while flexing the creativity muscles in their brain.  Can students turn the concept of mutually assured destruction into a Doctor Seuss book?  Well, Dr. Seuss already did (Butter Battle Book), but by all means, if it’s an activity that both makes key ideas easier to consume, and is fun at the same time, there should be no reason not to.  The following are two videos that I wish to use for the purpose of semiotic play.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQWCtzdEC5g

This trailer, the perfect example of semiotic play by students, not only turns the Butter Battle Book into a movie trailer, is also done by the Ottawa Public Library.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfJZ6nwxD38

This is a video from the Japanese cartoon memoir “Barefoot Gen”.  I hope to use in a semiotic play lesson where students would be asked to convey the imagery presented in this video into text.  The imagery is grotesque defies description, making this assignment a potentially very interesting one.

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