Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ballads Anyone? Try Dylan Thomas

Angry Sea (Creative Commons license to reuse)
OMG!  What a wonder the digital world is for re-learning!  I am an avid reader of Open Culture, a fabulous site conserving, curating, distributing and indexing free materials that are more useful to ELA middle and high school teachers than YouTube.  Subscribe to the feed.

Today my feed reader brought me Richard Burton reading Dylan Thomas "Ballad of the Long-Legged Bait."

I have included many online audio ballads in my Calameo ebook.  This will link be included in the next version.  What a fabulous way to explore figurative language, compare/contrast of subject matter in literature, compare/contrast the experience of experiencing literature.  It is the perfect raw material for a flipped lesson about either ballads or figurative language (metaphor, symbolism, allusion...).  Or just plain have students listen to the reading.

I have revisited my own ebook with this ballad in mind, leading me to reread many old friends and to find more Dylan Thomas.  Alas, I have lost contact with the vinyl Dylan Thomas Reads... I carted around for over 30 years.  But several editions of this recording and Richard Burton Reads Dylan Thomas (CD) are still available from Amazon.

Or try YouTube.  You will find some mediocre student productions, but also some probably illegal video that includes biographical information about Thomas, readings by other British readers (Anthony Hopkins is no Burton, but he is good), and an amusing reading by Rodney Dangerfield (not of a ballad - the ballads are too long).

My advice?  Go with Burton and let your students explore YouTube on their own.  And have a discussion with students about the ethics and legality of posting to YouTube a cut from a purchased or borrowed copyright-protected video...

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