Tuesday, June 07, 2005

After the grades are in...

Fellow Teachers,

The grades are in. So far the kids are still in the dark and have no idea what they're getting. So I'm safe, at least for the time being.

Today I brought movies as lessons. The one for the 10th grade didn't even have subtitles. Ok, it hardly had any words, just some narrative and great animation. Maybe it was risky for me to bring, davka, that one. It was George Orwell's "Animal Farm." First the kids booed, claiming it a baby movie. A few never returned from the loo, but the rest stayed glued to the tube to the end. I wonder how much they understood. They fled when it was over, not willing to have a discussion, neither on content nor use of metaphors. Let's get that literature taught.

I really had planned on showing them "1984," but the place I rent my movies didn't have a video of it, and the school doesn't have DVD. I hope the thought police don't read my blog, or I'll be banished!

Luckily the 9th graders had a different movie. They couldn't have handled "Animal Farm." I brought them one of my all time favorites, must have seen it dozens of times and love it, never bored by it. I'm talking about "Remember the Titans," a true story. Ok, with a few additions and changes to suit Hollywood.

I used it for teaching a few years ago, and a great time was had by all. I show it to my students every year, which is why I couldn't show it to the 10th grade; they saw it last year. The first time I used it, I made a real research project. You can even email real members of the team. It's the story of a high school football team that was forcibly integrated when the city's high schools were 'restructured."

It's clean enough for me to show, great acting, great story, super-great music... and you should have seen my students. They'd probably say that this was the best lesson all year. I must agree!

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