As we continue to explore the origins and impact of the Civil Rights Movement, we move onto our next set of films. Students will be exploring one of the major historical events of the Civil Rights Movement: The Montgomery Bus Boycott. Students are exploring some of the historical background concerning the why behind the boycott. After their initial examination of some of the primary sources related to the event (and our ensuing discussion), we will be separating into two film groups. One group will watch the film The Rosa Parks Story whereas the second group will watch the film The Long Walk Home. Both films are works of fiction, but tell unique stories of the experiences of those impacted by the bus boycotts, as well as their reasoning why they went forward with their movement. Each group will have individual discussion times, in addition to pertinent background information to study, questions to answer, and a film review to complete. At the end of watching each film, members of each group will have time to share their findings with other groups, allowing for students to share their own learning in a more natural environment.
Please be aware each film does showcase some violence, as well as include various amounts of profanity and racial language. The language used is meant to be authentic to the time period. I do not condone that type of language, but it is important for students to understand (as best they can) the culture and vernacular of the time. Please continue the discussion with your child about the importance of the words we speak and how we can work together to learn from the past, especially as it relates to our word-choice today.
Before we were confined to Distance Learning, we were diligently studying the impact of hunger in Milwaukee and different ways we could make an impact. We have obviously had some changes occur, namely in how we are operating as a class (far fewer opportunities for a live discussion). Students are still exploring the topic of hunger, but since we are no longer in a large classroom setting, we need to make some changes.
As part of that change, students are going to be watching the film The Starfish Throwers (the film is free online so feel free to watch with your student and have a conversation about the what, how, and why of the film). This film documents three people and their question to help end hunger. The hope is, after watching the film with a partner and have smaller discussions, each student will find a way to be inspired and make an impact in their community, in their own way, helping people who are afflicted by hunger (we need to help now more than ever). Obviously our project has shifted in some ways (and worry not, when we do eventually return to school, we will resume with our gardening project), but students can still use their voice to choose how they want to make the world and our community a better place.
We continue with our Student Blogging Challenge, with students working on completing their fourth task (week 4 was a recap week and week 5 was not entirely relevant so we took a week off). I have pasted below the challenge each student is expected to partake in; which is really just a way for them to be more connected to others around the world, as well as build their level of blogging/internet proficiency. This sixth challenge is based on getting students to see the similarities and differences with other classrooms around the world. In addition to this activity, each student will be in contact with their “blogging buddy” from a school in Malaysia
Feel free to check out your child’s blog to see how they did their sixth task.
We continue with our Student Blogging Challenge, with students working on completing their third task. I have pasted below the challenge each student is expected to partake in; which is really just a way for them to be more connected to others around the world, as well as build their level of blogging/internet proficiency. This third challenge is based on getting students to understand how to appropriately use photos when publishing work, as well as how to create images on their own.
Feel free to check out your child’s blog to see how they did their third task.
We continue with our Student Blogging Challenge, with students working on completing their second task. I have pasted below the challenge each student is expected to partake in; which is really just a way for them to be more connected to others around the world, as well as build their level of blogging/internet proficiency. This second challenge is based on getting students to understand how to successfully and appropriately comment on other blogs.
Feel free to check out your child’s blog to see how they did their second task.
As a start to our Civil Rights exploration, our students watched the film Hidden Figures, which documented how women of color were treated (and successfully fought for more rights, responsibility, and recognition) at NASA during the early 1960’s. This film served as a starting point for our discussion on race and how people have been treated historically. It also allowed us to use film as a discussion tool and focus on the educational aspects of film rather than assuming film is purely entertainment (which it can be).
Our next film to explore will actually be a choice for our students. Some students will watch The Rosa Parks Story whereas others will watch The Long Walk Home. Both films explore the bus boycotts of the 1960’s, helping us again set the scene for the Civil Rights movement. In the end, we will compare and contrast the different experiences students understood in the films for the characters.
We took a bit of a break for a few days from our planting research to find out more related to media bias. So many students have been asking about what is in the news and why it is there. I wanted to dig a bit deeper into the role media and social media plays in the information we receive before moving on.
So far, it has been an interesting ride by having them examine different artifacts as they relate to media bias. Some of the students are even starting to uncover some of their own personal biases and trying to overcome those.
We studied different aspects of film (literary, dramatic, cinematic), as well as different ways directors use cameras to help tell a story (ranging from camera angles to types of shots). All the 8th graders are putting that information they learned into practice by making their own film. They need to use the information we studied and apply that to their own film they make, which ranges from 1-2 minutes long.
Hopefully putting the information into practice makes it more real for them so when we are starting to watch our first film this week (Hidden Figures), they can look at the content, messaging, and meaning behind why films are written, acted, and filmed in a certain manner.
Friday is fun day (every day is a fun day, but today is a challenging fun day). Each student will be asked to go to the following website to take the quiz. They have 15 minutes to guess all the countries in the world…without cheating. Once they are done, they will take a screen shot and reply to this blog post. The most countries without cheating wins…care to join us?
Me – 115/196
my ability to guess the countries around the world…I only got 115/196
Although we have been at home and not physically in school, our 8th graders are spending the week learning how to “read” or analyze a film. Yes, all of them laughed at me when I said we were going to learn how to read a film, but alas they are working toward that skill.
With three different mini lessons set up for this week, students are learning about three major aspects of films: literary, dramatic, and cinematic. Literary aspects of films are simple: characters, setting, plot, symbols, and general story line type things. Dramatic aspects are more of the visuals we see: makeup, costumes, and the set. Our last aspect of films, cinematic, is more of what we hear and see in a more subtle way. It in the sound effects, background noise, but also how the camera sets us up and makes us feel certain things.
We watched numerous film clips along the way, which will eventually end in us working toward better understanding the film Hidden Figures as we start our Civil Rights focus.
Until then, if you are free and interested, please participate in our Flipgrid learning session. As part of their study of the cinematic aspects of film, I asked each student to play 30 seconds of their favorite movie score/soundtrack and tell us why it was so important to them (without revealing the movie). Participate by doing your own Flipgrid.
The link is here. Come join in our learning!