I think connecting the literature with any kind of media in today's world makes it relevant. When Gregory Peck gives his summation in the court room and walks out with the black people in the balcony standing up it makes a connection for the students. What a fabulous way to show the relevancy of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and the world we live in where people are not given the respect they are due and on the opposite side of the coin...the unfair way the black people were treated in the past.
One of my favorite film moments came when I taught the wonderful poem by A. E. Housman "To an Athlete Dying Young." I discovered that Meryl Streep reads the poem over Robert Redford's grave in Out of Africa. I got the tape and played the before the poem, during the poem, and after the poem. The students loved it.
Any relevant relationship between media smacks of success. Music and poetry are a terrific combo. I taught "Starry Night" by Anne Sexton.
The Starry Night”
First published: 1962 (collected in All My Pretty Ones, 1962)
Type of work: Poem
The speaker reflects on Vincent van Gogh’s well-known painting and on her desire to dissolve into the infinite.
We looked at the picture by Vincent Van Gogh and all the students had to find five relevant facts about Van Gogh and write them down and share with the class. Everyone that had a different fact that no one else had got a sucker. In addition, we compared the poem to Van Gogh's painting to see if Sexton really captured it.
Then the "piece de resistance." I played the song "Vincent" by Don Mclean. The students all wanted copies of the words, and we sang along.
To show you the value of this assignment, one boy who rarely took an interest made a copy of the picture using colored duct tape on poster board with the poem out to the side. It was beautiful. All of the students gave him the strokes that he probably had never received before. I have the picture 15 years later.