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I am a firm believer in reading. Early in my teaching career, I showed movies in class, but I haven't done so in many years. With the easy availability of films on the Internet and elsewhere, students can see movies on their own, if they wish. Class time would be far better spent talking about the book, hosting guest speakers about the holocaust, or reading aloud from the novel.
The first two responses are excellent, but I have an alternative suggestion, or perhaps a supplemental suggestion. Have you seen the movie The Freedom Writers? The movie is based upon the teaching experiences of Erin Gruwell, who watched her at-risk students become transformed by their reading of The Diary of Anne Frank. One particular triumph in the movie comes when the students invite Miep Gies to visit their school, and she does!
In addition to being a movie about reading the Diary, the movie is likely to give students a glimpse into the lives of teens in another kind of world and give them some insight into the difficulties teachers encounter as they try to do their best for their students. There is also a great soundtrack.
It seems to me that this movie makes a good companion piece to the students' reading of the Diary. The movie is incredibly uplifting and life-affirming. I have shown it in classes, and it still makes me cry when I see it.
There is little argument that the previous post did a nice job in pointing out the essential nature of reading. I would like to point out a couple of approaches that could be used in this situation. The first would be that using the film in conjunction with the reading could be quite beneficial. For example, if a nightly reading section assigned was quite powerful, matching that reading up with a selection of the film in the next day's class could help fortify reading comprehension and allow students to posit their own nations of how that particular scene should have been staged. It might make for a more lively discussion of both the themes in the previous night's reading as well as how scenes are characterized in different individuals' mind. If one goes with this approach, I would suggest not showing a scene that is longer than nine or ten minutes. Another approach to utilizing the film would be after the book is completed and then offering a writing prompt that compares the effectiveness of the film in depicting the book. Where was it strong and where did it lack could be two opening questions. Finally, I might also suggest that students see portions of the film and then be challenged to find similar depictions in other films that accomplish the same thematic purpose. This enhances comprehension for it applies textual analysis to other and different realms.
Yes, I remember the movie Freedom Writers. I feel that showing a movie is also a part of learning. I would like to show the movie during the end of the read aloud session.
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