The week of April 3 and 5 we will be watching two films that represent, in quite different ways, the high school classroom. Class time on Tuesday the 10th (the following week) is reserved for discussion of the two films.
We will watch The Class during class time and fourth hour on Tuesday (the 3rd).
On Thursday (the 5th), we will watch Freedom Writers in class together, and then we can continue watching it through what is normally our Fourth Hour time on Tuesday. If you can’t stay for that time (5:15-6:00), you will need to finish it on your own. [Freedom Writers is available in the Addlestone Library at Circulation. The DVD can be watched for free in the library. Also, you can rent it through Amazon Prime Instant Video for $2.99, though It isn’t streaming on Netflix, unfortunately.]
Related writing assignments:
Informal writing responses–in the form of a blog post–will be due for each film. You will be able to find these on the blog, under “Assignments,” after class each day we watch a film. (I don’t want the question to spoil or otherwise direct your first response to the film.)
NOTE: The deadline for The Class will be Friday at 8am, as usual.
The deadline for Freedom Writers will be Monday at 8am.
An extra credit essay, if you choose to write it, will be due the last day of class (Thursday the 19th). I will count it as an additional essay worth 5%, to be added to your grade for Formal Writing. The assignment for this essay will be available on the blog, under “Assignments,” after we have our discussion of the films on Tuesday the 10th.
Note that The Class is a French film, made in 2008, that won the Palm d’Or at Cannes 2008 and was nominated for the Best Foreign Picture Oscar in 2009. The film is based on an autobiographical novel written by a French teacher, who then actually starred in the film. The actors playing the students in the class are amateurs, and much of what is filmed in the classroom is improvised by these non-professional actors.
You are more likely to be familiar with Freedom Writers, a 2007 film starring Hilary Swank, set in Long Beach in the wake of the Rodney King beating and riots in 1991-92. Even if you have seen it before, you should watch it fully again for this assignment, as your viewing of it this time should emphasize different features than last time you saw it.
I encourage you not to do any further reading around online about the two movies until after you’ve seen them, so that you’re not predisposed to respond to them in a particular way.