Not long ago in my 11th grade ELA class, a student announced to all that she was, well, with child. The class responded with a mighty “ohhhhh.” The sound, heard in muted chorus, could have signified a question, a moan of disappointment, a hint of disapproval or perhaps a basic “you-don’t-say” response. Probably given the fact that there were nearly forty students in the room, all three feelings were communicated in that “oh.”
A wonderful teaching moment should never be ignored, despite all the brouhaha about standards and lesson plans and rigid adherence to curriculum. So, of course, I brought up the film Babies, which only two of the students had seen despite its popular appeal.
Two days later, we were watching this touching and delightful look at the lives of four babies from different cultures.
The students loved it. The film generated good class discussions as well as inspired writing on cultural differences, personal reflections and opinions. . . . I must have gotten three or four good writing assignments out of the class; the best kind — writing that comes from solid interest in subject matter and the desire to think about and express what is on the mind, knowing you cannot be wrong in the opinions you communicate.
Teachers should view the film themselves and then possibly introduce the beauty of non-fiction to a class of any status, from remedial to honors, just to see the wonderful response.
Tags: babies, movie writing assignmemts, nonfiction, teach good writing, teaching writing skills