I have come to fall in love with teaching in Catholic schools. What are YOU in love with?...

"Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you will spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything." - Pedro Arrupe

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Let's Go to the Movies...

Showing movies in the classroom sometimes get a bad rap.

And this is understandably so - The teacher needs some extra time to do something? Put on a movie. Kids are engaged. Time is yours. Boom. Done.

Perhaps a common response: "All you did was show movies in your classes today? Sooooo, you didn't teach..."

Not so fast, my friends...

Movies in the classroom have SO much potential - whether you show parts of them or all of them - but the kicker (in my humble opinion) is that the teacher needs to be watching right alongside the students.

Personally, I enjoy using movies in my religion class - in fact, this year I've used three (full-length) ones for my 6th grade class. The videos (and assessments/projects) have met with positive feedback from kids and parents alike. And they have each included some sort of assessment to be completed after viewing. 

The kids are engaged (for the most part), but I usually pause the movie a couple of times each class period to discuss key things going on, reasons for characters' actions, etc. and to address student questions or concerns. And I think that interactions such as these during the films have the potential to make using movies in the classroom successful. This goes back to the idea of watching right alongside your students. (There really is no way around it...)

The movies I've used - "It's a Wonderful Life," "Tuesdays with Morrie," and "The Song of Bernadette" - could be considered ones that are hard for many adults to wrap their heads around. And yet, the students have dug deep within themselves to make connections, apply content material, and think critically.

Clearly, the purpose/curriculum connection(s) must be there. And, the teacher needs to guide the students while viewing the movie, stopping when necessary (much like what would be done during a read aloud or a guided reading session in Language Arts class).

It's no sure-fire formula, but I think the students tend to walk away with a lot more meaning and understanding when they are able to apply their school content knowledge to the movies (or, you know, real-life scenarios - duh).

So, at least in my classroom, I can pretty much guarantee we'll be going back to the movies again soon. (We just won't go too much...)

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