Thursday, September 3, 2009

First week thoughts on 'Slumdog Millionaire' and more

One of my colleagues got the idea that we should show Slumdog Millionaire to kick off the year with the 9th graders, because it introduces our course theme of "Coming of Age in an Unjust Society" and focuses on the international issues that our course and school emphasize.

I had my trepidations because (a) I don't like to show full films in my classroom because it simply takes too long, rather I like to show scenes (particularly from Shakespeare) and do some comparison and analysis; (b) I don't like the academic tone that showing a film brings with it, especially to start out the year. However, if it helps emphasize the course theme and teach the students about something from a different culture, then it would work. I'm having them do a lot of analysis of it while they watch it, and hopefully they're not viewing it just as entertainment.

They are, pretty much, enthralled with the film, which we're going to end up spending about 2.5 class periods on. I hope it's worth it. Next week starts our short story unit, and I'm really trying to go a little slower this year with the literary devices and make sure they're learning how to read, not just throwing a bunch of stuff at them.

My 9th grade classes - three of them - are about 30 each. Not too terrible. My senior classes, on the other hand, are the smallest classes I've taught in my career; both are in the low 20s. I'm thoroughly enjoying our study of the IB Oral Commentary so far. I have 43 students and hope to achieve 100% passing for the course at its end, and it will be a challenge with a couple of them. And, I hope I push a few of the brighter students all the way up to a 7, a perfect score. We start Richard III next week and I'm looking forward to it.

Otherwise, I'm just dealing with getting my body and schedule back to the rigors of teaching. Sleep and exercise are precious commodities this time of year. I am commuting on my bike to school about half the time, but find I'm having errands to run after school sometimes that supercede biking. I'm getting used to it, though. Definitely enjoy it, especially the ride home.


Anonymous said...

jai ho

Sarah said...

I will be so interested to see how this goes. Hope it is useful.