Tag Archives: film

School of Rock

The boys have really been getting into The school of rock.

They seem to be enjoying it so much, Maria and I are thinking that maybe we should have let them watch it at the beginning of the year. They’re engaged, they respond to discussion, they’re making connections – bliss. Or maybe it’s just that all our hard work – trying to awaken their powers of observation, to encourage them to think critically and creatively – maybe the fruits of our labours have finally started to come through.

I was thinking that the boys have been raised on media – it’s not really surprising, on the one hand, that they are in tune with the interpretation of visual clues. However, watching lots of TV and film does not necessarily produce critical analysis. This is where I’m hoping that we’ve had some influence in gently prodding (what am I talking about! pushing from behind!) the boys into a way of thinking and responding. Or just having guided discussion so often that it becomes a mindset.

To me, this is literacy. Doesn’t matter if they’re reading a book, watching a film, reading a graphic novel or listening to music – being able to talk about what you’ve observed and the reasons for your thinking is what literacy is about.

Following our discussions throughout the viewing of the film, we’ve put up a few questions onto the ning – the same ones we’ve talked about – as a way of consolidating the discussion, and allowing the boys to formulate these ideas into their own words. These are just short answers, but the idea is to provide regular time for sustained responses.

It’s also important for them to feel a sense of community by reading their colleagues’ responses and respond to these. As I’ve said before, in this way, they’re not writing for the teacher alone, they’re writing for each other.

These are our initial questions:

List some of the stereotypes represented in the film. What message about body image do you get from the film? Which characters have a problem with body image? Why do you think that is?

Dewey has an unusual style of ‘teaching’. What do Dewey’s students learn from him?

Back to school

Back to school for the last term of the year, and the second day of Daylight Saving – not a great way to come back, but we survived.

Maria started by asking what the boys did during the holidays – I always find that serves a dual purpose: beginning gently by talking about the students, and also showing them that she’s interested in them, and sharing stories amongst the students. Some students were fortunate to be able to go overseas in the two-week break – one travelled to Thailand and another to Africa.

I explained to the boys what I’d uploaded to the ning during the break. Firstly, the screen shots of the film, School of rock, which they’ll be studying soon, along with questions to spark thinking and analysis of the film.

Zack’s father has strong views on playing the electric guitar. What are they? What impressions do you get of the relationship Zack has with his dad?

Trivia: The finger point and nod that Jack Black teaches Zack is actually a move that Angus Young of AC/DC performs in concerts.

Each screen shot has a comment box so that students can write their answers, and these can all be viewed together, as well as further commented. It really works so well, so much better as a collection of responses visible to everyone, and enabling further discussion, than the usual collection by the teacher of separate responses with no further response from the class.

Next we toured the fiction blog, looking at reading possibilities, checking out author websites and trailers. We looked at Anthem of a reluctant prophet by Joanne Proulx. The book has its own, attractive website, Stokum Sucks.

The boys were impressed that the book came with a playlist (I think). We also looked at a post entitled If you like this, then you’ll love that, with ideas for similar series or genre.  Then we scrolled and skimmed, reminding the boys to check the blog regularly for reading ideas. During lunch the boys met Maria and me in the library so we could help them choose books.

And that was that. First day of fourth term. I think we’re going to have a good one.