Saturday, August 4, 2007

Hairspray Crazy (a few tiny spoilers)

Who needs to read and write
When you can dance and sing?
Forget about your algebra
And calculus
You can always do your homework
On the morning bus
Can't tell a verb from a noun
They're the nicest kids in town

GO SEE THE NEW "HAIRSPRAY" MOVIE! I have, twice, in the past week. Tuesday I saw it with my 6 year old daughter G, and we both loved it so much I bought the soundtrack. We've been singing along for 3 days, and last night we took D. to see the SING ALONG version, which just means the lyrics are on the screen. Since there were only a dozen people in the stadium seating theater, I could only hear me and G sing along. It was a blast! Even better to laugh with someone who got all the jokes. Favorite joke is a sight gag: Tracy waltzes into smoke-filled faculty room in her school, during song "I can hear the bells". Favorite punch line: "Link, the pork is ready!" Favorite actor: Travolta, hands down. Before I say too much, JUST GO SEE IT!

Seriously, I'm already plotting how to use the movie in class. Literary terms: "I can hear the bells" teaches METAPHORS (I tried to explain boxing to G), IRONY (see lyrics above). Themes of racial prejudice, racial integration, doing the right thing, don't snooze in school...

I love using movies in class, usually just clips to suit my lesson goals (leading to endless student complaints). I would love to teach a film literacy course some day. Some movies I've used: Napoleon Dynamite, The Truman Show (super connections to novel The Giver), High School Musical (they can sing along, but they don't know what "status quo" means), School of Rock. Others I want to use but never have time to incorporate: Whale Rider, Seabiscuit. Anyone have good suggestions?


Jayme said...

I will have to go see that movie. It's pretty cool that you use movies in class. I think that is an awsome learning technique. Some teachers don't realize how valuable it can be... they are stuck in the only learning from books thing. If I come across any movies that could be vaulable I'll let you know then you can decided if they are usable. (I'm not english teacher, in fact, english was always my worst subject)

roller coaster teacher said...

Since you already answered the question, would you please do the poll, pretty please?! It's on the upper right hand corner of the main blog page.

One of the obstacles to my being an effective teacher is that I WAS good in English classes. What do I have to offer kids who don't usually do well in English, for any number of reasons? So I try different techniques, and I love hearing feedback from people who say "English was my worst subject".

Jayme said...

Alright, so now 100% of people say Yes, they'll go see the movie.

On a completely different note- I was just wondering how long have you been teaching?

roller coaster teacher said...

jayme! you're a gem.

4 years. Sometimes, it's "only" 4 years. Sometimes, it's "already" 4 years. I think 4 years says that I'm still crazy enough to do crazy things, like "nanowrimo" with my students this November. (Have you heard of it? I don't know how to link here, but this is URL: - I'll put link on my blog page. It's entering a contest to challenge yourself to write a novel 50,000 words in one month. The kids version is they set their individual goals.)

Jayme said...

I didn't think you had been a teacher for to long. You have really good and new ideas that I haven't seen a lot teachers with 20 years expeirence have. (I mean all of this in a good way) I think that some of the things you write in your blog (like the movies and stuff) can really helpful.
So I went and checked out that site and now I am completely excited to participate. That would be pretty cool for school also. I like the idea that it doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be written. Have you done that with your students in the past, or is this the first year you're trying it out? Also, do you give them class time to write, or do they work on it at home? Oh, and what age do you teach? Lots of questions haha..

roller coaster teacher said...

Thanks for the compliments! I don't think I would work this hard after, say, 10 years of teaching 7th and 8th graders. I think after 10 years I'll be ready for something different, perhaps still in the education field, no more grading papers pleeeeease...

I just found out about Nanowrimo 2 days ago through another blog page (the Coffee and Critique Writers Group - see blog link on my page). I've always wanted to write a book, so now's my chance! I have to work out the details for students, but right now I think I'll give them both class time (including computer lab time) and home time to write.

Yeah, the worst part of writing is the FEAR, so since the program doesn't judge quality, it's the perfect kick-start to just write something. And for students to see themselves as writers.

I thought you'd find it interesting :)