Friday, July 31, 2009

The Last Day(s) of Brave Writer at the Movies

(Image from

So today is my last day of the four-week-long Brave Writer at the Movies class. It's been a crazy-busy month with over twice the number of posts as usual in an average four-week "One Thing" Brave Writer class.

We started the class with a discussion of the classic Topper (1937), followed by the story of Rudyard Kipling's son, My Boy Jack (2007). 1986's Ferris Bueller's Day Off returned us to the realm of comedy, and we finished the class this week with the sci-fi thriller I, Robot.

I put up polls today asking about how well they liked I, Robot as well as asking about their favorite film of the class. I, Robot had received four A's and one B at last count, and I, Robot and Ferris Bueller's Day Off are tied for favorite film. I'm sure the votes will change as usually students post through the weekend and sometimes even into the next week after a class officially "closes."

It's been a very interesting class, mostly because I've never had so many students enrolled whom I know IRL (in real life). In addition to my favorite Brave Writer and home-tutoring student, the daughter of my very good friend from grad school joined the class plus three students from Heritage Christian School's co-op Class Days, including one student who was in my Intermediate Writing Class last year. So it was lovely having students I already know in the movie discussion class this summer.

Some of the students are simply outstanding. One 15-year-old young man and a 14-year-old girl are incredible writers, analyzing the films with keen minds and open hearts. I really appreciated their insights and perceptive comments. A few students needed a bit of nudging to write more than a mere sentence or two in response to my multi-faceted questions, but overall it was a delightful class, even though it swallowed up a far larger amount of my summer than I had planned for.

In fact, I think I have seldom worked longer or harder in any Brave Writer class as I have in this one, despite the fact that we had low enrollment as far as number of families. They certainly kept me on my toes! Tonight we topped 850 class posts (almost half by me) in four weeks -- most classes in the Forum Folder have 300-400 posts; only one has over 500. So it has been an extremely busy four weeks of questioning, discussing, encouraging, cajoling, applauding, and writing, writing, writing. My chiropractor can tell the difference this month in how tight my neck has been each Friday after typing so much on the computer each week.

We discussed some quite intriguing topics in Brave Writer at the Movies: whether ghosts exist in our Topper discussion (and one student told us a real-life ghost story that happened to him during our class), whether patriotism can be taken too far in My Boy Jack, the portrayal of adults and the theme of stopping our busy lives to truly enjoy what we have plus father/son relationships in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, and the result of over-dependence on technology and the possibility of robotics by 2035 in I, Robot. We also discussed the more traditional analytical topics of setting, characters, and themes in each film.

In the fall I'll be teaching an MLA Research Essay class for Brave Writer. In addition to the six-week online class in September and October (and possibly a One Thing: Poetry class in November), I'll be teaching my usual Intermediate Writing high school course at Heritage Christian's Class Day in addition to a new class for me, the 4th-6th grade Poetry/Research Class -- which I still need to write up although I have a scheduled syllabus roughed out. And all that is besides teaching our four young people at home, the last year we'll have all four homeschooling together as Elizabeth will be a high school senior. Yes, we'll have two high school students this school year.

So, needless to state, I haven't had much of a peaceful summer. Aaah, well.....

No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin