McFarland, USA is much more than just a sports movie. It's a feel-good movie, but it's more than that, too. After I first watched it with my wife, I knew I wanted my students to see it. The story, based on the the fabulous Gary Smith's 11 year-old Sports Illustrated story "Running For Their Lives," is now on my top-five film list. Here are five lessons I want my students to take from McFarland USA: la familia: The importance of family as a primary motive is beautifully portrayed. Empathy: I want my financially-gifted students who struggle with grade, test score and college admission stresses to empathize with kids who struggle with stresses of an entirely different kind. Psychic Income: Not
What Should We Talk About?
My favorite part of teaching was sharing evocative passages, affecting scenes, meaningful lyrics and innovative ideas with my students. We’d read, watch and listen to them, then think, talk and write about them.
It kept me from the curriculum. But then I’d think, Why isn’t this the curriculum? This is what kids need to learn! For example, after watching the scene where Tom Hanks scolds Geena Davis in A League of Their Own,
“It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great!”
I’d share it with students and explain why I showed it to them. And now I’m sharing passages, scenes, lyrics and ideas with you with the goal of getting a thought-provoking, life-enhancing conversations started.