Goodmorning! For those of you who are able to check out blog before this evening’s class, I ask you to consider these thoughts on the second half of the Gruwell text:
1. While not the most important question to debate, this idea still surfaces in my mind….Looking at the final chapter of the book and Gruwell’s discussion of Hilary Swank, do you feel that Gruwell reveals a very high opinion of herself? If so, do you feel that the making of the movie and Hilary’s acceptance of the role made Gruwell forget her beginnings? If not, do you think Gruwell wanted Swank for the role because she could best portray determination and passion in the classroom?
2. Now for a question that carries more weight…..In our classrooms, we may never actually make it to Primetime Live, Oprah, Warsaw, Auschwitz, or Anne Frank’s annex. However, as Gruwell writes in chapter 29, “I wanted future teachers to embrace the relevancy of education…If I could model the most meaningful moments, then maybe the art of teaching would be brought to life for them in the same way Anne Frank’s and Zlata’s diaries were for the Freedom Writers.” Thinking back to the first few chapters of the book and now reflecting on the long journey of the Freedom Writers, we can see that the relevancy of their education depended on developing intimate connections in their reading and writing lives. The bond they developed with Anne Frank and her legacy truly freed their creativity and perception of the world around them. I ask us for the sake of discussion, how can we set the stage for intimate connections between our students and their reading materials without traveling the world or making headlines? If Gruwell has revealed any good lesson about teaching with heart, I suggest that it is about bringing teaching to life through fostering the intimate, self-discovery of young students. High school is a time of personal growth, identity-finding, and awareness. Young minds are becoming adult thinkers. Our classrooms should set the stage for this transition, even if it is not through travels to Europe. The travels we should be encouraging are inward. -Sofia Penna