Thursday, February 9, 2012

Whitman in Louisville: Samantha's "I Sing the Body Electric"

As I have said before, I kind of have mixed feelings about hanging up my teaching shoes at the end of this school year. But there are a lot of reasons why this is the right decision at the right time.

One of those reasons is NOT the kids. It's almost never the kids. Maybe one out of every hundred days I have a bad day because of a kid. Every good day I have at work-- every. single. one.-- is because of the kids.

So, I thought I would share-- with their permission, of course-- some of my students' work on a project called The Whitman Film Festival. We spend about two weeks deeply immersed in the poetry Walt Whitman after we've already spent three weeks or so reading the works of the American Transcendentalists (Emerson, Thoreau, Alcott). At the end of this intense study the students are asked to create a film of a Whitman poem or an excerpt from a Whitman poem; every aspect of the film should reflect an understanding of the character and style of Whitman's works.  Students may work in groups of 1, 2, or 3. The film may not exceed 3 minutes.

I'm not sharing just because I feel like a very proud mama (but I do feel like a very proud mama). I'm sharing because in addition to capturing the tone and style of Whitman's words, many of these films have captured the character of Louisville.

Enjoy. Share these. And it really is true: the kids are all right.

First up: Samantha's "I Sing the Body Electric"  
I've watched this film probably a dozen times over the course of this assignment, and only recently have I stopped tearing up every. single. time. We just showed this film at a school assembly, and I watched as colleagues wiped away tears. Not only is this film exquisitely crafted, it's also courageous. I am so proud of Sam and the other young women who agreed to participate. For all of you who are frustrated with princess-y pink girl culture, know that there is way more to teen girl culture than that.

Here's Sam's film:

And when you visit it, please "Like" it or leave a comment. It's unsettling to see six "dislikes" on this page. The kids are all right, but that doesn't mean they're not mean or jerks sometimes. As we all are.


Fausta said...

This is BEAUTIFUL!! Thank you for sharing it!!


Kara said...

That is truly inspiring and beautiful