In class we’ve been studying theme. On Friday, we talked about how themes are not just an element of literature, but can be found everywhere. To hit the point home, I found a collection of short videos to show the kids and tasked them with identifying the themes within them.
The first clip we watched, was Cheering for Acceptance. It was a news story about the Bettendorf high school cheerleading squad, the Spartan Sparkles. After volunteering for the Special Olympics, the captain of the squad motivated her team to incorporate girls with special needs as a mentor program. The clip talked about leadership, friendship, and the importance of focusing on what people can do instead of what they can’t.
The second clip was watched was A Bullied Student Finds an Inspiring Hero. This clip, which was taken from an episode of Ellen, talked about a college student who had his car vandalized with hateful words because he was gay. When a stranger, who owned a small auto repair shop heard about what had happened, he not only fixed the car for free, but stripped it down to the bare frame and rebuild it.
“That’s fraud!” one of my kids said, after hearing that the young man had to drive his car around town in his vandalized car for 5 months because his family couldn’t afford to fix it on their own. The kids had some pretty good discussions about some of the themes they found in this video.
Our third video, was the famous Susan Boyle audition for Britain’s Got Talent. For the most part, my kids reacted exactly how had expected them to. When Susan walked out on that stage and started talking to Simon Cowell, they started snickering and whispering comments to each other. And then, as they heard her sing the first line of “I Dreamed a Dream,” that switch flipped and, just like the rest of the world, they were in awe by what she could do.
In one class, before she started singing, one of my boys piped up:
Student 1: “You guys all laugh, but you don’t even know. You’re being dumb. You don’t know what she can do.”
And then, three notes into her song, he jumped out of his desk, threw his arms out and shouted:
Student 1: “What! What! See! I told you! I told you! She’s doing it! She’s doing it! You go girl!”
It was very endearing to see a 13-year-old boy, get so excited for Susan Boyle.
In another class, as I was picking up their assignments at the end of the lesson, one of my kids told me:
Student 2: “Miss Lewis, these were great. I mean, the first two videos you showed us were good and all, but that third one? I mean, Susan… Susan Boyle… She just… She just… (by now she’s got both of her hands balled into fist and is pumping them up and down while trying to find the right words)… That Susan Boyle… That video… I’m just ready to go for the rest of the day!”