Saturday, February 27, 2016

To IMovie Events - 2014

IMovie Events

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

English 103 SBCC students in lab working on IMovie
2013 student work - PPs, IMovies

After seeing "Rabbit Proof Fence," in the Spring class of 2014, we generated a list of vocabulary words pertaining to the question - 'what does oppression look like in the movie?   We named all the ways that groups are stripped of their decisions, language, history, culture.....  After that I explicitly asked the students to take into consideration what they saw and predict what they thought the lives of the indigenous aborigines would look like today/the future.  I took down all the words - poverty, sickness, depression, rebellion.......   I then played "Our Generation" and we identified reality by matching the language.  In this way, students learn that oppression, voicelessness, marginalization of any group.... results in certain political and social realities.  And below they tell PowerPoint stories.

2014 IMovie Events

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Marginalization and Voicelessness - Bridges - Telling Stories

       The Spring class of 2014 continues the theme, "Marginalization and Voicelessness." The start was unsteady.  But, we kept at it.  We took the time to understand the "audience."  Our concentration was (and is) on "diversity" and its forever changing definition as we encounter waves of globalization.  Our school and our community reflects this woven community and it makes language a continuous and exciting challenge.  It also means that we must be critically conscious of the audience.  

      As the facilitator, I focus on a partial collaboration with the students that means a somewhat "messy" presentation of what they expect in a structured classroom.  It was challenging.  The messiness of this approach means that it gives each student a chance to give meaning to what they see as voices on the margins.  I did guide the students into viewing the class as one where we make bridges.  In this way, the theme runs through the novels, the poetry, the short stories, and the non-fiction visuals and discussions.  The voices of the authors/poets are diverse.  As we travel with these stories, we attempt to refer to vocabulary from the introductory survey, and we generate language in an explicit manner from the texts, and the visuals (movie "Rabbit Proof Fence" and the 2012 documentary "Our Generation."

     The story in the novel Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat, takes place in Haiti and the United States.  The author explains to us (she reached us through a Skype interview) that she focuses on real life issues that have impacted her life and the larger society.  Through the character Sophie, we experience the immigrant transition, a history story of gender, personal and social violence, more than one woman's challenge, suicide, and multiple levels of healing.

    Long story short!

     Our PowerPoint stories stemmed from our "bridge" discussions. As a guide, I asked the students to create a conversation/discussion that used our theme to bridge "language," Breath, Eyes, Memory, one poem, one short story, a piece of research and "Rabbit Proof Fence."  Their notes were used for large group presentation/ discussion.  All of this preparation was then linked to the groups "telling a  story" about Haiti through fiction and non-fiction.  The students published poems to structure their poems (the summary).  

     They produced the following PowerPoints.  

     Every PowerPoint has a collaborative poem written by students.  In class, we read poems that followed the same structure; the students summarized stanzas and discussed the story.  As a part of the PP, they told stories of the novel's character (fiction) or the story of Haiti (non-fiction); they used the structure of the poem.  

     The poems produced are incredible.  Poems are woven into the PowerPoints and the IMovies as another way of summarizing stories.

PowerPoint Presentations:

Sawyer, Cecily, Bianca

Krissy, Kaoru, Arman, Paul
Jeffrey, David, Wendy, Aliana
Collin, Adam, Nancy

Caleb, Gabby, Savannah
Lexi, Nury, Maria
Rolando, Alex, Katie
Ashanti, Ally
Tina, Summer

Tevin, Otis, Tim


     IMovie expectations:
    Students will be collecting stories from "elders."  Flexibility is the key here as students identify voices on the margins and bring them to the center using IMovie.  It is somewhat open.  
     I did stipulate that the choice of subject has to be someone they know well and admire.  The directions for the interview are simple.  1) explain the theme of the class to your interviewee, 2) ask the person to share something about him/herself, 3) Ask the person to share a story about a time when he/she experienced or witnessed marginalization or voicelessness.
     The final results are amazing and they highlight the importance of flexibility.  It is very clear that the students understand the theme of the class and that they have a "voice" when it comes to identifying an example of that theme.

2014 IMovie Events

IMovie Stories have poems too: Voices of Marginalization and Voicelessness

Ghost Writer Stories for Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
Cecily's story:

A Mother/Daughter’s Unbreakable Bond
    Sophie decides that due to the long flight home from Haiti, it would be best for Brigitte to stay at her mother’s place for the night. Sophie is curious to spend extra time with Martine so that they could begin to restore their relationship on sturdy ground.
    “Are you hungry Sophie?” asked Martine.
    “No, I am more tired than hungry. The flight was draining for us all. Plus, I have to call Joseph and let him know that we arrived safely,” replied Sophie.
    “Okay, well, I have to talk to you about something really important.
    “Sure. You okay?’ asked Sophie.
    “I am pregnant. I don’t know what to do or more importantly, whether or not I am going to follow through with this. I don’t want to mess up as a mother, AGAIN. I was not a good mother to you and just don’t need to have another one. The cancer is constantly on my mind and never knowing how that will end occupies my mind enough.”
     “Mom, I’m here for you and will help you however I can. You and Marc will be good parents. You have Marc, me and Joseph to support you, emotionally, with this baby.”
    “Sophie, don’t call it that!” cringed Martine.
    “Mom, have you talk through this with Marc?’ asked Sophie.
    “Yes. He is aware of everything and still wants the baby but what does he know? I mean really know?”
After Martine told Sophie about how she is uncertain about it all, Sophie began to think that maybe her mother would benefit with talking to a professional or someone on the outside looking in with a different perspective. It has been working for Sophie’s phobia about sex and all the issues that come with just that single idea. The faceless man needs to be confronted so, she decides to ask her mom.
    “Mom, do you think it’s time to talk to someone about your nightmares?” asked Sophie.
   “Don’t be silly, I can’t be helped by simply talking to a stranger. Sophie, I talk to you and I continue to have these nightmares. Why do you think talking to someone else will do any better?” replied Martine.
    “I want to share something with you, mom. I, too, have always had nightmares and I have always felt alone with them until I met, Rena. Rena is my therapist, who is educated and after seeing her regularly I began to meet with two other females who have phobias like mine and yours. We get together and weekly and discuss our lives and release our fears, anger and talk to each other and supporting each other by understanding and acknowledging our suffering, when no one else could.”
    “What kind of phobias?” asked Martine.
Sophie hesitated, trying to find the right words, as to not give her a reason to shut out the idea.
    “Well, I can’t describe it, mom. Just come with me to my support group, maybe you will like it.”
    “When do you go next?” asked Martine
    “Tomorrow night. Is that okay?” asked Sophie.
    “I don’t know…” She replied.
    “Mom, aren’t you willing to do anything to stop these nightmares that plague you?”
    “Yes, I am! Okay Sophie, let’s go then.” decided Martine.

Sophie introduces her mother to her two friends in her support group. Martine sits through the first meeting with a look of disbelief that woman can talk so bluntly about such personal issues.
    Towards the end, Martine begins to embrace their stories and feel the empathy for them, as well.
Martine realizing that so many parts of their stories were familiar to hers. Martine is not alone and this has happened to other people, other children like her. She becomes a regular member of the sex phobia group. Now, they are a solid group of 4 members and Martine has finally shared her story so that her mind has begun to heal.
   “Mom?” asked Sophie with inquisitiveness.
   “Sophie.” Replied Martine.
   “You mentioned in group that the nightmares have not been as frightening or as many, as before. Is that true?” asked Sophie.
   “Yes, it’s true” Martine said with a smile. “I want to thank you for being so brave to have sought out these meetings. What made you seek help like this?”
   “Brigitte” said Sophie, in relief. “I don’t want Brigitte to ever have to fear sleep as we have. To face her problems no matter the embarrassment. I watch her sleep and it’s so content and deep. She loves sleeping and dreaming without fear.
   “Mom, maybe it is time to meet Rena with me?” said Sophie
   “Why, did I say something wrong?” asked Martine
   “NO, nothing you said was wrong. I just want you to know that I needed Rena, to understand new ways to deal with my issues and my phobia. The groups are one way but sometimes it isn’t enough. The trauma still needs to be dealt with on a one on one, with a knowledgeable person.”
   “Well, you have gotten me this far…So, I will meet with Rena. Wait, what are you going to tell her about me?” replied Martine.
   “Mom, you are a big part of my life. The good the bad and everything in between. She already knows about you.”
   “Has she ever mentioned any ways to help me?” asked Martine inquisitively.
   “Yes, yes, mom, she has and that is why I want you to go see her and talk to her.” replied Sophie.
   “Okay, I shall see then.” Martine replied with a questionable tone.
  After 6 months of therapy and support meetings, Martine and Sophie are not just best friends but the closest mother/daughter connection that they could ever have imagined possible!
Martine is now 8 months pregnant with another daughter, and when she comes, Marc and Martine plan to marry. The nightmares are still there but are few and far between. Martine has the nightmares on a rare occasion. She sleeps quietly like a baby. She doesn’t dream at all, as though she has traded in dreaming for simply sleeping contently.
    Six weeks later, the phone rings…
    “Hello?” Answered Joseph
    “Yes! Its time! Please meet us at the hospital, baby Daisy is coming!” Screamed Marc through the telephone.
    “We are on our way!” “Soooppphhiiieee, wake Brigitte, while I get the car .baby sister is coming, NOW!” yelled Joseph.
    “Okay, okay, it’s very exciting but don’t yell, you will scare Brigitte while she is sleeping and I don’t want that.” Sophie said with a loud whisper, as she walked into the bathroom to splash water on her face to wake up.

    Four months later the wedding is on! Sophie is maid of honor while Joseph is best man and little Brigitte is the flower girl and Tante Atie is assisting her down the aisle. Grandma is in the front row and still taking in the long flight from Haiti to New York City. The difference is almost disturbing. We are hoping that  after the wedding they will finally, agree to stay  here in New York, with us, the way it had always been planned.



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