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Thursday, November 03, 2016

Akeelah and the Bee: Perspective, Perseverance, Privilege, and Power

Yesterday we brought the fifth graders to see the play, Akeelah and the Bee, at the Wheelock College Theater.

For almost three hours the students watched the play attentively. Many had watched the movie before coming to the theater.

This morning, the day after the performance, students spent some time reflecting about the play with questions that prompted them to think about the following categories:
  • neighborhoods
  • characteristics
  • life lessons
  • questions prompted by attending the play
The reflections led to positive class discussions that touched  upon perspective, perseverance, privilege, and power. 

During the play my colleagues and I wondered how students would react to a play that touched upon so many deep and controversial issues. We watched students carefully, listened to their comments, and sent a letter out to family members encouraging them to discuss the play at home with a number of suggested talking points.

Then today we brought the learning full circle with rich discussions. The play was certainly an eye-opener for all students. It made them think, wonder, and learn about life lessons and experiences they hadn't pondered before--that's the strength of quality artistic performances that are willing to deal with critical issues in student-friendly, engaging, and thought provoking ways. 

We'll continue to interject rich, thought provoking field studies and experiences into the curriculum as these kinds of events truly inspire rich learning, questioning, discussion, and action. Onward.