How do you keep 11th graders awake and engaged in school a few days before Christmas break? Show them Greg Lamberson’s film Slime City, then let them interview the writer/director/producer on speaker phone! I have to admit I was pretty surprised by how much most of the kids seemed to enjoy the film (low budget 1980s gore fest!). They were yelling at the screen, laughing at the silly parts, getting grossed out at the climactic … uhhh … chopping. And they got a kick out of talking to Greg about how he made the film. Some claimed to be inspired enough to want to write a movie. Several others want to act in one, and some — inspired by Greg’s suggestion — want to hold a fund raiser to come up with the money to bring Greg to Okieland and make a movie with them.
This was our unit on drama. These kids have already read some Shakespeare. Most don’t like it (any more than I do), but they love movies, so why not study a film? Greg sent us some pages from the script (big thank you to Mrs. Lamberson for scanning the originals!) and we discussed how setting was established, the use of dialogue to advance the story, camera directions, etc. And Greg backed me up on the importance of knowing how to write.
He did it not once, but twice, for my second and fifth periods. Thanks Greg!
and now school is out for a couple of weeks. I have a ton of short essays to read and grade, then a week of benchmark testing, then classes change and I’ll have new students. I’ll be doing things differently next semester. I go from two sections of juniors in English III and only one sophomore section of English II to just the opposite … and some of the sophomores are kids I had in the remedial English I class last spring.
Otherwise, there isn’t much going on here. I’d remind you about this year’s Gift of Lycanthropy contest going on at The Wolf’s Lair message board this month. Oh yeah, and have a merry Christmas, happy Yule, super Saturnalia, happy Hanukkah, or whatever you celebrate around the winter solstice.