I love showing Dead Poets Society to Grade 12 students.
There’s something special about that movie and that group. They’re not much longer for my building, and will soon be sallying forth to “Carpe diem.”
But, if I must be honest, I’ve always applied the Stink of English class to it by attaching an academic piece to it, often an essay. The film is rich, with lots to discuss and debate, much for students to ponder as they respond in writing. It works for this, and it’s a good piece to give them the “freedom” of an essay response to say what the movie inspires them to say.
And I kind of hate that I’ve done that. My DPS lesson plan was becoming as stolid and devoid of passion as the introduction to poetry Keating has the boys rip out of their books.
So, this year, I revamped things. There was to be no formal response. In actuality, I wasn’t even going to be able to watch the film with them, because I would be away at PD. They watched. Continue reading