Dear Volunteers and Students,
As part of our effort to build a sense of community in our program, we are trying to reach out to our students and have our students interact with one another through our bi-weekly socials.
Last week we watched Freedom Writers and our wonderful volunteer, Rachel Alade, helped to lead some discussions throughout the movie. We felt there may be some vocabulary that we did not get a chance to identify and discuss during the movie. Thus, we are posting them here so we can continue our discussions. Feel free to post your comments, thoughts or questions on the following thread.
Essential Question: Can you make someone want an education?
Other noteworthy discussion questions:
1. Miep Gies, the daughter of the family that sheltered Anne Frank. She said that the students in the movie are heroes. Why does she say this? What qualities make a hero? Who are your heroes and why?
2. What are moral responsibilities?
3. What would you have done to break the ethnic racial barriers in Ms. Gruwell’s classroom?
4. Do you think there are barriers to the international students on campus? What would you do to break the ethnic racial international barriers on UMD campus today?
5. In what ways does Ms. Gruwell’s classroom become a family for the students? Do you have a “family” outside your actual family?
6. Erin Gruwell is determined to create a positive learning environment in which her students learn about tolerance and are able to succeed. She endures many obstacles on her path to achieving this goal. Do you have a goal that you wish to attain? What steps are you taking or want to take in order to meet this goal? What adversity have you encountered or anticipate on encountering towards this path?
7. What are some of the difficulties in balancing your academic or professional life with your personal life?
8. What would you have done if you were Ms. Gruwell regarding her struggle to juggle between her professional and personal life?
Vocabulary from Freedom Writers (movie)
Initiation:the “ceremony” in which one is made a member of a gang; new gang members are often beaten up to show their loyalty to the gang
Eva was beat up at the initiation. They tried to break her to gain her trust.
Jump: to beat someone up through a sudden surprise attack, usually as a group.
Voluntary Integration: Many school districts have recognized the value of racial and ethnic diversity and its important influence on educating our future citizens. A number of these school districts, as a result, have voluntarily adopted policies and student assignment methods designed to promote racial integration in their schools. In other words, more and more school districts are working to further racial diversity, not out of legal obligation, but of their own accord, as a core part of their educational mission. They do so in recognition of the critical role of schools in fostering racial and ethnic harmony and strengthening our multiracial democracy. This development is without a doubt an encouraging one, as communities across the nation struggle to provide a high quality, inclusive education for all children.
Sophisticated: having a refined knowledge of the ways of the world cultivated especially through wide experience <a sophisticated lady>
Antics: an attention-drawing often wildly playful or funny act or action (childish antics)
Amateur: one lacking in experience and competence in an art or science
You take over neighborhoods? They took over countries! You are just amateur compared to the greatest gang in history (Ms. Gruwell referring to the Nazis).
Overstep one's boundary: transgress or break common courtesy
Ms. Gruwell overstepped her authority when she asked permission from the superintendent for permission to get her students to go to the field trip instead of the department head, which is her director supervisor.
Project: public housing development consisting of houses or apartments built and arranged according to a government-supported (usually for residents with low-income)
Loot: to rob especially on a large scale and usually by violence or corruption; to engage in robbing or plundering especially in war
Plight: an unfortunate, difficult, or precarious (dependent, uncertain) situation
Oppressive: unreasonably burdensome or severe Example: oppressive regulations
Smoke: (slang) kill
(slang) to defeat or surpass decisively
Hook up: To become associated especially in a working, social, or sexual relationship
Dope: (slang) illegal drug (such as marijuana or heroin)
Escort: a person or group of persons accompanying another to give protection or as a courtesy
Engrave: impress deeply as if with a graver
Miep Gies said that the faces of the students are forever engraved in her heart.
Interracial: involving, or designed for members of different races
Refugee camp: Shelter for persons displaced by war or political oppression or for religious beliefs.