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Here students assess their school in comparison to Ballou High school and then send letters proposing improvements

Subjects:

Language Arts, Music, Social Studies  

Grades:

9, 10, 11, 12  

Title – Ballou High School Movie Unit – Lesson Plan III
Film Produced by – Casey Callister
Lesson Plan written by – Bobby Koeth III
Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects – Music, Language Arts
Grade Level – 9-12



Introduction:

      Ballou Senior High is a struggling inner city public school located in Washington, D.C. News reports about this school usually focus on its frequent episodes of violence. In contrast to these reports, Casey Callister produced and Michael Patrei directed a 86-minute documentary focusing on a positive influence at this school. They followed the Ballou Senior High School Marching Band on its way to a national band competition. This film shows how the band members overcame the obstacles of their negative surroundings and uplifted themselves and their community.
      Three lesson plans were sent to us by the film’s producer. They challenge students to consider education as a civil right and to create proposals for improving their own school.

In this lesson, students assess their school in comparison to Washington’s Ballou High School and then propose ways to improve their school in letters sent to their principal or superintendent.

      You can learn more about the film

Ballou

      at

www.balloumovie.com

      .

Lesson Plan Unit Table of Contents:
  1. Colin Powell, America’s Promise, and its Five Points

    Age: High School, College
    Goal: Students will analyze Ballou High School through the lens of America’s Promise and create a proposal for decreasing high school drop out rates.
    Time: Three hours or four 45-minute class periods

  2. Civil Rights

    Age: High School, Middle School
    Goal: Students will learn about significant Civil Rights Movement leaders featured in the film Ballou .
    Time: Three hours or four 45-minute class periods

  3. Proposing to Improve your School – see lesson below

    Age: High School, Middle School
    Goal: Students will assess their school in comparison to Washington DC’s Ballou High School featured in the film Ballou
    Time: Three hours or four 45-minute class periods



III. Proposing to improve your school

Primary Subject – Social Studies
Secondary Subjects – Music, Language Arts, Other
Age – High School, Middle School

Goal:

      Students will assess their school in comparison to Washington DC’s Ballou High School featured in the film

Ballou Objectives:

      Students will be able to:

      • Identify and list the attributes of a good school
      • Discuss the film and evaluate Ballou Senior High School
      • Evaluate their own school
      • Create a proposal of improving their school

Materials:

    Film, Attachments

Time:

    Three hours, or four 45 minute class periods

Anticipation:

  1. Have students create an idea web individually. What makes a good school? See attachment A.
  2. Have students share their webs with a partner.
  3. Have two students draw their webs on the board. As those students are mapping out their webs, ask other students to share aloud the qualities they put on their web.
  4. The teacher should also create his or her own web, highlighting some of the things the students might not think about (ex: high test scores, great pay for teachers).
  5. Before showing the movie, give students a brief introduction to the film. Explain to the students the reason for watching the film: to create a proposal to improve their own school.

Main Learning Activity:

  1. Inform the students that, during the movie, they will fill out a handout that will help them with their proposal. See attachment B.
  2. Distribute handout, and watch the movie. (The film is a one and half hours long).
  3. When the movie is complete, take initial responses from the movie. Steer the conversation away from, “It was good” or “I liked it” by posing questions:
    • Did anything in the movie make you question the Ballou students’ education? Or your education?
    • What teaching techniques did you see Mr. Watson or the other leaders use?
    • Has this movie made you think differently about your education?
  4. Either in groups or individually, have the students create a proposal indicating what they would like to be improved about their school. (Before creating the proposal discuss with class what a letter should contain: date, addressee, opening statement, body, closing, signature, etc.) The letter should be addressed to the principal or superintendent. Each proposal should contain:
    • One compliment of the school
    • One reference to the movie
    • One thing they hope would be changed at their school

Reflection:

  • Have the students review their webs to see if there would be anything else they would want to add, and add as necessary.
  • Students can either journal or discuss the following questions:
    • Has this film made you think differently about your school and the adults in your life?
    • What is one thing you could do to improve your school?


Attachment A

 


Attachment B

      In this movie, you will see a school in Washington, DC. Washington’s public schools have always had a negative reputation. Watch the movie, as if you were a school observer. Imagine, the movie is your tour of the school. While watching this film, record every detail you see that is positive and negative about Ballou Senior High School.

Positive Qualities

 

  Negative Qualities

 

E-Mail Casey Callister !

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