I hope everyone has enjoyed their first few weeks of classes! If your weeks were anything like the normal first few weeks of the school year, it’s probably safe to say they have been busy as ever. Is anyone ready for a movie break? I know I am. This week, I introduce a short documentary that is available as an online resource. It’s just thirty minutes long, but it packs a powerful message. The film is called The Dream is Now and it is about how the broken immigration system in the United States affects the lives of those with the “undocumented” status living in this country. With this resource, I’m building on the themes that Keira elaborated on earlier this week: resources to honor and understand Latin American cultural influences and experiences. As we are led through the broken dreams of the four main students whom the film follows, we are reminded why immigration reform is important in more than just the political sphere. In the classroom, this short documentary could be used (for audiences ages thirteen and up) not only to serve as a reminder that every individual is going through his or her very own struggle, but also to motivate students to work toward seeing immigration reform in their lifetimes.
In addition to being short and motivational, the movie also links to a website that has become an online/virtual support group for people facing similar problems. The site has a great deal of information on the ways the community can get involved with helping reform the immigration system. Perhaps one class assignment could be talking about what students would say to their elected officials if they were to call or write them. The site also offers a DIY Screening Guide, where you can find a Facilitator’s Guide to support screening the film in the classroom. To guide the screening, the guide includes discussion questions for each timed section of the film, a timeline that illustrates how immigration reform has progressed, and a pre-planned activity where students get the opportunity to tell their own stories. Not to mention, the guide ties all of these activities to the Core Curriculum, which may make it easier for educators to justify incorporating the film into their teaching.
While the film is based on the controversial theme of immigration reform, it will be a great way to encourage respectful discussion in the classroom. Furthermore, with the Facilitator’s Guide in hand, viewing the film together in the classroom could be a great way to connect what students are learning to the outside world. I certainly hope this resource can be of use to some of you! At the very least, it’s a great film to watch to remind us why incorporating Latin American content into our classrooms is important!
With warmest wishes,