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AUGUST TO JUNE: bringing Life to school| 1hr : 27mins
Director: Tom and Amy Valens | Producer: Tom and Amy Valens
Focus Years: 2011 | Country: United States
Subject Tags: americas, art, creativity, culture, education, transcendent vision, united states
Quality Tags: Optimistic, Slow, Activating, Harmonizing
AUGUST TO JUNE takes place in the 38-year-old Open Classroom of the Lagunitas School District in Northern California. Intimately filmed, we join 26 third and fourth graders for one entire school year, as their teacher, her colleagues, and involved parents encourage curiosity and creativity, build a community of learners, nurture each child, and find opportunities to develop respect for differences. We witness students engaged in powerful learning, as school goes forward without the lockstep approaches becoming the norm nationwide in response to federal and state mandates. Hands-on activities abound. The teacher’s occasional narration adds depth to our understanding. Most parents at this school have refused to let their children take the high stakes tests associated with “accountability reform.” Visions for their children that go far beyond academic skills are clearly expressed during a parent meeting. Not long into the film, we participate in a “problem solving”: Four girls with different versions of who did what to whom. This process of helping children dissect a problem, and come to an understanding of how their actions affect each other will be explored many times. Interactions on the playground are particularly revealing of the social world the children create. Alani enters in January, the sole African-American. After a cautious start, she dives into the life of the class: making friends, speaking her mind, and finding the first book she’s ever enjoyed reading. AUGUST TO JUNE opens the door to a broader discussion of how we reach and educate the whole child.
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AUGUST TO JUNE: bringing Life to school | 1hr : 27mins

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Tom Valens

United States


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