Thursday, May 22, 2008

Educational Screenings in San Francisco & Oakland

middle school students in Oakland, California talk about
what they got out of watching JUMP!

JUMP! was selected to launch the San Francisco International Film Festival's Schools at the Festival. Each year, this landmark educational program, produced with the San Francisco Film Society, brings 4,000 students of all ages and teachers to the movie theater to participate in the Festival experience. In addition, they bring filmmakers into schools to meet and discuss their movies with kids in a more intimate setting. Their overall aim is to develop media literacy, broaden insights into other cultures, enhance foreign language aptitude, develop critical thinking skills and inspire a lifelong appreciation of cinema.

I'm about to get heady here. If your eyes are already glossing over -- and even if you're thoroughly interested in educational outreach -- please watch the video above to see what students in Oakland said that they learned from watching JUMP!.

The SFFS educational programs are designed to meet the Visual and Performing Arts Content Standards for California public schools. They provide key media resources for teaching artistic perception, creative expression, aesthetic valuing, historical and cultural dimensions of the arts, and the means for connecting and applying what is learned through film to other curricula and careers.

With their generous assistance, we will be able to make study guides available to educators who buy the film. Coming from such a prestigious institution, this is a valuable resource for us and it will hopefully reinforce the utility of this film.

JUMP! is certainly a lot of fun and about a sport, but it's also packed with good stuff about the core building blocks of learning; it's appropriate for student screenings (and has been shown for dozens of schools to date) and for use in a classroom setting across all disciplines. Without stooping to the saccharine, JUMP! is about kids developing character. Through competitive jump rope, they learn to think outside the box, set and achieve goals, cope with disappointments, and cooperate with as well as to compete against other people. In the face of tremendous devotion and ambition to win, these athletes have formed an international, collaborative community unimaginable in any other competitive arena. These are meaty, important themes.

How cool is it that they picked JUMP! to kick off this year's program? First, they invited several hundred Bay Area teachers to a free screening of the film in March. Then, at the end of April, just under 300 middle-schoolers got to come to the theater to see the film and a live interactive jump rope performance by Jumping for Joy at the San Francisco International Film Festival. And then, with additional sponsorship by Luna Bar, we visited 3 schools, including an after-school YMCA enrichment program.

Kids were thoroughly engaged with the movie, the post-screening Q&A, and the jump rope demonstration. Several chose to stay about an hour after school to learn more. Teachers were excited to see their kids so curious and empowered. The pictures to the left and right show short essays by 6th graders, written before they got copies of the study guide. Click image to enlarge.

All of this outreach was very successful and gratifying. Thanks to everyone who planned and participated! We hope to be a part of the SFFS year-round program beginning in the fall of 2008. Sign up for our mailing list for updates.

PS: Bay Area educators can contact Coach Cindy Joy if they want to learn how to teach jump rope. She and her team want to help new groups get started. Find out more here.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

i love that video of the kids from oakland :]