Well, it's over.


Okay, the New York City Unit is never really over until we've gotten back from our class trip to New York, and that won't happen for a few more days, but for the most part, the project itself is done.

Each year, I wind up the school year with a unit on the history and geography of New York City to get my 8th graders ready for their class trip and to keep them engaged during the slacky, "I'm-so-outa-here" last month of school.

(I've written about this before.)

Anyway, this year I decided to shake things up a little bit. The particular class we have this year is much more responsible and conscientious than most, and I felt like I needed to take the opportunity to try one, final, overly-ambitious idea while I still could. If there was a group of students who could pull it off, it would be these guys.

So, instead of having them write a term paper on a New York City topic or make a diorama, or something traditional, I asked each of them to pick their topic and make a movie about it. "Then," I said, "let's invite your families in for a New York City film festival. We'll call it the Deer-Becca Film Festival."