Thursday, July 30, 2009


We started simply with the idea that we would show a year in the life of a class --my class, which is part of an open classroom program... but more specifically the life of the children in the class. Being that it was a documentary project, we figured the story would emerge. What we perhaps didn't realize was how many stories would arise, and how difficult it would be to follow any one of them in an environment where children move freely, and many activities are happening at the same time. So part of the process we have been engaging in since the filming period ended has been looking for what stories we can tell well. Tom always knew that we wouldn't be able to give equal weight to each child (harder for me, because I see each one as equally important!). While filming he attempted to identify a few students to follow more carefully. Interestingly, as the year went along, the ones he originally picked didn't always turn out to be the ones who he found himself following. At this point we have identified 7 students whose development we think we caught enough of. We'll see as we edit how many can be intertwined with the rest of the action of the film.

So what became clear by the time we finished the initial reviewing of the footage was that we have plenty of stories, but keeping track of them, and building to a climax that ties things together will be our challenge. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Every time I run into someone whom I haven't seen for a while, I'm asked "How's the film project coming?" I usually think to myself "the long answer or the short one?" and go for the short one: "Slowly but surely!"

And sure enough, I have slowly arrived at the point where I can start blogging a better answer. At almost 4 years since we began, I think we are getting a handle on what we are doing!!

I am at this moment sitting in Tom's entirely windowless editing studio. I sit next to him with my laptop, while he edits with at least four monitors showing images and data. I see my former students frozen eternally as 8-10 year olds, and relive over and over again my last year of teaching. So when I meet them on the street, and their voices have dropped, I am startled to find they are now 12 to 14!