Going to the show

New English elective incorporates books, movies


Photo by Blancah Mendoza

Alice Henderson will be teaching the new English elective, Literacy through Film, next year.

Monica Kunz, junior, describes a picture she recently saw on Facebook. “It was a book and someone had cut out the middle in the shape of a DVD,” she said. “It was trying to depict how a lot of the book is lost when the movie is made.” This then becomes what she assumes the main focus of the new class will be: seeing how a novel compares to its movie enactment.

This new class will be Literacy through Film, taught by English teacher Alice Henderson.
With a name like Literacy through Film, students can expect a number of possibilities. Reading classics and watching the renditions is the biggest assumption for Kunz, who looks forward to the interesting, buried classics from the 1900’s and early 2000’s. “I didn’t know it was possible,” she said after calling to mind all the budget cuts and the beaten up, worn out supplies in the art and band classes.

After several informal principal meetings, the idea for the class was conceived. The class promises to be better for those who have completed English 3-4 and have trouble keeping their head buried in a book. A cure might be the focusing on the transformation of a book into a movie.

For some students, it’s more of a concern of “what” rather than “how.” Nick Garcia, junior, jokingly hopes that popular series like “Twilight” and “Game of Thrones” will stay off of the reading and watching lists. However, he says it’s “something different,” and is interested in how the class will go about reading a book and comparing it to the movie considering a lot of the main points that people would love to be put in a movie are cut from the script.

Contrary to this, Henderson wants to focus on books and movies from the 1900’s and avoiding pieces students have already read. “Things would be boring if the class was based on (things) students (have) already seen,” she said.
Like Kunz, junior Michealla Booth wonders to what extent the class will go to meet its criteria. “Some really great books have excellent movies, but they are rated R and not PG-13,” she said. Yet, Kunz hopes the school pushes toward treating teenagers like young adults because “that’s how they want us to act and what better way than this.”

Henderson plans on basing the criteria off of reading a book, whether it be a play or a novel, analyzing, and then comparing this to excerpts, and a few full length, from the adaptations of the writing. In spite of this, classes won’t be spent just reading. Lesson plans include analyzing the excerpts from the films and discussing how the characters and the plot develop over the course of the run time. The soundtrack and setting will also be decrypted in order to see if it represents the mood and captures the setting.

Even though there is much planning to do, there are high expectations for its ability to engage students.