Return to Headlines

6th Grade Hits The Road From Class Room To Screening Room

It was a double first for both Sleep Hollow Middle School 6th graders and the Jacob Burns Film Education Center for “Class Room to the Screening Room.” Normally the field trip reserved for the older Middle School Grades, but the 6th grade team felt the students were ready to participate in the program, and for the Burns team this was their first event of the 2022 school year, and neither disappointed. The young film goers were treated to a film screening and lively discussion of “Song of the Sea,” an Irish Independent animated film.  

The program included a moderator-led chat with the Jacob Burns Education Program Manager Brandon Shenkman. Students were prompted to look for themes and visuals, and learned about the filmmakers' use of mise-en-scene to tell a story within each frame of the film. The moderator and teachers challenged the students to actively watch the film and the 6th graders were up to the task.

The coming of age tale addressed many themes from losing a parent and the grief that follows, to reuniting as a loving family again.  The beautiful film also conveyed many of the rich mystical stories of Ireland as a young mute girl leads brother on an adventure of discovery.  With the “Song of the Sea” the mystical creatures and the mothers spirit are released, opening the way for them to return to Tir na nOg.  At heart of the story, the siblings and their father are able to heal and move past their grief inspired by the faeries and folklore characters. 

The films end brought about boos, cheers, and applause during the credits from students.  As one teacher joked, “this is how they relate to scenes with emotion” over the noise during the emotional films conclusion.  While the students were moved, they approached the film with a critical eye providing their own analysis of the stories motifs and the filmmakers choices, and many had comments about all of the different themes and the characters evolution.   

Post-screening Noa and Gabby agreed that “the best part of the film was how the brother Ben and sister Soairse grew close and protected each other” and then added “and so cool that so many of the characters had a mythical character so similar to them in the way they looked and acted.”  6th grader James said “Talking before and after helped me to understand the movie.”

The other major take away that both Ms Viera and Mr Schenkman reinforced was the life lesson of perspective and the sharing of stories. “You need to look at a story from all of the different characters' perspectives because then when you do, you can see what is really happening and therefore it helps you understand the entire story and a whole person.”