How appropriate would "Roots" be for a fifth grade class?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Bill Gato, Jan 23, 2002.

  1. Bill Gato

    Bill Gato Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi all,

    I bought the miniseries, Roots today and was thinking that it might be a great way to usher in Black History month for the month of February.

    I have not seen Roots before and I'm not familiar with the level of violence and inappropriate material present in the film. I am teaching a GATE (gifted and talented education) class so my students are actually more mature than most kids their age.

    Help me out here, please. Is there anything about the miniseries that might rule it out as a classroom movie? Are there any graphically violent or nude scenes within the movie? How about inappropriate language (swear words)?

    Any assistance you could give me would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    Billy Fong
     
  2. Steve Tannehill

    Steve Tannehill Ambassador

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    Keep in mind this was Seventies prime-time television. It is definitely tame when compared to, say, AMISTAD, but probably a solid PG. That being said, you might want to get parental approval.
    I saw the original broadcast when I was in the seventh grade. I seem to recall some violence, including whippings and a dismemberment as punishment. I don''t recall if there was nudity in the early scenes...language, I don't remember.
    Have you used DVD's in your classes before? All we ever got were film strips and 16mm films. [​IMG]
    - Steve
     
  3. Julian Lalor

    Julian Lalor Supporting Actor

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    Well, I saw Roots first when I was in the 7th grade and that was when there was far less violence on television than there is today. It certainly didn't upset me. I personally wouldn't have a problem showing a 5th grade class (even one without advanced students) the series.
     
  4. Dave Barth

    Dave Barth Stunt Coordinator

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    I saw Roots in 7th grade about 15 years ago.
     
  5. Scott Dill

    Scott Dill Stunt Coordinator

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    That's about how old I was when I saw it on T.V. and it didn't hurt me any [​IMG]
     
  6. ScottR

    ScottR Cinematographer

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    I think Roots would be fine for a 5th grade class. It does include some violence, and many uses of the "N" word, and there is some nudity in the early scenes in Africa (although much less than I saw in National Geographic in the elementary school Library.) The overall theme of the film (besides American history) is family, so 5th graders can relate to that.
     
  7. Tomoko Noguchi

    Tomoko Noguchi Second Unit

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    A bit much for black history for 5th graders, but you might think about the movie Rosewood for older students (junior high or older).
     
  8. Chas_Michael

    Chas_Michael Second Unit

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    Why bother...
     
  9. John Stone

    John Stone Supporting Actor

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  10. Juan C Toro

    Juan C Toro Stunt Coordinator

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    I haven't seen it since it originally aired on TV, but if my memory serves me, there is a rape scene, but nothing really explicit.

    But then again, as some others have already commented, kids nowadays have a higher level of exposure to violence in TV and movies that us kids from the 70's were used to.

    I think it would be appropriate and enlightening for young kids to see this series, but cover your ass from a law suit: send a memo to the parents for their approval for the kids to watch it.

    JC
     
  11. Robert McDonald

    Robert McDonald Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi, Bill. If you do use it (and for other films) you may be interested in Teach With Movies ; they have discussion materials for the Roots saga. That organization lists the movie as suitable for children 12 yrs old and up; however, I have 2 children who were in a similar advanced placement program in the 5th grade and I had no problem with them watching Roots in the 5th grade. That being said, since there is a question of appropriateness you better send a notice home to the parents to let them have their children opt out.
     
  12. Bill Gato

    Bill Gato Stunt Coordinator

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    Great replies, guys. I really appreciate your help on this one. That being said, I think I will talk to my principal about this and utilize the time-honored principle of CYA by sending home notices for parents.

    I do use DVDs in class as a reward each month for those students that have managed to keep their noses relatively clean. On a side note, I have managed to explain the differences between pan and scan and OAR to my students. Many of them seemed to understand that pan and scan was not the preferred method of viewing films.

    Once again, thanks for all of your assistance. I'll let you know how everything went.

    Billy Fong
     
  13. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    I saw it in seventh grade, so if you're class is gifted students, I don't think it'd be a problem. Of course, since then people have gotten quite a bit more anal about things, so...
     
  14. Zack Scott

    Zack Scott Stunt Coordinator

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    I first saw roots when I was in 8th greade. I do remember some nudity in the film. I don't really think that 5th graders will be able to understand the film as a whole. If you want to cover you butt and still show it...Permission slips are the way to go.
     
  15. Marc Alexander

    Marc Alexander Stunt Coordinator

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    I think it is perfectly suitable but you might want to make the parents aware before you show it. Some of those kids may be bombarding their parents with unexpected questions.

    BTW, what school do you work at? I grew up in Riverside and both my parents work in the Alvord district.
     
  16. Julian Lalor

    Julian Lalor Supporting Actor

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    "Roots" was filmed in 1.33:1. I don't think the kids will get the OAR/P&S issue on this title as it won't be letterboxed.
     
  17. Joshua Moran

    Joshua Moran Supporting Actor

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    I lost all respect for this show once they found out that the creator made it all up and was not based on a real person. Originally the creator was saying that his was his heirtage and that he could have been royalty blah, blah, blah. And some reporters investigated the story and found out that it isn't true. When that came out I just quite watching the series. Never did finish it and probly never will. However from what I have seen, it seemed ok to show to 12 year olds. I wouldn't have a problem with my kids watching it.
     
  18. Legairre

    Legairre Supporting Actor

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    I saw it many, many years ago as a kid(ok one more many). There was some nudity and there is a scene(if I remember correctly) where one of the slave owners rapes one of the slaves. I don't remember how graphic it was, but just something to consider.
    Way to go Bill[​IMG].
     

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