Uploaded by Skyler Chancellor

Freedom Writers Essay

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Skyler Chancellor
ED 100
Daniel Metz
October 3, 2020
Freedom Writers Essay
The movie, “Freedom Writers” is about a gang infested community in Long Beach,
California. There is a new teacher for the freshman English class. The students for the class are
ones who have been “written-off” they were of different races and came from lower income
families. The students were ones who were more concerned about making it to eighteen rather than
graduating high school. The gang activities were affecting all of them tremendously. The teacher
Erin Gruwell is hopeful to help them learn about English and life.
When the movie first starts, and Mrs. Gruwell meets her students, she notices that they do
not respect her. She notices that they do not care about school. The students goof off and yell and
a fight even broke out on the first day. She can obviously see the different groups in her classroom
and wants to figure out a way to unify them. I think over the course of the movie Mrs. Gruwell
builds a good relationship with her students. She makes these relationships by listening to them
and treating them with respect. If you do not respect your students how are you going to expect
them to respect you as a teacher. She also reminds them that they are smart, and they can do what
they want to do, she puts hope in their minds for more than just the gang life they are living right
now. She treats them how they have never been treated before, she encourages them and sets high
expectations for them.
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At the beginning of the movie there was a fight, and the classroom was very separated by
race and different groups within the class. The groups were bullying the other groups and the
classroom was just a bad environment. Mrs. Gruwell notices this and takes action to fix it. She
makes the class move around and switch where the groups sit. This causes eye rolls and snarky
remarks, but the students still follow the rules. She then does some exercises to make the students
in her classroom realize that they all have a lot of things in common, such as knowing someone
close that got killed due to gang violence to if they have the latest Snoop Dog album. When you
show people that they have stuff in common it helps them to relate to each other and not think
about race.
Mrs. Gruwell did a bunch of activities with her class to help them grow closer together.
She did exercises where a yes or no question would be asked and if your answer were yes you
would step closer to the line which caused students to step closer together. As the students
answered the questions, they realized how alike they were and how they should be nicer to
everyone because they all have been through similar stuff. Her class also took a trip to a museum
place that was about the Holocaust, then they also went to dinner after and it helped the class bond
together outside of the classroom. She also introduced journaling to the class and had them write
in journals every day. The students also participated in various fundraiser activities so they could
bring in a special speaker. My favorite thing in the movie that brought the class closer together
was the “toast for change” each student would go up and make a toast for the future. All the
students had something to say and each of their toast were incredibly special to hear.
Mrs. Gruwell uses unique teaching strategies to help her diverse learners engage in the
class. She uses activities that make them feel comfortable in the classroom to speak their words.
She encourages them, she buys them new books to make them feel like they are good enough for
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the newer books, since they were only ever handed old beat up books. She introduces the term
internal rhyme and relates it to rappers like Tupac. By using things, the diverse learners can relate
to will encourage and motivate them to learn in the classroom. She also makes them write in
journals, this helps them learn how to write and since they are choosing what to write about, then
they care to write.
Mrs. Gruwell, during the whole movie, encouraged and helped the students realize that
they are good enough. The students need to believe that there is more to their life than the gang,
by doing so they will want to learn. She makes sure that the students feel respected by her and sets
high expectations for them. When you set expectations for students it makes them feel like you
care and truly believe in them. The result of her encouragement was the student staying in school
and their graded improving tremendously.
In conclusion, this movie was remarkably interesting to watch. It was eye opening to see
how some students might actually be like and feel coming from gang affiliated communities. The
movie showed that it really only takes one person to make a difference. When I think of the kind
of teacher I want to be, I aspire to be like Mrs. Gruwell, the way she shows the students she cares,
that is how I want my students to feel, because I truly will care about them. I would definitely
watch this movie again.