The 2008 Washington Jewish Film Festival has released its schedule. Opening night is a film I have really been looking forward to, Hey Hey It’s Esther Blueburger. The festival, now in its 19th year, will have 59 features, documentaries & shorts representing 10 countries. Other films on the schedule include “Lemon Tree,” based on A the true story of a Palestinian widow who must defend her lemon tree field when a new Israeli Defense Minister moves next to her and threatens to have her lemon grove torn down, and “Like a Fish Out of Water,” a romantic comedy about an Argentinian immigrant to Israel who falls for his Hebrew teacher. One of the highlights of the schedule is a salute to the late documentarian Charles Guggenheim, featuring a presentation from his daughter, particularly apt as the schedule features a number of new documentary films. New Film Fest Director Susan Barocas explains this year’s trend, “We had so many good films to choose from, but the docs were exceptional. It’s exciting to see more and more filmmakers turning the cameras on themselves and the worlds around them, revealing untold stories in their own unique voices.”
A teacher whose budget would no longer cover the expense of printing out his math tests has resorted to selling ad space on calculus quizzes and exams.
Rancho Bernardo teacher Tom Farber says that his budget for print-outs is $300 but the costs are $500. Rather than pay the difference out of his own pocket — or cut down on the number of tests — he is selling small ads to local businesses. “Brace Yourself for a Great Semester!” says one ad from a local orthodontist. Some ads are taken by parents. The ads cost $10 for an ad on a quiz, $20 to appear on a chapter test and $30 for a final exam.
I am sympathetic to the enterprising teacher and to the school administration that chose to cut expenses rather than personnel. But does anyone think that this is a good idea for the kids or the advertisers? Do the kids need the distraction of ads when they are trying to focus on a test? And do advertisers really think they will inspire warm feelings for them and their products if they are associated with the stress of crunching equations for a good grade?
Thanks to fark.com for the reference.
A new website is assembling beautifully produced short films to touch the heart and inspire the spirit. Spirit Clips was created by Oscar-winning producer Rob Fried (“Rudy”) to create unique high-quality content and an online community dedicated to sharing inspirational stories. It is subscription-based (unlimited for a $24.99 annual membership), or you can view the films without joining for 99 cents and send them as e-cards for $2.99. I like the way they are creating a community around the films, asking people to share their most inspiring stories. Check it out if you need a break or for a reminder that there are still movies, even short ones, that pay tribute to kindness, dignity, courage, integrity, and compassion and that watching them can lift our spirits.
Reading Rockets is a national multimedia project offering information and resources on how young kids learn to read, why so many struggle, and how caring adults can help. WETA, Washington DC’s PBS Station, has worked with the U.S. Department of Education to help parents, caregivers, and teachers help children learn to read and love to read.
They’ve created a holiday gift guide with lots of great suggestions of books for kids from toddler to age 9. If you want some ideas for holiday presents that will never require batteries these choices are a wonderful place to begin. Having some reading choices that are funny and exciting and inspiring, books you can read together or let them master on their own, is a good way to make them want to be lifetime learners. And don’t forget that nothing will convey the importance (and pleasure) of reading as much as seeing you enjoying a book or magazine, so be sure to set a good example.