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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Classroom Videos…

Friday was yet another easy day in 5th grade. Correct some homework, do the next math lesson, reading assignment and watch a couple videos.

With only about 30mins before class begins, I do not have the time to “preview” any video selections to make sure it doesn’t contain any graphic scenes of violence, sex or other inappropriate visuals that could get me fired, sued or arrested.

Most the time the “video” is a Disney animation feature stretching the definition of Social Studies and History as in Mulan, Pocahontas and Hercules. Others are videos that I have seen before and I know are “ok”.

Friday’s video was one I hadn’t come across before. The description of “The Human Machine” sounded interesting. I didn’t know how it would go over with 5th graders, but if it’s on the lesson plan it must be ok.

Had I seen the unedited cover sleeve (see above), I might have performed a quick scan during recess, but the lower right hand cover graphic was blacked out with a Sharpie pen. It’s on the lesson plan, it must be ok.

The story line has the viewer following a robot/mime like actor as he explores the various functions of the human machine.

From the Amazon editorial review:
…Even the simplest move we make requires a host of complex interactions between our muscles, bones, and brain. DK's Eyewitness: Human Machine lays it all out in a way kids and adults will both love. Their distinctive visual style, using modern special effects, always provokes a "Wow!" from the audience. Examining athletes in slow-motion, microphotography of our tiniest parts, and state-of-the-art imaging techniques for peeking inside the brain, DK shows us what is known and piques our curiosity to learn more. It's rare for a family education video to actually educate the whole family--Eyewitness: Human Machine works and should be a part of any lifetime of learning. --Rob Lightner

While there is nothing visually explicit in the video, it comes close to the “can I get into trouble?” for showing it in class category.

The part on intestines and its end product got a few “oh gross” comments from the crowd. No problem. I think poop is interesting.

The part showing a hairy man in slow motion diving into a pool (…and I mean Sasquatch hairy) got a lot of “icky, gross, eek” comments from the girls, but still not up to the standards of getting myself jail time. It’s on the lesson plan, it must be ok.

The part about the largest human organ, “skin”, had robot man on a beach in southern California watching string bikini bronzed models from the rear. The boys in class got real interested! I think this is the part mentioned in the review about: “always provokes a "Wow!" from the audience!”. I reminded myself: it’s on the lesson plan, it must be ok.

While robot man and I enjoyed the beach visuals, I thought 5th grade boys and girls didn’t need to see four or five transitions to various different views of bronzed beach bunnies in school. The comments from the boys in class confirmed my opinion. I decided not to make an issue of it. It’s on the lesson plan, it must be ok.

We were coming up on the last segment of the video and I started getting nervous about how they would handle human reproduction.

I started walking toward the front of the room so I was within reach of the “Stop” button on the VCR. Fortunately, the video skipped any scenes of hairy Sasquatch guys and beach bunnies getting together. The video skipped directly to microscopic video of embryonic egg development and baby sonograms.

The video ended and I quickly inserted the next video on conservation because:
--It’s on the lesson plan, it must be ok.


Anonymous said...

At least you would have bben able to get to the stop button on the VCR. I worked at one school that had all the videos set up in the office and run through some fancy system. The problem was, there were no instruction on how to start the videos. I was clueless.
BTW I really enjoy reliving sub days vicariously through your blog, as I am no longer able to do it for myself.

The MAN Fan Club said...

Most of what I show is from and our school has an account. I've shown Jeff Corwin videos that ended up talking about "mating for 12 straight hours" and such. Have to preview those for sure.

The MAN Fan Club said...

Could you sub for me in May when we have to show the "puberty" health video?

KauaiMark said...


No way, no how!