University School of Milwaukee 6th grade and 7th grade students participated in a program called “Engage and Activate,” hosted by the Cultures and Communities initiative through Milwaukee Film. Each grade level watched a short film and then participated in small group discussions based on prompts related to the film. The discussions were facilitated by the school’s Upper School students.
“We wanted to use film as another vehicle to share different perspectives and engage empathy in students,” said Elina Kats, Middle School counselor. “It’s also a way for students to engage with each other in deeper conversations and explore different ideas.”
Seventh grade students watched a documentary, “Icebreakers,” about a pioneering Black hockey league in Canada, and 6th grade students watched a short film, “Feeling Through,” about an unlikely connection between a teen and a man who is deaf and blind.
“Films, television, and even social media can be great vehicles for parents to involve their kids in conversations that touch on sometimes-sensitive subject matter,” said Kats. “I encourage parents of kids of all ages to talk to their children about what they watched, how it made their kids feel, and how they might have acted in a similar scenario.”