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Cinema is an integral part in almost every child's understanding of the surrounding environment; the cinema is a means by which students may form an understanding and appreciation for cultural diversity. Cinema can entrance and expose students to a world that is beyond their own limited personal experiences. It is a common thread that connects individuals from varying regions of the world. By having the opportunity to expose students to both film and literature of a different geographical location, one will be able to expose them to a culture that has both similarities and differences to their own. Students will explore the geography, economy, and culture of Ireland through the films, Into the West, The Secret of Roan Inish, and The Field. They will study the physical environment of Ireland and contemplate the ramifications of living on an island exemplified by lowlands, pastures and bogs, as well as understanding the correlation between the geography of Ireland and its influence on both Irish culture and economy. In addition, students will discuss the differences between the Irish folktales that have survived for generations and the American legends that have influenced American children for centuries. It is my hope that if children are exposed to cultural diversity in a pleasurable and educational manner, there may be more understanding and compassion for the differences that may exist.
(Recommended for Reading and Social Studies, grades 5-6.)