Field Trips Can be Wonderful

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to sit through a movie in a dark theater with 132 middle school students? I can explain that situation in one word….

AWESOME.

This past week the entire 7th grade hall took their students on an epic adventure to the AMC 10 for a private viewing of the movie Wonder. If you haven’t heard about this movie I really do wonder where you have been for the past few months. It is an absolutely incredible story of a middle school boy who enters 6th grade facing countless obstacles with peer relationships, all because the appearance of his face. The movie is based on the young adult novel titled Wonder.

In my ten years in education I have been to the movies with large groups of students twice. The only other time was to see Frozen. Words cannot describe the drastic difference between that experience and this one. For countless reasons…

Students were absolutely glued to this story line. Because for them, it wasn’t a story about the main character Auggie, it was a story about them. No, none of my students have a genetic disorder that disfigures their face, but every one of my students could relate to the feelings of the kids in this movie in one way or another. The applicable storyline was evident from start to finish. Countless students got emotional during the film and less than 10 students left the theater to even go to the bathroom. Wonder was a movie that proved that in middle school, and in life, we need compassion, relationships, and openness to any and all differences that exist in this beautiful, crazy world.

Even as an adult I forgot that I was watching it with students. My heart would burst with love and then break in sadness as I watched the reality of what my kids, your kids, all kids go through. Kid struggles, no matter the actual size, feel big when they experience them. This movie was a reminder of that for me. Speaking of reminders, I was reminded I was surrounded by awkward pre-teens when the main character’s older sister engaged in the most innocent, appropriate kiss ever with her boyfriend. Literally the theater of kids lost their mind in “ohhhhhhhs” and “whoaaaaaas” And… back to reality it was!

The buzz about this film continued outside the walls of AMC 10. The bus ride back to the school was filled with kids engaging in conversation about the movie and their favorite parts. As a 7th grade hallway we decided to capitalize on this and after lunch kids spent the rest of their day having amazing conversations within the advisory family setting. The two hours worth of time FLEW by as a roller coaster of emotions emerged from kids.

If you have ever wondered if a movie can make a significant impact on the life of a child, let me assure you it can. Allow me to leave you with a little wisdom from the movie,

“Don’t try to fit in, when you were born to stand out.”

My friends, my hope is that each day we can come a little bit closer to living in a world where kids are crushing the boxes they are trying to fit in because they are excited about the awesome opportunity to stand out and stand tall as remarkable people.