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Produced by Nick Shepard
Eduvision, 1992. VHS cassette, 20:00 min., $149.00. Distributed by McIntyre Media Ltd., 30 Kelfield Street, Rexdale, Ont. M9W 5A2.

Grades 1-6 / Ages 6-11

Reviewed by Therese Duval

Volume 20 Number 6
1992 November

This short film involves the viewer in six different situations taken from everyday school life. They depict problems that are likely to be faced by almost all school children during their tenure in elementary school.

Scenario one opens on a scene out in the playground. A group of grade I students have just arrived at their designated play area, intending to get up a soccer game. But they are met by a group of older students who have already claimed the area. An argument ensues.

Scenario two shows us a group of children seated together in the lunchroom. One youngster demands that another lend him a quarter. The other demures, saying that his parents have forbidden him to lend the other boy any more money as the money is never returned. The borrower becomes angry and withdraws his friendship.

In scene three, a bus is being loaded in readiness for a field trip. One girl pleads to use the washroom. Instead, once she is in the school, she sneaks into the library and steals a gift given to the librarian that day. Back on the bus, she displays her trophy to her seatmate, who is appropriately shocked.

Scene four opens on a grade I painting class. The easels are up and each pair of students must share a set of paints. One pair is having trouble with this concept. The teacher explains about sharing but as soon as he is turned around, one member of the pair paints an X on the floor. The other doesn't notice her do it. Both deny responsibility when questioned by the teacher.

Scenario five shows us a baseball game. In this case, two friends take each other's side, despite being on different teams and despite the fact that they both know that they are wrong about being safe at base.

In the final scene, two grade 5 or 6 girls are enjoying a game of catch. But one of the throws land on an arm. The injured player accuses her partner of deliberately setting out to hurt her. She gets the attention of another group of girls, who threaten to harm the girl who threw the ball. The injured girl is enjoying the attention and leaves her friend in the lurch.

I viewed this film with another teacher. We both felt that it might have been helpful if the film modeled appropriate strategies for handling such situations. However, it was probably the intention of the producer that individual teachers and counsellors should discuss these problems with classrooms without being limited to only one way of handling the situations. Discussions can focus on the many ways of dealing with such difficulties rather than only one solution.

The production is generally of good quality; however, the child actors do come across as amateurs. They act as if they are acting. Their dialogue sounds rehearsed and their facial expressions are sometimes inappropriate. They may be smiling when they are supposed to be angry. I know that today's sophisticated TV watchers would pick up the amateur performances immediately.

I would not recommend that every library purchase a copy of this production. However, two or three copies at a central school district lending library would probably enjoy good circulation. Creative, thoughtful teachers will find it useful. It fits in with the health curriculum or could be useful in teaching social skills.

Therese Duval teaches a combined grade 4 and 5 class at Isaac Brock School in Winnipeg, Manitoba
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