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The Freedom Writers Diary

TLED 474, Spring 2013

Stephanie Siemens

on 11 April 2013

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Transcript of The Freedom Writers Diary

by Stephanie Siemens
Sarah Butler & Cornell Nedab The Freedom Writers Diary What is this book about? !!NOW ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS GO
BUY THIS AWESOME BOOK!! The book was published in 1999 in California
It consists out of diary entries by a high school teacher and her students, who were considered "unteachable"
Soon the teacher, Erin Gruwell, changed the teenagers attitude towards school, writing and society and the students soon enjoyed writing about their troubles.
a film was released in 2007 starring Hilary Swank What happened to the students?? Why we think you should not miss out on this book (or the movie): So can we look into the book some?? chapter by chapter • Like the other chapters, this begins with a diary entry by Erin Gruwell
• “Long Beach was dubbed the "gangsta-rap capital" by MTV due to its depiction of guns and graffiti”
• In the beginning, the students see Ms. Gruwell as a joke and look for any way to “break her” but she shows them that she will not be broken
• During this semester there is a race riot and walk-out where students of different ethnic groups leave the school over Prop 187
The Freedom Writers decided not to walk out, but stayed in school and discussed Prop 187 Chapter 1: Fall 1994,
Freshman Year • Begins with Erin Gruwell’s words, “Ahhh, I’m so frustrated!”
• Ms. Gruwell compares Romeo and Juliet to gang rivalries in order to help her students see how unimportant and destructive those rivalries are
• The students learn about diversity by describing a peanut in their own words
They find out that people, who like peanuts, may look different on the outside, but have the same thing on the inside
• The students react to the OK City bombing and see how prevalent violence is in the community
• First field trip to the Museum of Tolerance to watch a documentary “Higher Learning” about prejudice in society
Also hear a panel discussion about Japanese Americans in internment camps during WWII Chapter 2: Spring 1995,
Freshman Year Chapter 3: Fall 1995,
Sophomore Year • Ms. Gruwell plans for the students to read The Wave by Todd Strasser, Night by Elie Wiesel, Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl, and Zlata's Diary: A Child's Life in Sarajevo by Zlata Filipovic.
• The students read Anne Frank and are able to see themselves in her struggle
• The students also read Zlata’s diary which makes a huge impact since she is the same age as the Freedom Writers
Ms. Gruwell tells the students to write letters to Zlata to convince her to come visit them • The students receive a visit from Holocaust survivor, Gerda Seifer
• The students also get to meet Miep Gies, the woman who saved Anne Frank’s diary. She encourages the students by telling them that they are heroes and just as brave as Anne was.
• The Freedom Writers raise money so that Zlata can come visit for a week and teach the students about the terrible prejudice in Bosnia
“Basketball for Bosnia” is organized to raise money and awareness Chapter 4: Spring 1996,
Sophomore Year •Race riot between African Americans and Hispanics breaks out at school. Includes lots of violence and even some deaths•The class reads The Color Purple to learn about misogyny and the dangers of abuse, something that many of the students can relate to whether it was parental or relational abuse Chapter 5: Fall 1996,
Junior Year • Millionaire and sponsor of the Freedom Writers, John Tu supplies 35 computers for personal use of the class (at graduation, the students with the highest GPA will earn a computer for college)
• The class gets to meet Anne Frank's best friends, Jopie and Lies who speak about the horrors of the Holocaust and how individuals should speak out against injustice
• The class adopts the name “Freedom Writers” after the Freedom Riders who opposed segregation during the Civil Rights movement
They also decided to bind all of their journal entries into a book
• Travel to Washington D.C. to speak to the Secretary of Education about their struggles and their book. Chapter 6: Spring 1997,
Junior Year • The class meets Cheryl Best, a woman who grew up in the ghetto and overcame serious adversity to attend college; she encourages the students to attend college as well
• An article is written about the Freedom Writers in the Los Angeles Times which gains them national fame and support Chapter 7: Fall 1997,
Senior Year • The Freedom Writers become the first group to win the Spirit on Anne Frank award and 45 students, along with Ms. Gruwell, are chosen to fly to NYC to accept the award
• Doubleday publishing decides to publish the Freedom Writers Diary (the same publishing company that published Anne Frank’s diary)
• Connie Chung from ABC does a segment about the Freedom Writers, earning them more fame and support
• They also receive the Freedom Fighter Award from Southwest Airlines
• In the end, all 150 Freedom Writers graduated with honors. Many were the first in their family to complete high school. Many also attended college. Chapter 8: Spring 1998,
Senior Year Diary 1: Marina is now attending community college and advocates for immigration rights. Diary 2: He describes his returned visit to his high school to uplift others by describing his struggles and growing up with an alcoholic father . Diary 3: Kayla, a black girl, returned home from college in Boston and became depressed while reminiscing about her college days. Diary 4: A single mother who completed college by joining a Freedom Writers Cohart program that was designed by Ms. Gruwell at no charge. Diary 5: Two previous students who graduated from college and are now colleagues working for the Freedom Writers Foundation who apply scholarships for their Alma Mata. Diary 6: A former student who now attends a college for nursing and is supporting Ms. Gruwell at a teacher institute. For the first time, he tells his story. Diary 7: A former suspended student who graduated from college and is now a teacher at the same school. Diary 8: A former student who was homeless and taken in by his best friend was also a freedom writer. He realizes how proud his mother and the fans were as he attended the movie on freedom writers. Diary 9: A former homeless student who is currently being filmed for a documentary of the freedom writers. Diary 10: Two high school classmates who were freedom writers are now married and have one newborn son. Cornell Stephanie Sarah "I love reading this book because it integrated a first year teacher’s experience in a totally different environment than what she was familiar with. She had students from different backgrounds and different ethnicities describing how they felt about the class and how they progressed in their four years.

My favorite chapter was the first chapter because it was interesting learning about all the different students’ stories and how they thought she was crazy to teach them and what she would be getting herself into. It was interesting and fascinating to me to see how they changed toward her.

I think that parents, teachers, counselors, social workers and anyone else who has to deal with children should read this book because it gives them a range of perspectives within the daily lives of our children." "In short, I was amazed by this book. I was amazed by Erin Gruwell's determination. I was amazed by the bravery of the students. I was amazed by the ambitions and overall success of the Freedom Writers. Reading this book cemented my plans of working with so-called "at risk" children and encouraging them in hopes of a brighter future.

My favorite part of the book was the final chapter, the afterward. I loved seeing how far the students were able to go with encouragement from their fearless leader, Erin Gruwell.

I think others should read this book because it is a true tale of strength through adversity."
"This book taught me a lot about what other people have to go through in their life. It made me appreciate my life so much more. This book is easy to read and it is hard to put down.

My favorite chapters are the ones,w here the class reads the diary of Anne Frank and especially Chapter 6, where the students get to meet Miep Gies. I myself read the Diary of Ann Frank and did a lot of research about he, because she interests me so much. I always wanted to meet Miep Gies and listen to her stories. Unfortunately she now passed away.

Everyone should read this book, because it makes one appreciate life more and also appreciate the different ethnicities we live with today more."
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