In my sixth grade class, we are reading a novel about a photographer in a plane crash.  He lands on a remote island. He only has 10 pictures left in a polaroid camera. His regular equipment has been destroyed in the crash.  The people on the island think his camera is magic. They have never seen anything like this before, and, by the way, neither has my class.

That aside, the big  development in class today was thanks to Juliette. Juliette brought in a polaroid camera to show the class exactly what Flash is talking about in the book.  What luck! I didn’t even know you could find a functional polaroid camera anymore. She read about them in Brazil and was thrilled to find one when her family came here.  This is one of those cosmic moments where what you are doing in class and the reality of the universe converge to make the reading more tactile and real.

Class starts and Juliette walks in with her pale green (yes, it’s green- what are the chances?) polaroid around her neck.  She takes out the film to go with it as the class looks on in wonder. LIke Flash, in the book, I ask her how she will decide what picture to take.  She takes a picture with my near hundred year old antique blackboard in it. Like the character in the book, she turns around three times shaking the picture and the picture begins to appear.  

When the picture appears, Juliette says the black and white contrast is better when the picture is taken outside  So we all go downstairs and out the door and now Juliette has her friend take a picture of her standing with me in front of the school.  We all look on and watch the picture emerge, sheer magic, just like in the village in our book!

I love this novel, because it always makes me think…. If I could only take 10 more pictures, what would they be?  I wonder if they would all be of my precious grandbaby? If you could only take 10 pictures, what would they be? Now I will love this novel even more because it will remind me of the day our class was like that remote island and everyone wondered if maybe Juliette wasn’t working a little magic of her own, making those pictures pop out of that little green box.   

The smile on  our faces echoes the title!  I use this with an intermediate level of English language learners.  It would be appropriate for about 3rd or 4th grade at the elementary level in a mainstream class, if anyone reading this is interested in trying out this book.   I use this novel when I teach figurative language, as it is ripe with examples.

It is sure to make you SMILE.

Making memories real

7 thoughts on “SMILE

  1. Wow, this post captures a lot of magic. Of the book, Polaroid cameras, decision-making, shared experience. We do lose something with the convenience of digital- we lose having to make hard choices. This is something I’m going to think more about.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gotta love your focus on photos, too! My children used to love Polaroids so much. This sentence almost haunts me: ” If I could only take 10 more pictures, what would they be?” – How could I ever decide???

    Liked by 1 person

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