Freedom Writers Discussion Questions
Why are the students so unwilling to associate with anyone outside their ethnic/racial groups? Where those this intolerance come from?
What would you do to break the ethnic and racial barriers in Mrs. Gruwell’s classroom?
Think about your own school or out-of-school activities. Are youth respectful of each other’s differences? Are there problems similar to those in Wilson High? If so, what steps can you take to initiate change?
Ms. Gruwell is the first teacher to show trust and respect for the “at risk” students at Wilson High. How does Erin Gruwell demonstrate this? Why are some students more resistant to trusting each other?
Why is trust such an important component of a teacher-student relationship?
How do the classmates learn to trust one another? How does reading and writing initiate this change?
How are relationships healthier when the individuals involved have mutual respect?
Miep Gies, the woman who hid Anne Frank, is a hero to Ms. Gruwell’s students. What does Miep Gies mean when she tells Ms. Gruwell’s students, “You are heroes everyday.”?
Describe the transition in Mrs. Gruwell’s classroom from the first day of freshman year through the end of the year – how have the students changed? How has Ms. Gruwell changed?
Why is Eva so affected by the ending of Anne Frank’s diary?
Have you ever had to overcome a significant problem? Who did you turn to for support?
What makes Eva choose to “go against her people” in the courtroom? Do you think this was a good decision? How doe her family and friends react?
Do you think it’s more important to “protect your own” or do what’s right?
In what ways does Ms. Gruwell’s classroom become a family for the students? Do you have a “family” outside of your actual family?
What are some of the difficulties of...
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