Students in U.S. high schools can get free digital access to The New York Times until Sept. 1, 2021.
“An Ode to the Before Times” is a three-minute animated film that touches on themes of loss, nostalgia, hope and our heroic struggle to keep sane amid our terrifying present reality. In the video, Tala Schlossberg, a producer and animator, ruefully recalls all of the small things she misses from normal life before the pandemic — hugging friends, dancing in crowded places, not being terrified of standing near someone with a dry cough.
What do you miss from the before times? Are there moments of normalcy that you feel nostalgic for? Is there anything from your life a year ago that you took for granted? Do you think someday in the future you might come to miss this past strange and difficult year?
1. Watch the short film above. While you watch, you might take notes using our Film Club Double-Entry Journal (PDF) to help you remember specific moments.
2. After watching, think about these questions:
What questions do you still have?
What connections can you make between this film and your own life or experience? Why? Does this film remind you of anything else you’ve read or seen? If so, how and why?
3. An additional challenge | Respond to the essential question at the top of this post: What do you most miss from your life before Covid?
4. Next, join the conversation by clicking on the comment button and posting in the box that opens on the right. (Students 13 and older are invited to comment, although teachers of younger students are welcome to post what their students have to say.)
5. After you have posted, try reading back to see what others have said, then respond to someone else by posting another comment. Use the “Reply” button or the @ symbol to address that student directly.
• See all the films in this series.
• Read our list of practical teaching ideas, along with responses from students and teachers, for how you can use these documentaries in the classroom.