American history through film class

American History Through Film is a new class this year that many are enjoying.


Hope Williams

First period American History Through Film class gets ready for class to start.

American History Through Film is a new class this year that has been added to Wilsonville High School’s list of History classes. This class is mainly for juniors and seniors, which is only a semester-long class. 

They watch documentaries and other films to learn more about American history. They learn through cinema not only as a form of information besides textbooks but because the movies are like a time capsule of the year and events happening when it was made and released. 

Taught by Mr. Whitehead, who teaches American History Through Film and credit recovery, this new class is taught during many different periods and in a few different classrooms. Mr. Whitehead is a traveling teacher, like a few others, who moves from classroom to classroom due to the growth of our school. 

Mr. Whitehead teaches the class by letting the students watch a movie during a certain time period. After the movie, the students have the option to either write an essay about the movie or have a discussion to show their understanding of the film. “Having great animated discussions about what we watch is one of my favorite things about the class. I love to talk,” Mr. Whitehead explains.

The class starts in the 1940s but then quickly moves on to the 1950s and keeps moving on until the present day. They look at the culture of that time, music, event, technology, fashion, and all of the things that define that time period. 

When describing the movies they watch Mr. Whitehead explains them to be “cutting-edge films of that time.” Films like “Blackboard Jungle” and “That Thing You Do” are some of the film they watch in class. 

Andy Havens, a senior, has this class first semester and is so far enjoying the class. “What I’ve enjoyed most in the class is the different friendships I’ve made in the class. I love the discussions we have and the cheesy movies we watch,” he comments, talking about the class.