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It's a Wonderful Life
SUBJECTS — U.S./1913 - 1945;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Male Role Model; Suicide;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Responsibility; Citizenship.
Age: 10+; Not Rated (but suitable for all ages); Drama; 1946; 130 minutes; B & W.
Set in upstate New York during the first half of the 20th century, It's a Wonderful Life tells the story of a young man who wanted to travel, have adventures, go to college, and be an architect in a big city. But George Bailey's responsibilities to his family and to his community kept him from leaving the small town where he grew up. He held down a responsible job, worked hard, treated people decently, and helped out whenever he could.
One tumultuous Christmas Eve, Bailey is shown how much he has meant to those around him and that happiness can be found in family, friends and fulfilling responsibility, right in your own home town.
The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide to It's a Wonderful Life will help parents and teachers stress the themes of the movie, including the concept that not everyone has to move away from home to find fulfillment, and the very timely theme that there is more to life than the pursuit of the almighty dollar.
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It's a Wonderful Life is a Christmas classic and one of the most popular films of all time.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To demonstrate how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers to improve lesson plans, we have set out below three paragraphs from the Learning Guide to It's a Wonderful Life.
This charming Hollywood classic is almost as fresh today as when it was released in 1946. Many think it's a better Christmas story than A Christmas Carol. Many say it's one of the greatest films ever made. If they're wrong, they're not off by much. The movie is suitable for viewing at any time of the year.
It's a Wonderful Life teaches that everyone can make a difference by living a responsible, caring life. In addition, it presents the counterargument to the contention that young people should follow their own star, leave the community in which they grew up, and go out into the world. In the view of this film, a wonderful life depends upon family, friends and having an honest job that contributes to the community. Finding the right balance between self-fulfillment and dedication to others is a major developmental task and a continuing challenge for all age groups.
This movie contains valuable lessons for the 21st century, especially in these days of rampant corporate and business greed. Bailey, as head of the town's savings and loan association, keeps his own salary at a reasonable level. He makes sure that the S & L is operated for the benefit of its members and works for the good of the community. He has a lifelong competition with the town's richest businessman who, despite his vast wealth, will do anything to make another buck.
The Learning Guide to the film It's a Wonderful Life contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
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