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This is a draft.
SUBJECTS — Literature; Mythology;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Caring, Responsibility.
Age: 12+; MPAA Rating: PG; 2012; 97 Minutes; animated; Color. Available from Amazon.com.

Description: In his Dreamworks fantasmagora, the Boogeyman, called Pitch Black, would deprive children of their dreams and therefore of hope. The Guardians, North (Santa Claus), Tooth Fairy, Sand Man, and the Easter Bunny, converted for this story into superheroes, are urged by the Man in the Moon to enlist Jack Frost as a new Guardian to defeat the Boogeyman. Jack is a prankster. He is happy and playful and doesn't think he's up to saving the world of children; he doesn't want to be Guardian and does not know why he is alive. Until Jack can find his memories he won't be able to find his true center and he will not be able to help. Through the course of events, Jack discovers how he came to be a spirit and learns that he, too, can be a Guardian.

The film is loosely based on the series of popular childrens' novels, The Guardians of Childhood, by William Joyce.

Rationale for Using the Movie: Rise of the Guardians focuses on the archetype of childhood, provides an excellent metaphor for the layers of personality, and illustrates the need to find the element of individual truth in each personality.

Objectives/Student Outcomes Using this Learning Guide: By exercising discussion and writing skills, students will gain an understanding of how archetypes play a role throughout life and contribute to popular fiction.

Possible Problems: Some of the imagery is dark and there are dangerous situations that may be disturbing to young children.

Enrichment Worksheets are a TWM innovation containing questions designed to get students thinking. Questions are focused on comprehension, application, analysis, syntheses or evaluation. Questions can be answered in class or as homework, as quickwrites, journal entries, formal essays, or research papers. For a version of the Worksheet in word processing format, click here.
Pre-Viewing Enrichment Worksheet for Rise of the Guardians

Archetypes: Essential Forms of the Human Experience

People respond at a visceral level to images of children. These images are usually positive, inspiring feelings of love and warmth. Almost every child is cute and people admire the pictures of children shown by loving parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. Every Christmas, statues of the baby Jesus can be found in manger scenes all across the country. Lisa from The Simpsons and many other youthful characters populate mass media. Tires, breakfast cereal, cleaning solution, and even political ideas, can be sold by showing pictures of children.

The desire to protect the innocence of childhood motivates most people, in real life as well as in fiction. Photographs of suffering children, such as a starving African baby with its stomach swollen and flies landing on its mouth and eyes, imprint themselves on the minds of those who see them. The photograph of a young girl running, screaming, her clothing burned off by napalm, raised the consciousness of a generation and convinced many Americans that the Vietnam war was the wrong war at the wrong time. These profound images are from photojournalism; but their power comes from the human desire to see that youth survives and that life continues.

In most cultures, being a child means much the same thing. Early childhood is a time of playful innocence, a period of hope and trust, wonder, and of open minded acceptance of the world. For young children, the moral complications and social pressures that come with adolescence and adulthood are absent. These characteristics of childhood are structural, that is, they come from the nature of the relationships in the family or the community. The characteristics of childhood arise from the situation of being new to life, dependent on others, and growing in body and mind; characteristics of all young children in all human societies for all time.
1. Are attributes of childhood exclusively reserved for children? Write a brief description of an adult who is still hopeful about something or who. likw still experiences the world with a sense of wonder.
The fact that children have their futures before them is one of the most important features of childhood. Children are creatures who are becoming something new; they are characterized by hope. The aspect of becoming is especially important for infants and young children. The photographs of the starving baby and the napalm-burned girl have a strong effect on people because the hopes for the future for these children are under grave threat or, perhaps, the hopes of these children have already been lost.

Human beings are a species whose offspring are helpless and in need of constant care for many years. It makes sense for people to be programmed to love and care for young children. An older person can teach a child, act as a protector, serve as an all-nurturing mother, be the stern father figure, or the loving grandparent. These ways of relating to children are easily recognized in real life. They are also celebrated in religious tradition, myth, and fiction developed by cultures throughout the world.

Children are seen as pure, close to the instinctive emotional roots that enable them to see the truth unclouded by cynicism and doubt. They are honest; unfettered truth comes "out of the mouths of babes." People are taught to protect young children, to, as the Bible dictates, "suffer the little children," a notion made clear once we accept that the word "suffer" means to allow. In other words, children must be allowed to be children; they must be protected and nourished so that they can grow and mature.

Since they are a part of the common human experience, certain characters and relationships resonate clearly with readers and audiences. These characters and relationships, such as the child, the mother, the father and others cross cultural boundaries and are timeless. The models which people, events, or actions seem to follow are called archetypes. The word is from Latin archetypum, which derived from the Greek word archetypos, meaning "of the first mold" which itself came from combining two other Greek words archein which meant "to begin" plus typos which meant "type."

The characters of the child (innocent, full of wonder and hope, characterized by the condition of becoming), the mother (the nurturer), the father (stern and judging), the evil step-parent, the hero, and the wise old man or woman each have their own constellation of attributes which most people easily recognize. As with the other archetypes, the characters and our reactions to them arise from the nature of the relationships in the family or the community.
2. What is the roll of fantasy in the lives of children? How do Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and Jack Frost, assist children in their work of becoming . . . the adult they eventually will be?
The society of students in every school contains archetypes such as the bully, the leader, the nerd, the class clown, and the teacher's pet. Centuries ago, the bully pattern of personality must have been evident in the powerful hunter or warrior who used his strength to hurt others. They contrast with the leader who uses the power of his personality or his physical prowess to take care of his people. And although math or science as disciplines are rather new in the long history of mankind, certainly there were members of ancient societies who involved themselves with numbers and were devoted to the accuracy of exchange, the measurement of distances, and even the passage of time. There have always been court jesters and comedians. And, of course, the person favored by a teacher or authority figure, the teacher's pet.

The use of archetypes in telling a story whether in a book, in a movie or in a video game builds the empathic reaction as each reader sees something familiar in characters that populate the story. There is universal appeal in protagonists, antagonists and ancillary characters that partake of archetypes. [End of Worksheet]




Rationale and Objectives
Possible Problems
Parenting Points
Using the Movie in Class:
      Discussion Questions

Review the worksheet for suitability for your classes. Modify as appropriate.


Additional Discussion Questions:
      Subjects (Curriculum Topics)
      Social-Emotional Learning
      Moral-Ethical Emphasis
            (Character Counts)

Additional Assignments

Other Sections:
Bridges to Reading
Selected Awards & Cast

WORKSHEETS: TWM offers the following worksheets to keep students' minds on the movie and direct them to the lessons that can be learned from the film. Teachers can modify the worksheets to fit the needs of each class. Movies as Literature Homework Project.

Check out the trailer for this movie.



Discussion Questions:

1. Did the movie cause you to rethink or change any of the responses you gave to the discussion questions in the worksheet?

2. What is the role of hope in life for adults and for children? Suggested Response: Hope is necessary for any happiness in life. If hope is gone, life is very dark indeed. Hope is necessary for any accomplishment or creativity.

3. What are Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and Jack Frost? Are they archetypes or something else? Suggested Response: They are not archetypes, instead they are fanciful constructs for children when they are too young to understand a world in which cause and effect occurs without being based on powerful sentient beings.

4. Remember North's Russian doll? It's called a "matryoshka" and consisted of several dolls nested each within a larger hollow doll. Each level showed a layers of North's personality with his core being the tiny solid doll at the center. When all the layers of Jack Frost's personality are opened up to reveal his core, what is it? What does this knowledge do for Jack? Suggested Response: Having fun is Jack's center and the source of this strength. It allows him to defeat Pitch Black with a snowball fight.

For eight additional discussion Questions, click here.


Any of the discussion questions can serve as a writing prompt. Additional assignments include:

1. North, who speaks with a Russian accent, shows Jack Frost the Russian Nesting Dolls and says that the dolls reveal who he is: Big, jolly, mysterious, fearless, caring, and, he says, at the center lies wonder. North begins with what is obvious about him in the dolls then gets more precise about his very nature. Draw a series of at least four nesting dolls (you may want to look on the Internet for ideas on how to these "matryoshkas" can be designed) that represent the various sides of yourself. One doll may be fun loving, like Jack Frost, one athletic, one nurturing, one serious, one clownish, one scholarly, etc. See that the last doll shows the characteristic that lies at your center. Write a caption under each doll to clarify the image on the drawing.

2. Wrtie an essay about what you think parents should tell children about Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy? Do Internet research on this question and read at least the following two articles: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/think-well/201209/is-telling-kids-santa-claus-is-real-bad-idea -- "Is Telling Kids that Santa Clause is Real a Bad Idea?" by Clifford N. Lazarus, Ph.D., Psychology Today, September 28, 2012 and http://www.k-state.edu/media/newsreleases/seasonal/santa120709.html -- "K-STATE CHILD DEVELOPMENT EXPERT SAYS THE MAGIC OF SANTA CLAUS IS NO LIE," Kansas State University, News Service. Meet the arguments made in the two articles.

3. According to the film, Tooth Fairy collects and holds baby teeth in which are stored the memories of childhood. Write a narrative of your experience with losing a tooth and finding it gone, replaced with coins after you had hidden it under your pillow. Include what your parents told you about this peculiar event in your life and explain your thoughts on the matter. Include in your narrative how the concept of the Tooth Fairy in this film may or may not mesh with your experience. Finally, write what you intend to tell your children should you decide to keep the Fairy image going into another generation.

For more assignments, click here.


Select questions that are appropriate for your students.

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Parenting Points: Watch the film with your child and share with them some your experiences with the images of Santa Clause, the Sand Man, The Boogeyman, The Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny.

Reminder to Teachers: Obtain all required permissions from your school administration before showing any film.

Teachers who want parental permission to show this movie can use TWM's Movie Permission Slip.

This is Learning Guide was written by Mary RedClay and James Frieden. This Guide was first published on April 20, 2013.

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