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    SUBJECTS — U.S./1865 - 1991; Politics;
    SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Leadership; Female Role Model;
    MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Caring, Citizenship.

    Age: 10+; No MPAA Rating; Documentary; 1995; 150 minutes; Color with black and white footage; Available from Amazon.com.

    Description:     This is a PBS documentary about the life of Eleanor Roosevelt. The film is excellent and worth watching several times.

    Benefits of the Movie:     This episode of "The American Experience" describes the public and private life of the most influential American woman of the 20th century.

    Possible Problems:    None.

    Parenting Points:     Ask and help your child to answer the Quick Discussion Question. If your child is interested in Eleanor Roosevelt, review the Helpful Background section and share the highlights with your child.


Benefits of the Movie
Possible Problems
Parenting Points
Selected Awards & Cast
Helpful Background
Discussion Questions:
      Subjects (Curriculum Topics)
      Social-Emotional Learning
      Moral-Ethical Emphasis
            (Character Counts)
Bridges to Reading
Links to the Internet
Assignments, Projects & Activities

QUICK DISCUSSION QUESTION:  What was so special about Eleanor Roosevelt?

Suggested Response: What wasn't special about this woman? She obviously cared for people and worked for the benefit of the oppressed and the disadvantaged. She was the first First Lady to use her position to advocate for the causes in which she believed. She was willing to work hard for what she believed in. In her own right, she was an excellent politician and she was an author. We could go on. There is more in the Learning Guide.

For a movie worksheet for this film, see Film Study Worksheet for a Documentary.

For more on FDR and Eleanor, see Learning Guide to "Warm Springs"

Are you concerned that time will be wasted if you are absent from class? Worry no more  .  .  .   Check out TeachWithMovies' Set-Up-the-Sub.

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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.

Selected Awards, Cast and Director:

Selected Awards:  None.

Featured Actors:  None.

Writer and Director:  Sue Williams.

Give us your feedback! Was the Guide helpful? If so, which sections were most helpful? Do you have any suggestions for improvement? Email us!


    Discussion Questions:

    1.  SeeDiscussion Questions and Projects for Use With Any Documentary.

    2.  Name the ten most influential women in world history. Is Eleanor Roosevelt among them? Justify your answers to both questions.

    3.  Name the five most influential women in American history. How would you rank Eleanor Roosevelt and why?

    4.  Is it fair to say that Eleanor Roosevelt achieved her position through the political power of her husband? How much of her ability to have a positive impact on the world was due to her position as First Lady and how much was due to her personal accomplishments? Does this matter?

    5.  Describe three instances mentioned in the film in which Eleanor Roosevelt exercised political power on her own.

Select questions that are appropriate for your students.

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    Social-Emotional Learning Discussion Questions:


    1.  What attributes of Eleanor Roosevelt could you use in your own life?


    2.  What actions did Eleanor Roosevelt take to make herself a leader of people in America and throughout the world?

    3.  What tools of leadership did Eleanor Roosevelt employ?

    Moral-Ethical Emphasis Discussion Questions (Character Counts)

    Discussion Questions Relating to Ethical Issues will facilitate the use of this film to teach ethical principles and critical viewing. Additional questions are set out below.


    (Be kind; Be compassionate and show you care; Express gratitude; Forgive others; Help people in need)

    1.  Name three instances in which Eleanor Roosevelt went out of her way to help others in need.


    (Do your share to make your school and community better; Cooperate; Stay informed; vote; Be a good neighbor; Obey laws and rules; Respect authority; Protect the environment)

    2.  How does Eleanor Roosevelt's career demonstrate the value of citizenship?

    3.  Has any First Lady of any country had as broad an impact on the nation and the world as Eleanor Roosevelt? To help you with this concept, list out the last three First Ladies and describe what, if any, impact they have had on the nation?

    4.  Many people believed that Jacqueline Kennedy had a broad impact on how American women saw themselves. Compare Jacqueline Kennedy's impact as First Lady and that of Eleanor Roosevelt.

Teachwithmovies.com is a Character Counts "Six Pillars Partner" and uses The Six Pillars of Character to organize ethical principles.

Character Counts and the Six Pillars of Character are marks of the CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition, a project of the Josephson Institute of Ethics.

    Bridges to Reading: None.


    Assignments, Projects and Activities: See Discussion Questions and Projects for Use With Any Documentary.

  • Compare Eleanor Roosevelt to the First Ladies who came after her: Bess Truman, Amy Eisenhower, Jacquelyn Kennedy, Lady Bird Johnson, Pat Nixon, Betty Ford, Rosalind Carter, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush, Laura Bush, and Hillary Clinton. Some of these ladies were very special and some wanted quiet ordinary lives. How did they compare to Eleanor Roosevelt in terms of their impact on society?
  • Many people believed that Jacqueline Kennedy had a broad impact on how American women saw themselves. Prepare a report of __ pages comparing Jacqueline Kennedy's impact as First Lady with that of Eleanor Roosevelt.
  • Name the ten most influential women in world history. Write one page on each, ranking them in order of importance. Is Eleanor Roosevelt among them?
  • Name the five most influential women in American History. Prepare a one page report on each and how you would rank them in order of importance.

    Bibliography: In addition to websites which may be linked in the Guide and selected film reviews listed on the Movie Review Query Engine, the following resources were consulted in the preparation of this Learning Guide:

    • Eleanor and Franklin by Joseph P. Lash, 1971, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., New York.
    • No Ordinary Time by Doris Kearns Goodwin, 1994, Simon & Schuster, New York.

    Last updated December 17, 2009.

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