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    SUBJECTS — U.S./1812 - 1860 & Diversity;

    Age: 12+; Not Rated; Drama; 1977; 90 minutes; Color. Available from Amazon.com.

    Description:     Roots is a video presentation of Alex Haley's Pulitzer Prize winning book, Roots: The Saga of an American Family. Volume V shows the strain that slavery puts on the natural relations of parents and children and the rise of "Chicken George."

    Benefits of the Movie:     The "Roots" series describes important aspects of the black experience in the U.S. and, for all Americans, helps in facing the legacies of slavery and segregation.

    Possible Problems:    MINOR. There is some violence but it is appropriate to the film's message.

    Parenting Points:     Ask and help your child to answer the Quick Discussion Question and the Discussion Question on Morality and Ethics.

    Alex Haley

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

MOVIE WORKSHEETS: TWM offers the following movie worksheets to keep students' minds on the film and to focus their attention on the lessons to be learned from the movie. Teachers can modify the movie worksheets to fit the needs of each class. See also TWM's Historical Fiction in Film Cross-Curricular Homework Project and Movies as Literature Homework Project.

Additional ideas for lesson plans for this movie can be found at TWM's guide to Lesson Plans Using Film Adaptations of Novels, Short Stories or Plays.

    Selected Awards, Cast and Director:

      Selected Awards:  The "Roots" series won a Golden Globe Award as the Best Television Series of 1978, nine Emmy Awards, and many other honors.

      Featured Actors:  Ben Vereen, Lloyd Bridges, Georg Stanford-Brown, McDonald Carey, Olivia Cole, Chuck Connors, Brad Davis, Sandy Duncan, Hilly Hicks, Carolyn Jones, Doug McClure, Ian McShane, Lynn Moody, and Leslie Uggams.

      Director:  Gilbert Moses.
QUICK DISCUSSION QUESTION:  If you were Chicken George what would your reaction be to Master Tom? Remember that before he knew of his biological relationship with Master Tom, Chicken George said that Master Tom was like a father to him.

Suggested Response: There is no one right response to this question. It places the student in the shoes of Chicken George and helps him or her appreciate the feelings of the slaves.

For English Language Arts classes, distribute TWM's Film Study Worksheet. Teachers can modify the worksheet to fit the needs of each class. Ask students to fill out the worksheet as they watch the film or at the film's end.
Select questions that are appropriate for your students.


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.

    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.


    (Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule; Be tolerant of differences; Use good manners, not bad language; Be considerate of the feelings of others; Don't threaten, hit or hurt anyone; Deal peacefully with anger, insults and disagreements)

    1.  Is it possible for a slave owner to be respectful of a slave's humanity? Why? Suggested Response: No. The very nature of the slave/master relationship is for the owner to take advantage of the slave. The slave serves the owner without recompense. A good employer/employee relationship is much different. The employer pays for the work of the employee at a reasonable rate. An employer can also train an employee so that he can undertake new responsibilities, have a more satisfying job and make more money.

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.

Click here for TWM's lesson plans to introduce cinematic and theatrical technique.

    Bridges to Reading: Older children who are good readers will enjoy the book Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley. Books about the black experience during this period include: Running for Our Lives, by Glennette Tilley Turner.
  MOVIES ON RELATED TOPICS: All other "Roots" episodes. The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman extends the experience of a black family into the era of the Civil Rights Movement. Glory tells the story of one of the first black regiments in the Union army.

    Links to the Internet: None.



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