Take a short break from instruction: come out from behind the lecturn or step away from the white board and have an informal chat with your students. Tell them that there will be no penalty for their answers. Don't be reticent about answering for yourself. The question: what are your favorite TV programs? The programs you watch while you do your homework or maybe after. You may be surprised by the answers.

One TWM contributor found that her 11th and 12th graders, male and female, were watching cooking shows like "Chopped," "Master Chef," "Iron Chef," or "Hell's Kitchen." Some kids watch sports-like competitions or even "Jeopardy". Then there are the soaps, crime dramas, and last but . . . well, perhaps least, are the survival reality shows. Whatever they watch, this homework assignment is an opportunity to make homework a little more interesting, teach about the dynamics of story, exercise ELA skills, and stike a blow for media literacy.

The homework assignment is simple. Have students classify the show as fiction (dramas and comedies), historical fiction, competition or informational. Prepare assignments for them for each type of program. TWM offers the following worksheets and materials for this assignment.

Also check out TWM's Movies as Literature Homework Project and Historical Fiction in Film Cross-Curricular Homework Project which require students to watch movies at home and prepare an analysis of the film based on TWM Film Study Worksheets.


Make sure that students understand each term used in the worksheet. For classes below the tenth grade level, go through the questions and demonstrate how they can be answered. An alternative use of this worksheet is to have students respond to the prompts in the worksheet (or a shortened worksheet) after seeing a movie in class. After students have had time to write short responses to the prompts, discuss the responses in class.

This project can be used directly as presented by TeachWithMovies or it can be adapted to enhance its benefits for a particular class or set of classes. For example, teachers can have students make presentations to the class about literary elements or devices that they have seen in the movies they have watched for the assignment. If the class has been focusing on a group of literary devices, question #10 of the Film Study Worksheet can be modified to refer to them specifically. Teachers can, over the semester, require students to view a popular and easily accessible movie outside of class that can then be analyzed in a discussion during school. In this case, teachers should also show the movie once or twice after school for those who can't get access to the film.

Other variations include the following: Students can be required to watch three or four movies. Students can also be separated into groups of four or fewer with each group being asked to give an oral presentation in response to a question on the Worksheet. For middle school or junior high school classes, the Worksheet can be simplified by eliminating some of the questions or by requiring that fewer examples be given. For students who are not familiar with archetypes, delete question #10 or substitute another question. For example, the following question can replace #10 "Describe three images or scenes that stand out in your mind when you think about this movie." Questions relating to topics that have been studied in class can be substituted for some of the questions in the Worksheet. Students can be given time in class to peer review each other's Worksheets. The possibilities are endless.

Review the instructions on the assignment with students after handing out the project.

Updated August 24, 2013. Written by James Frieden, TWM.

For a film study worksheet for historical fiction shown in a social studies class click here.

For a film study worksheet for ELA classes, click here.'s Movie Lesson Plans and Learning Guides are used by thousands of teachers in their classrooms to motivate students. They provide background and discussion questions that lead to fascinating classes. Parents can use them to supplement what their children learn in school.

Each film recommended by contains lessons on life and positive moral messages. Our Guides and Lesson Plans show teachers how to stress these messages and make them meaningful for young audiences.

Each TWM Snippet Lesson Plan Contains:         

            • Learner Outcomes/Objectives
            • Rationale
            • Preparation
            • Exact Location of the Clip in the Movie, Film or Video
            • Step-by-Step Instructions for Using the Clip in the Classroom

Some Snippet LPs simply identify film clips and Internet resources. Others are complete lesson plans with introductions, handouts, discussion questions, and summative assessments.

Learning Guides Feature the Following Sections:

  • Benefits
  • Possible Problems
  • Helpful Background
  • Building Vocabulary
  • Discussion Questions
  • Links to Internet
  • Bridges to Reading
  • Assignments & Projects

Learning Guides help teachers develop or improve their own lesson plans to maximize students' classroom experience. Many also feature introductions, handouts, and summative assessments.


More suggestions about the beneficial use of movies in the classroom and to supplement curricula are added on a regular basis!

Show students that the stories in movies can use the elements that we normally look for in stories told in books.

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