Lesson Plans Based on Movies & Film Clips!                                         

Terms of Use   



Secondary School Classes — Ages 12 and Older
SUBJECTS — Cinema; Drama/Musicals; U.S./1865-1913;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Self-esteem; Friendship; Taking
        Care of Yourself; Breaking Out;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS --- Trustworthiness; Respect; Caring.
Age: 12+; No MPAA Rating; Musical; 1939; 101 minutes; B & W and Color. Available from Amazon.com.
See also, TWM's Learning Guides to The Wizard of Oz and the Hero's Journey — Teaching the Journey and Its Archetypes Through a Children's Classic and The Wizard of Oz for primary school classes.

Description: Dorothy Gale, a Kansas farm girl is caught in a tornado and knocked unconscious. She awakens far from home in the magical Land of Oz with witches, wizards, little people, flying monkeys, and other fantastic beings. The movie describes her efforts to get back home, the characters she meets, and the life-lessons that she learns. At the end of the film, Dorothy awakens and finds that it was all a dream, but she has changed and grown — and so has the audience. The film is adapted from the popular children's book by L. Frank Baum.

Rationale for Using the Movie: Many secondary school students and even adults enjoy the The Wizard of Oz. The story is beneficial for teenagers because it fosters important social emotional learning, deals with many of the fears of early childhood, and is also an excellent opportunity to teach students about why stories interest audiences.

Objectives/Student Outcomes Using this Learning Guide: Students will learn about the necessity of confronting fear and maintaining confidence in the face of trying circumstances. Students will come to understand that children ages 5 - 11 love this story because it speaks to fears and concerns that young children must work through as they mature into teenagers. Students will address these issues practicing research and writing skills required by the ELA Curriculm.

Possible Problems: None for secondary school students.



Rationale and Objectives
Possible Problems
Parenting Points

Using the Movie in Class:
      Introduction to the Movie
      Discussion Questions


Benefits of the Movie
Helpful Background
     Developmental Issues Raised
     Movie as a Work of Literature
     Allegory to History of Populism

Additional Discussion Questions:
      Subjects (Curriculum Topics)
           Understanding the Story
           Hopes and Fears
      Social-Emotional Learning
      Moral-Ethical Emphasis
            (Character Counts)

Additional Assignments

Other Sections:
      Bridges to Reading
      CCSS Anchor Standards
      Links to the Internet
      Selected Awards & Cast


Introduction to the Movie: The film needs no introduction.


Discussion Questions:

After the film has been watched, engage the class in a discussion about the movie using some of the discussion questions set out below.

1.  How do Dorothy and her three companions change through the course of the story? Suggested Response: It is clear that Dorothy came to know her own strength and resourcefulness. She developed self-confidence as did her companions, each of whom came to believe in themselves. The Lion came to believe he had courage; the Scarecrow that he had intelligence; and the Tin Man that he had a heart. Dorothy also realized that there was no place like home.

2.   The Wizard of Oz was thought by all the people who live in Oz to be great and powerful. Where did his power come from?Suggested Response: Good responses will mention one or more of the following: It came from appearances, from what the inhabitants of Oz believed, their willingness to obey the Wizard and their need for a leader.

3.  What personal characteristics helped Dorothy make it through all the dangerous situations in Oz? Suggested Response: There is no one correct answer. Strong responses will contain some of the following concepts: She was patient, compassionate, intelligent, goal directed and brave. She took things one step at a time. She was respectful and kind to people and tried to help them. She chose her friends well. She met each challenge with courage and determination. She never lost sight of what she intended to accomplish.

For additional discussion questions, click here.


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

1.  Some people contend that the story is driven by the inadequacy of adults and shows that Dorothy must make her own way. Write an essay in which you analyze the story from this perspective and give examples of the inadequacy of adults that require Dorothy to become self-reliant. Be sure to include the personal characteristics that foster Dorothy's success.

2.  Research and write an informative essay about self-esteem and the movement that developed in response to recognition that individuals can suffer serious consequences from a lack of self-confidence. Address current theories on what can be done by individuals, parents or the school system to help foster increased self esteem. Seek support for any of the concepts you find in direct reference to examples in the film.

3.  Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion are all very different, yet they become friends. Write informally about some friends of yours who are quite different from you. Consider what you learn and how you can explore different sides of yourself with a variety of friends. If you cannot think of any friends who are different, write about a person you would like to be friends with and what you might be able to learn from that individual.

For additional assignments, click here.

  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.

Film Study Worksheet for ELA Classes;

Film Study Worksheet for an Adaptation of a Novel; and

Worksheet for Cinematic and Theatrical Elements and Their Effects.

Teachers can modify the worksheets to fit the needs of each class.

See also TWM's 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.

For suggestions about using filmed adaptations of literary works in the ELA classroom, see Lesson Plans Using Film Adaptations of Novels, Short Stories and Plays.

For a comparison of Dorothy's quest with that of Odysseus, see Quick Discussion Question For Children 12 and up.

Select questions that are appropriate for your students.

Parenting Points: You may want to watch the movie with very young children to be certain they do not become frightened. Older children can benefit from an age-appropriate discussion about the story and the characters.

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.

Last updated April 27, 2013.

Spread the GOOD NEWS about



© TeachWithMovies.com, Inc. All rights reserved. Note that unless otherwise indicated any quotations attributed to a source, photographs, illustrations, maps, diagrams or paintings were copied from public domain sources or are included based upon the "fair use" doctrine. No claim to copyright is made as to those items. DVD or VHS covers are in the public domain. TeachWithMovies.org®, TeachWithMovies.com®, Talking and Playing with Movies™, and the pencil and filmstrip logo are trademarks of TeachWithMovies.com, Inc.

TWM grants free limited licenses to copy TWM curriculum materials only to educators in public or non-profit schools and to parents trying to help educate their children. See TWM's Terms of Use for a full description of the free licenses and limits on the rights of others to copy TWM.