November 2011 TeachWithM
TWM e-Newsletter for November 2011
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Administrators: The cornerstone of any program to ensure that class time won't be wasted when students are shown movies is to give your teachers curriculum materials that reveal the educational value of feature films. Then you can work with teachers to ensure that movies are used infrequently but with maximum educational return consistent with applicable standards. Click Here for more.
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LATEST BLOG POST:
Winter Work: Four Ways to Keep Your Students Learning Over Winter Break
Whether traveling across the country or staying put at home, students and teachers enjoy the time off provided by their extended Winter Break. Teachers seeking fun, interactive homework to assign during the holidays, look no further. Here are four ways to keep students learning over Winter Break:
1) Family Style Homework with Movies: Since many students will have family or friends visiting during the holiday season, assign homework that is both fun and that can get everyone in the household involved. Create a list of appropriate movies and have students watch one or two of these at home. (Subjects of the movies can be what you’re studying in class or what you’ll be studying after the vacation. TWM subscribers can access our TWM’s Movies as Literature Film List for a list of recommended films.) Encourage students to watch with their family. Provide them with a copy of TWM’s movie worksheets (for social studies classes, TWM’s Historical Fiction Film Study Worksheet, for ELA classes TWM’s Film Study Worksheet or the Hero’s Journey Film Study Worksheet). Review the worksheets to make sure the questions are appropriate for the educational level of the class. Encourage students to consult with their families to get the best answers possible to the prompts on the movie worksheet.
2) Family Matters: For some people, seeing extended family is a holiday treat. You can capitalize on this while, at the same time, giving students an assignment that will hit close to home. Have students interview someone in their family. The topic can be the life of the person interviewed, the life of another relative, or events in the history of the student’s family. You might want to have students create a mini-biography about the person they interview. While the response should feature a written interview, memoir, or mini-biography, allow students to fulfill a part of the assignment in a medium of their choice. It could be drawn, painted, sung, animated, filmed, performed as a one-act play, or written as a short story, poem, screenplay, or comic book. Encourage students to have fun and get creative—a project like this could be something that their families will treasure for years to come.
3) Reflect and Set Goals – Metacognitive Thinking: It’s nearing the halfway point of the school year, so this is a great time to check in with students about how the year has gone thus far. Finding out what’s working and what isn’t is crucial for effective teaching. Learning about things that are confusing, stressful or worrisome to students can help you take corrective action. Assign students to write an anonymous “Partway There Review”. This can be in a worksheet or as an essay, without grading for “correct” answers. Expand their thinking by first defining the word “metacognitive.” Ask students to think metacognitively by telling you what they’ve learned so far in class, what they still don’t understand, and what they hope to learn in the new year. Have them tell you their favorite part of class, their least favorite part of class, and what they want more and less of. Keep it helpful; add some fun activities, for instance, ask them to write down a favorite joke (you could even share one of these jokes weekly, as part of a morning routine).
4) Read and Report: And last but not least, there is the old stand-by of having students read a book and write a report. Provide students with titles of books that would be acceptable and allow them to propose other books that interest them. Give students the assignment far enough in advance that they’ll have time to check the book out of the library. This assignment is not only appropriate for English classes, but social studies teachers can assign novels from the historical fiction genre. TWM’s film study worksheets (links are above) are an excellent basis for a set of questions students can answer about the book they’ll read. Modify the forms to exclude the references to film and cinematic devices and focus on what students have learned during the first part of the school year.
By assigning homework projects that are fun, but still educational, you’ll keep students engaged and productive over their Winter Break. And remember, you should enjoy your well-deserved time off, too!
- Lauren Humphrey and James Frieden, November 2011
© TeachWithMovies.com, Inc.
WHAT'S NEW AT TWM:
The Common Core State Standards and Feature Films in the ELA Classroom:Feature films — carefully selected, properly introduced, shown with a movie worksheet, and followed by discussions and assignments — will inspire and interest today's students.
Some of the new Common Core State Standards specifically refer to the use of film and other multimedia. Movies can also assist in meeting other standards that make no reference to film. Therefore, the use of movies in class, on a limited basis, is a valuable tool for ELA teachers.
Click Here for the full explanation and a complete list of the Common Core State Standards that relate to the use of film in education.
Helpful Tip: Show your principal the Common Core State Standards and Feature Films in the ELA Classroom article and the Common Core State Standards - Annotated & Highlighted for Films document when approaching him/her for approval to show a movie in class. It will supplement your argument for using the film by explaining how Common Core State Standards can be met by using feature films.
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UPDATED LEARNING GUIDE:
This film is a classic story of love and redemption through sacrifice at the beginning of World War II. It's one of the most popular films ever made. With its extended metaphor relating to the end of American isolationism, Casablanca can assist learning in both English Language Arts and social studies classes. The film is an excellent example of historical fiction. Moreover, the film can serve as an example of Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey through Rick's internal quest for redemption and self-rediscovery.
The character of Rick provides an example of the value of redemption, both on a social and personal level. Watching this movie permits children to work through the issues of romantic attachment and when that attachment must be sacrificed for more important values. Because of the power of the story, Casablanca is an excellent Reward Film.
The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide to Casablanca provides a movie worksheet for use in ELA classes, another for an ELA class on the Hero's Journey, and a third for social studies classes (treating the film as an example of historical fiction). It contains extensive background information that will support an introduction to the film. The Guide also contains discussion questions and assignments. ...read more
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