Intentional Parenting Family Movies
The Lorax*Note: The Development of This Guide is Still in Progress.
Moral-Ethical Emphasis — Responsibility; Citizenship.
At a Glance — Age: 5 - 8; MPAA Rating -- PG; Animated; 2012; 86 minutes; Color; Available from Amazon.com.
Description — The Lorax is adapted from Dr. Seuss' famous book of the same name. In this thought-provoking tale, a young boy, Ted, seeks to impress his crush by finding her a tree. Thneedville, where they live, has no trees at all, and Ted learns that this is the work of a man called the Once-ler. The Once-ler tells Ted about the Lorax, a creature who had protected the wonderful Truffula trees. The Once-ler chopped down all of the Truffula trees in existence, trying to build up his business and become successful. This hurt the environment, and Thneedville, taking away all the clean air and beauty of nature. Ted, working with the Once-ler, convinces the town to fight back for their right to have clean air and a healthy place to live, and a very special Truffula tree grows once again.
Benefits — This movie teaches children about the importance of protecting their environment and that nature is not something disposable and pointless. It shows the power of perseverance and warns against the dangers of being too greedy and of not thinking about others.
Possible Problems: — There are a few mild language issues (idiot, loser, a muffled "damn it!")..
New Words — manufacture, satisfaction, invention, failure, success, optimism, summoned, mystical, legendary, guardian, fraud, conscience, regret, oxygen, photosynthesis.
For more suggestions about how intentional parents can use family movies to foster verbal, social and emotional learning and teach lessons in character education, see Ideas for Talking and Playing Using Family Movies.
TALKING FOR VERBAL, SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Why did Ted visit the Once-ler?
→ Just talking with your child fosters verbal, social and emotional learning. Talk about a movie at any time: right after it is over, in the car on the way to school, during quiet time, or before bed.Who was the Lorax?
→ Open-ended questions will help get a discussion going.The Once-ler asks "Who cares if a few trees are dying?" Why do we need trees?
→ Always encourage your child to form opinions and to share them.How did O'Hare get started bottling air?
→ Young children love Story Time.
DISCUSSIONS BASED ON THEMES IN THE MOVIE
Select questions appropriate for your child.
1. It's easy for us to make excuses when we're doing something that we know isn't right, especially when it gets us something we want. Does this make it okay? Talking About It — No. Most people get a little greedy from time to time, but it's important to remember The Golden Rule: treat others as you would want others to treat you. Sometimes doing the right thing doesn't benefit you. If you share a toy with a friend who wants to play with it, you don't have a toy to play with, but you're making the world a better place by being kind and thoughtful, and setting a good example for everyone around you.
2. What happened to the animals when the Once-ler chopped down all the trees? Talking About It — When the Once-ler chopped down all of the Truffula trees, many bad things started happening. There was oil in the water, smog in the air, no food to eat, and no shelter to stay in. Remember what the Lorax said to the Once-ler? "Thanks to you and your hacking and smogging and glubbing, they can't live here anymore. So I'm sending them off. Hopefully they'll be able to find a better place out there somewhere." All of the creatures of Thneedville had to flee because the Once-ler ruined their homes.
Could something like this happen in real life? Maybe, that's why we need to be careful with our "natural resources". We need to save as much water as we can, make sure we turn off lights and electronics when we're not using them, and be aware of how much trash we make.
3. The Once-ler says that he has "done nothing illegal, I have my rights, and I intend to keep on biggering and biggering and turning more Truffula trees into Thneeds!" Is that true— Does it matter that he everything he has done has been legal? Talking About It — Just because something is legal doesn't make it the right thing to do. People who care about others and their community don't think or act in the way the Once-ler did.
4. Ted, trying to save the Truffula trees (and Thneedville) with the one seed he has, tells the Once-ler, "Nobody cares about trees anymore!" The Once-ler says, "Then make them care! Plant the seed in the middle of town where everyone can see. Change the way things are. I know it may seem small and insignificant, but it's not about what it is, it's about what it can become." What does this mean? Can one person really make a difference? Talking About It — A few people can make a big difference and lots of people can each make a little difference that adds up to a big difference.
→ Don't feel obligated to cover everything in this Guide. One or two questions are all that some children will tolerate. However, if your child watches the movie more than once, on each occasion start a new conversation or pick a new activity. This will enhance verbal development and increase the number of lessons your child takes from the film.
TeachWithMovies.com is proud to be a Character Counts Six Pillars Partner. Character Counts promotes ethics education through the Six Pillars of Character.
PLAYING FOR GROWTH
2. Reduce/Reuse/Recycle: There are many ways to reuse the items that we throw away or recycle. Collect clean bottles (rinse them out if you need), boxes, paper towel tubes, and other items from your recycling bin. Build a robot with the pieces! Have a contest with a friend to see who can build the most interesting robot! Learn how to knit using "yarn" made from shopping bags. Make a bowling alley using bottles. (More ideas are here (http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/explore/reduce/) and here (http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/recycling.html).)
3. Write like the Dr.: Dr. Seuss was an incredible writer with a very amazing imagination. He invented new worlds, new creatures, and new words. You can write like him, too! Pick three of your favorite animals, write down their names, and then rearrange the letters to come up with a brand new creature! (Let's say you pick a dog, elephant, and zebra. It could become a zelephog.) What does this new creature look like? What kinds of skills does this creature have? Where does this creature live? Write a story about your brand new creature and be sure to add in plenty of bright illustrations!
Stories are essential tools for verbal development, social-emotional learning, and character education. Intentional parents can use family movies as a basis for storytelling.
Repeat the story of the movie at bedtime, on a rainy day, or at any quiet time. Let your child correct you if you make a mistake and, better yet, encourage your child to tell you the story. Both of you can invent new adventures for the characters in the movie. The incidents in your stories should explore the themes of the movie.
This one is a Poem:
Once upon a time, there lived a girl who loved to play outside. She'd run and jump, and swing and spin, and always used the slide. Her name was Ann, she had brown eyes, and she lived next to a park. And she was there, rain or shine, from morning until dark.
Bridges to Reading — The Lorax is available at your local library, and be sure to check out other Dr. Seuss books, too.
Talking and playing based on family movies is an excellent way to enhance verbal skills and foster social and emotional learning. It's also a great opportunity for character education and increases communication between parent and child. When fathers and mothers make entertainment an engine for their child's growth and development, they are practicing intentional parenting at its best.
Check out TWM's Index of Guides to Talking and Playing for Growth. For all of the TeachWithMovies.com indexes, click here.
This web page was written by Lauren Humphrey and James Frieden. It was first published December 10, 2012. © 2012 by TeachWithMovies.com, Inc. All rights reserved. DVD covers are shown by permission of Amazon.com. TeachWithMovies.org®, TeachWithMovies.com®, Talking and Playing with Movies, and the pencil and filmstrip logo are trademarks of TeachWithMovies.com, Inc.