WHAT'S NEW ON TEACH WITH MOVIES
Helping Teachers with Lesson Plans -- A Resource for Intentional Parents
It's not new but it's worth remembering:
Social Studies and ELA teachers, give your students a skill they can use all their lives with:
TWM'S HISTORICAL FICTION IN FILM CROSS-CURRICULAR HOMEWORK PROJECT
Two - Four Movies Over One Semester
Today's public is usually introduced to events from the past through movies. Teaching students to recognize historical fiction in film and giving them the skills to analyze those movies will provide benefits to students throughout their lives.
Moviemakers are experts at creating interesting stories and fascinating characters. Thus, most students are willing to watch cinematic versions of historical fiction outside of class. TWM therefore recommends that every social studies course include a component of two to four films per semester to be watched at home or at occasional after-school viewing sessions. For the movies watched at home, students would be required to choose films from an approved list. Click here for TWM's suggestions for movies showing U.S. history and here for suggested films about world history.
After watching the movies, students will answer questions from TWM's Film Study Worksheet for a Work of Historical Fiction. Responding to those questions will lead students to understand that historical fiction is a compromise between what actually occurred and a story that has the elements of fiction, including a protagonist, an antagonist, a conflict, a crisis, a resolution and characters with various personality traits. The Worksheet then directs students to compare the film to the historical record and to evaluate the movie as a work of historical fiction.
Give your classes an excellent cross-curricular experience! Check out TWM's Historical Fiction in Film Cross-Curricular Homework Project.
This isn't new, but it's a reminder. The Hero's Journey is a paradigm of human experience as well as of literature and film. TWM offers a Hero's Journey Movie Worksheet and a Hero's Journey Student Handout that will introduce any story that employs the Monomyth.
Music as a Human and Cultural Right — A Lesson Plan
Description: The Taliban forbade music from 1996 to 2001 when they ruled Afghanistan, except for religious songs and Taliban "chants". As the movie opens Kabul has been freed from Taliban oppression and Dr. Ahmad Sarmast, the only Afghan ever to earn a doctorate in music, returns from exile in Australia. His goal is nothing less than to revive the musical traditions of Afghanistan. He also wants to re-introduce Western music. To fulfill these goals, Dr. Sarmast establishes the Afghan National Institute of Music (ANIM). Dr. Sarmast insists that some of the students come from the population of disadvantaged young people who make their living selling small items on the streets of Kabul and that as many girls as possible come to the school.
This inspiring documentary recounts Dr. Sarmast's efforts. The two suggested videos from other sources set the musical context and show a concert by the ANIM orchestra on its tour of the U.S. in early 2013, after the film was completed.
Rationale: It is helpful to expand the horizons of students, to show them cultures and places that are different from what they have experienced, that freedoms which they take for granted, such as the right to hear and play music, are not available everywhere, and that sometimes basic human rights can only be secured through tremendous effort and great risk.
To view the Lesson Plan for Dr. Sarmast's Music School, click here.
A New Reward Film: EMPIRE RECORDS
Empire Records describes a pivotal day in the life of the manager and several employees of a record store . . . as well as one crazy shoplifter. Can they resolve their personal crises? Will the record store come under the control of an impersonal corporate giant? The movie has lots of music, some dancing and volumes to say about friendship. There is no violence in this film.
To view the Learning Guide to Empire Records click here. For TWM's article on Reward Films click here.
TEACHING THE HERO'S JOURNEY OF GROWTH AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
The journeys of many heroes involve reaching goals of personal growth and development. This type of Hero's Journey is the focus of several TWM lesson plans including:
Movies can help college-level students understand their world, master their subjects, and be enthusiastic about their studies. Check out TWM's new Films Suitable for Use in College-Level Classes & Movies Entertaining and Educational for Adults.
Robotics and Robot Ethics
It's the not too distant future . . . Frank, an elderly life-long jewel thief is losing his memory. To extend the time Frank can live independently, his son brings Frank a robot which can cook, clean, garden, give Frank his medicine and . . . learn to pick a lock.
With clips taken from the movie, helpful background, discussion questions and assignments, this Snippet Lesson Plan helps students examine the implications of artificial intelligence, anthropomorphism projected onto robots, the possibility that robots will gain autonomy, and the question of who is responsible when robot and Frank go on a robbery spree. Take a look at the new Snippet Lesson Plan on Robot Ethics Using Clips from Robot and Frank. Written by Erik Stengler, Ph.D., and James Frieden.
Music & Physics: electromagnetic waves, induction, capacitance, and antennae
It's a musical instrument played by hands moving in the air — it's a Theremin.
The first 9.5 minutes of Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey provides a striking and memorable way to demonstrate phenomena related to electromagnetic induction and capacitance. It may also be useful to introduce concepts of music such as the difference between fretted and unfretted instruments and the need to have a good ear to play the latter.
Helpful Background and suggested projects can be found at the new Snippet Lesson Plan on Electromagnetic Waves, Induction, Capacitance and Antennae Using a Film Clip from Theremin: An Electronic Odyssey. Written by Erik Stengler, Ph.D., and James Frieden.
Physics: Parallel Universes
The One gives students dramatic visual images of the concept of parallel universes, imagining a way to travel from one to another.
See TWM's Snippet Lesson Plan on Parallel Universes Using Film Clips from The One for helpful background, step by step instructions, discussion questions and supplemental materials. Written by Erik Stengler, Ph.D., and James Frieden.
Astronomy: Historical evolution of models of the Solar System
Students will learn about the historical evolution of models of the Solar system with particular emphasis on the riddle of the apparent retrograde movement of the planets, particularly Mars.
Film clips from the movie Agora, set in ancient times, show the geocentric system of Ptolemy which held that the planets and the Sun move around the Earth. Using these scenes will stress that the modern view of the Solar system took centuries to develop and introduce students to Hypatia, the greatest women of ancient Greek mathematics and philosophy. Animations from the Internet show how the motion of the planets (the "wanderers" in ancient Greek) are explained in both the geocentric and heliocentric models of the Solar system.
Take a look at the new Snippet Lesson Plan on the Historical Evolution of Views About the Solar System and the Retrograde Motion of Mars Using Film Clips from Agora and Internet Animations. Written by Erik Stengler, Ph.D., and James Frieden.
Physics: Inertial Forces — Newton's First Law of Motion, the Centrifugal Force and Artificial Gravity in Space
These clips from 2001-Space Odyssey will give students a visual impression of inertia, the centrifugal force and artificial gravity in space travel.
TWM's new Snippet Lesson Plan on Inertial Forces (Newton's First Law of Motion, Artificial Gravity and the Centrifugal Force) Using Clips from 2001: A Space Odyssey provides helpful background, step by step instructions for using the film clips, suggested assignments, and supplemental materials. Written by Erik Stengler, Ph.D., and James Frieden.
Astronomy: Black Holes
Students will be able to relate the powerful attraction of black holes as seen in Star Trek, the movie, to the concept of gravity. They will understand why this phenomenon is described using the adjective "black" in terms of the concept of escape velocity.
Give students a visual impression of black holes using the new Snippet Lesson Plan on Black Holes Using Clips from Star Trek, the Movie. Written by Erik Stengler, Ph.D., and James Frieden.
COMING IN NOVEMBER
A lesson plan for history and mathematics classes on Alexandria and Hypatia — Jewels of the Ancient World, using a long clip from the movie Agora; this film is also a valuable supplement for physics, astronomy and mathematics classes.
For ELA classes, Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five;
Using Empire Records, a movie with great messages about friendship and redemption, as a reward movie or the basis for writing projects;
and more . . . .
THREE NEW LEARNING GUIDES:
New Learning Guide based on the movie CRASH
Description: Fast paced and well-presented, this film interweaves incidents of racial and ethnic prejudice during 36 hours in modern-day Los Angeles. The action careens from the base and degraded to the admirable and heroic, painting a picture of the complexity of race and ethnic relations in America. A fine sense of irony pervades the movie.
Rationale for Using Crash: This film demonstrates that prejudice is not limited to the ignorant and the cruel and that racists are often the victims of racism themselves. It shows the multi-level nature of prejudice and that those who believe themselves to be free of bias may exhibit racist attitudes when confronted with unexpected situations. The film is an excellent platform for discussions of prejudice based on race, ethnicity, or national origin.
View the new Learning Guide to Crash.
Description: A struggling young writer finds a manuscript in a brief case purchased from an antique store in Paris. He publishes it under his own name and it becomes a best seller. He is suddenly a famous author. The lie causes the slow death of his marriage to the one woman he can ever love -- and then he is confronted by the real author.
Rationale for Using the Movie: Students will benefit from this sophisticated and interesting look at the psychological consequences of cheating when the rewards have been great and the plagiarism has remained undiscovered by the public.
View the Learning Guide to The Words.
New Learning Guide based on the movie WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE
Description: Gilbert is stuck in a small town caring for his obese mother, his mentally handicapped soon-to-be-18 years old brother and his two sisters. He works in the local grocery store which is losing customers as townspeople drive to a new large supermarket out on the highway. Gilbert longs for a life of his own.
One day a camper with engine trouble exits the line of tourists passing by the town. Enter Becky, a young woman with a fresh attitude toward life who is on the road with her grandmother.
Rationale for Using the Movie: Students often struggle with the conflict between responsibility to family and responsibility to self, a subject admirably addressed in this film. The story is multi-layered and uses many elements of fiction including symbol, motif, and expository phase.
View the new Learning Guide to What's Eating Gilbert Grape.
THREE NEW LEARNING GUIDES:
New Learning Guide based on the movie TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE
Description: An aging and temperamental baseball scout, who is losing his eyesight, has one final chance to prove that observation (through his ears and his daughter's eyes) are better predictors of the future performance of a major league baseball prospect than the computer analysis of past performance favored by the manager of the team. A second major plot, intertwined with the baseball story involves the recovery of the scout's estranged relationship with his daughter.
Rationale for Using the Movie: This is an entertaining sports/family dynamics story that will hold the interest of students and teach life lessons about family relationships.
View the new Learning Guide to TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE.
A New Learning Guide to
THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER
Description: In Middle School, Charlie's best friend committed suicide. Shortly thereafter Charlie had a breakdown and spent time in a mental institution. As the movie begins, it is Charlie's first day of high school. He is that "weird kid who spent time in a mental hospital" and has no friends. Charlie sits alone in the lunchroom every day. His luck changes when he is befriended by a group of misfit seniors: Patrick is gay; Samantha ("Sam") was the freshman slut; and Mary Elizabeth is a goth. Through the school year Charlie learns many things about acceptance, friendship and romantic relations. Eventually he is able to confront a dark secret that has been troubling him far more than the suicide of his friend.
The movie is based on the best selling novel of the same name and stays true to the themes of the book. The film does not follow the book exactly, but it has independent artistic significance. The author of the novel wrote and directed the movie.
Rationale for Using the Movie: This coming of age story hits several social emotional learning issues important to teens, including: courage in social situations, friendship, and romantic relationships. The story is a landmark in young adult literature for its sympathetic portrayal of a gay teenager whose life does not have a tragic outcome. The movie is one of the best films available for increasing acceptance of GBLTQ teens. It does the same for teens who suffer from an emotional disorder, in this case PTSD from childhood sexual abuse.
View the Learning Guide to THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER.
New Learning Guide based on the movie GROUNDHOG DAY
Description: Phil Connor, an arrogant and selfish television weatherman is assigned his fourth year of covering the Groundhog Day festivities in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where he becomes trapped in a time loop. He must re-live Groundhog Day, February 2, day after day after day. No matter what he does, when he wakes up the next morning, it's as if yesterday never happened. Except that he remembers that day and all the ones before it, but he's the only one who does. Since there is no tomorrow, there are no consequences. If Phil eats too much, drinks too much, robs an armored car, or jumps off a tall building, the next morning dawns as if none of that had happened. He can also learn what women admire and use that knowledge to seduce them on the next day.
Rationale for Using the Movie: The comic situation in which the main character learns important life lessons encourages students to evaluate their own routines and to find ways to avoid patterns of self-defeating behavior.
View the new Learning Guide to GROUNDHOG DAY.
THREE NEW LEARNING GUIDES:
New Learning Guide based on the movie COVE
Description: This is the 2010 Academy Award winning documentary exposing the annual dolphin hunt that occurs at a cove in Taiji, Japan. Dolphins are herded into the cove and trapped there by nets. Some are selected for transfer to dolphinariums throughout the world to be trained to entertain crowds of people. The remainder are slaughtered for their meat. Set up as a thriller, the movie follows the film crew as it tries to evade obstructions set in place by the Taiji fisherman and the government of Japan to stop them from filming the capture and slaughter.
Rationale for Using the Movie: This film is an exposé of cruel treatment of a very intelligent ocean-living mammal. When shown with the lessons provided in this Learning Guide the film provides opportunities for learning on several additional levels.
View the new Learning Guide to COVE.
A New Learning Guide to the Documentary FORKS OVER KNIVES
Description: Physician T. Colin Campbell, raised on a dairy farm, enjoyed a diet of meat and milk products until he became involved in a study that looked for causes of the "diseases of affluence": heart disease, cancer and Type-2 Diabetes. At the same time, noted surgeon, Caldwell Esselstyn, also raised on a dairy farm, noticed that a year or two after he performed arterial by-pass surgery, the arteries of many of his patients were filled again with cholesterol. Both men, independently, came to the conclusion that a whole-foods plant-based diet could stop the progression of these diseases and in some cases, reverse them. This knowledge has been synthesized in Forks Over Knives.
Rationale for Using the Movie: In order to make intelligent decisions about their diet, students need to know the information presented in this film. In addition, as schools adjust their lunch menus to offer healthy choices and as school boards are banning soda and candy machines from campuses, students need to understand what drives the changes in the food choices they are being offered.
View the Learning Guide to FORKS OVER KNIVES.
New Learning Guide based on the movie MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
Description: Hollywood screenwriter, Gil Pender, is trying to write a novel of literary significance. Vacationing in Paris with his fiancé and future in-laws, he is overwhelmed by nostalgia for the period of the Lost Generation, the 1920s, when brilliant American writers and visual artists from all over Europe lived and worked in Paris. While taking a midnight stroll Gil is magically transported to the 1920s where he meets Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Salvador Dali and other famous writers and artists of the period. Through these encounters Gil learns that he needs to change the course of his life and that although he must live in the present, he can shape his life according to the values that had drawn him into the past.
Rationale for Using the Movie: This film can provide benefits on at least three levels. It allows students to visualize famous writers and artists who worked in Paris during the 1920s. The story itself is valuable, raising the issue of how best to use the past. It can also serve to acquaint students with the City of Paris, one of the great cities of the world.
View the new Learning Guide to MIDNIGHT IN PARIS.
TWO NEW LEARNING GUIDES & ONE LESSON PLAN:
New Learning Guide based on the movie ARGO
Description: This is the story of the rescue of six American diplomats who escaped when Iranian militants seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979 and took the embassy staff hostage.
Rationale for Using the Movie: The film can serve as the basis for discussion and writing with respect to the risks and benefits of using movies as historical fiction. With careful scaffolding, the film can also be a platform from which students can explore lessons about the risks of causing regime change in other countries and U.S./Iranian relations since WW II.
View the Preview Learning Guide to Argo.
A New Learning Guide to the classic film Of Mice And Men
Description: Set in Depression era farm country, this film adaptation of John Steinbeck's novel opens as George and Lenny flee authorities after Lenny, who is mentally disabled, appears to have assaulted a woman. Lenny is incapable of understanding that his desire to caress something soft can easily be seen as threatening. George is his friend and protector. They eventually find work at a ranch where Lenny runs into similar but more serious trouble, the results of which cannot be escaped.
Rationale for Using the Movie: In its fairly accurate portrayal of the characters and themes presented in Steinbeck's novel, the film illuminates the conflicts between self-interest and loyalty as it explores the limits of friendship.
View the Preview Learning Guide to Of Mice And Men.
A New Lesson Plan based on the movie SHAKESPEARE BEHIND BARS
Description: Murderers, thieves and a child abuser, in prison on long sentences, seek self-discovery by playing roles in a production of Shakespeare's great last play, The Tempest. Since actors in Elizabethan times were considered to be criminal low life, Shakespeare would feel right at home with this troupe. As they prepare for performance, the men reflect on their crimes and the meaning of forgiveness while discovering remarkable parallels between their own lives and the experiences of the characters they play.
The film can be used as an interesting introduction to The Tempest or as a follow-up after studying the play. Shakespeare Behind Bars is also useful on its own.
View the new Lesson Plan to Shakespeare Behind Bars.
A LESSON PLAN ON SOCIAL SATIRE featuring THE INVENTION OF LYING
The spirits of Aristophanes, Voltaire, Jonathan Swift, and Mark Twain are alive and well in the movies. This Lesson Plan, suitable for any work of social satire, but based on Ricky Gervais' The Invention of Lying, contains background, more examples of social satire in various media,discussion questions and assignments to assist teachers in presenting a short unit on social satire.
As the movie opens, the audience is introduced to Mark Bellison, a slightly overweight young man with a pug nose who is unsuccessful at work and unlucky in love. In short order, Mark is rejected by a beautiful woman, gets fired from his job, and is about to be evicted from his apartment. The movie shows how Mark discovers the ability to lie while poking fun at modern society and some of our most cherished institutions.
PLEA BARGAINING IN THE AMERICAN JUSTICE SYSTEM
A Snippet Lesson Plan based on the movie AMERICAN VIOLET
Learner Outcomes/Objectives: By watching a 31 minute clip from the movie and through class discussion and assignments, students will learn about plea bargaining, the public policy decisions on which it is based, and some of the problems with the practice.
Rationale: The U.S. criminal justice system is primarily a system of plea bargains. 95% of all persons prosecuted for crimes in the U.S. end up pleading guilty in return for reduced charges or a lighter sentence. This lesson plan will provide students with a vivid illustration of the strong pressures that are brought to bear on defendants to plead out, regardless of whether they are guilty.
Description of the Film Clip: This film is a fact-based account of a young African-American mother arrested in a racially motivated drug sweep by a Texas county district attorney. She resists pressure to agree to a plea bargain.
View the new Snippet Lesson Plan on Plea Bargaining.
NEW LEARNING GUIDES TO THE FILMS 127 HOURS & THE HELP:
WRITING LESSON PLAN USING THE FILM 127 HOURS
Your arm is pinned by a giant boulder to the
rock wall of a canyon in the remote desert...
Description of the Movie: 127 Hours, adapted from Aron Ralston's book Between a Rock and a Hard Place, describes five days during which a giant boulder pinned Ralston's arm to the wall of a slot canyon. Trapped and with no hope of rescue, Ralston musters the courage to break the bones in his arm and then to sever the flesh from his body.
The "TWM Writing Lesson Plan Using 127 Hours" employs an innovative student handout to describe some of the concepts in Ralston's book. The handout is to be read before students watch the movie — or, since the essentials of Ralston's story can be told in a few short sentences, instead of watching the movie. Each section of the handout introduces an idea that helps readers understand Ralston's harrowing decision to cut off his arm and give himself a chance to walk away from certain death.
Suggested assignments are designed to encourage students to write freely in response to the information given and to empathize with the attributes of character that served Ralston so well. Then, as students watch the film, they will be able to see how ideas they have considered and written about are described visually.
View the Writing Lesson Plan Using 127 Hours.
LEARNING GUIDE TO THE HELP
Among the many stories about racism, The Help is unusually valuable because it demonstrates how prejudice distorts important personal relationships such those of primary caregiver and child, parent and child, girlfriend and boyfriend and between friends. Anyone who reads or sees "The Help" will never again believe the "Mammy" stereotype.
For ELA classes, the movie is an excellent opportunity to study character development over the course of a narrative. For U.S. History classes the film is a valuable addition to a list of movies to be watched as homework to explore segregation, Jim Crow and racism in the 20th century or as an example of the genre of historical fiction. See TWM's Historical Fiction in Film Cross-Curricular Homework Project
Objectives/Student Outcomes Using this Learning Guide: Students will engage in an analysis of character development in a popular story and will exercise their writing skills on a topic that interests them. They will become aware of how racism and classism distort human relationships and of the segregated society which existed in America as late as the 1960s.
The Learning Guide to The Help will assist in teaching from both the movie and the book.View the new Learning Guide to The Help.
LATEST TWM BLOG POSTS:
TWM Moves to Facilitator – Learner Model
Posted: August 6, 2012
Written By: Mary RedClay (TWM contributor)
Summer sails past and soon educated grown-ups will be preparing for their roles as teachers of youngsters, as has been happening ever since some farmer decided his kids needed to be home when the crops were ripe. Peculiar, isn't it, that we still follow the agrarian calendar. More peculiar still is that we consider teachers to be living textbooks, full of vital information that must be delivered to their students. In the "information age" this notion is absurd. Teachers will better serve their students if they become "facilitators" of instruction and guides to the process that students use to seek knowledge on their own....[ click here to continue reading full post ]
MORE NEW LEARNING GUIDES COMING SOON:
— Coming in August we will have two brand new Learning Guides to the movies
127 Hours and The Help, so keep an eye out for those soon!
UPDATED LEARNING GUIDES TO THE FILMS CONTAGION AND OUTBREAK:
Lesson Plan on Influenza and its Threat to Mankind
What if the Bird Flu Went Airborne?
Description of the Movie: Contagion tells the tale of a fictional influenza pandemic. It is, in many ways, realistic.
Learner Outcomes/Objectives: Students will understand the risks to modern society from the influenza virus and see a realistic scenario of what might occur in case of moderately lethal influenza pandemic. Students will learn to use the Internet to obtain information on illnesses from various web sites, including cdc.gov from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and www.flu.gov from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).
View the Learning Guide to Contagion Here.
The Spread of Viral Infection
Learner Outcomes/Objectives: Students will have a clear picture of the path that a virus can take from a host animal to its first human victims and from there to an epidemic destroying an entire community.
Rationale: The film clips provide an excellent supplement to a unit on the spread of infectious disease.
Description of the Film Clip: A deadly virus is transmitted from Africa to the United States and threatens to cause an epidemic. The clips are taken from the first hour of the movie showing how the disease spreads.
View the new Snippet Lesson Plan to Outbreak Here.
LATEST TWM BLOG POSTS:
Pairing of Nonfiction Books and Film
Written By: Mary RedClay (TWM contributor)
Years ago, a workbook given to students to help them prepare for a standardized test asked them to read a piece of nonfiction called "School Based Management." The students in my test prep class glanced at the title, read a line or two, and then quickly turned to the questions and penciled in the answers on the scan-tron test. Discussion ensued. I learned that the kids were certain they would do as well randomly selecting a response as they would were they to read the material and reason through to the correct answers. No way, they argued, were they going waste their time reading something so boring....[ click here to continue reading full post ]
Administrators: The cornerstone of any program to ensure that class time won't be wasted when students are shown movies is to give 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 the Common Core State Standards.
NEW TV PROGRAM WORKSHEETS FOR HOMEWORK:
Television is a multifaceted medium with programming that covers most subjects in the k-12 curriculum. There are nature shows, history documentaries, and dramas such as soaps, crime stories, and the reality survival shows. In addition, there are reality competition shows in dance, music, cooking, memory and various sports-like situations. TV also has documentary-like shows which provide important up-to-date information on the latest current events or discoveries in science. The most popular TV programs, with varying degrees of quality, are watched by millions.
The interest that students have in TV programming offers an opportunity for creative teachers to make interesting homework lesson plans for both extra credit and required homework assignments. An important additional advantage is that the TV watching will be done at home, outside of class, and will not take up instructional time.
- Fiction (Soaps, Dramas, and Reality/Survival Shows);
- Historical Fiction;
- Documentaries - Informational and Persuasive;
- Reality Show Competitions; and
- News Program.
Click Here to view the list of TV Program Worksheets for Homework which serve as the core for TV show lesson planning.
NEW MOVIE WORKSHEETS FOR DOCUMENTARIES:
We now offer two film study worksheets designed to help teachers quickly create lesson plans based on documentary films; one is for movies that are primarily informational and the other for films designed to persuade the viewer on a matter of political or social significance.
The worksheets assist students in analyzing the documentary. They allow students to take notes during breaks while watching the movie or when the film is over. The prompts on the worksheets can be used to facilitate class discussions or form the basis for writing assignments.
The worksheets for documentaries will help students:
- determine premise, theme and intent;
- look at the structure and form of the presentation;
- summarize important facts;
- articulate important lessons learned from the film; and
- identify scenes, images, or sounds that appeal to the viewer.
TWM offers the following movie worksheets for documentaries:
- Film Study Worksheet for a Documentary;
- Film Study Worksheet for a Documentary that Seeks to Persuade on Issues of Political or Social Significance.
LATEST TWM BLOG POSTS:
Hawthorne is to The Rolling Stones as "Young Goodman Brown" is to "Sympathy for the Devil"
Written By: Mary RedClay (TWM contributor)
Mick Jagger cannot be duplicated. And in his early days, everyone knew those Lips and studied how he slung them around his lyrics in sync with his moves. Whether or not you are old enough to be a Rolling Stones fan, your students will enjoy watching a video of this young 60's icon as they learn the theme of one of Nathaniel Hawthorne's best short stories.
The early classics of American Literature are increasingly obscure to today's students. Most of them would prefer a mediocre film over a book any day. But Hawthorne's short story, "Young Goodman Brown," as dense and difficult as it is, redounds with ideas that are as important now as when they were written in 1835. And Jagger's "Sympathy for the Devil" makes the central idea outright obvious. Plus, it leads to a good writing assignment...[ click here to continue reading full post ]
A NEW NONFICTION LEARNING GUIDE FOR INTO THE WILD:
Into the Wild tells the true story of Chris McCandless, a young man from a troubled family who was enraged by what he considered to be the moral lapses of his mother and father and their multiple failures as parents. Chris also had a love of nature and of adventuring in the wild. Upon graduating from college near the top of his class, Chris cut himself off from family and friends to go solo adventuring in the Western United States. His last trip was to the Alaskan wilderness where he was found dead of starvation in an abandoned bus, a few short miles from safety. The movie tells the story of the events at home, Chris' love of nature, his wanderings in the West, the people that he met, and, in the final weeks, his epiphany of forgiveness and his realization of the importance of human relationships.
The book, Into the Wild, by John Krakauer, is an excellent nonfiction text for students in grades 10 - 12. The film can be used to introduce students to the book or to serve as a reward after they have read the book. The TWM Learning Guide provides writing exercises for students who have seen the movie or read the book.
NEW SNIPPET LESSON PLANS USING THELMA & LOUISE AND ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST
Foreshadowing and Characterization using a film clip from Thelma & Louise
Learner Outcomes/Objectives: Students will learn how to use, analyze and interpret foreshadowing and characterization through showing rather than telling.
View the Snippet Lesson Plan to Thelma & Louise.
Deriving Theme Using a film clip from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
Learner Outcomes/Objectives: Students will practice deriving theme from a scene in a novel that has been adapted to film.
View the Snippet Lesson Plan to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
Deriving Theme By Comparing Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown" with the Rolling Stones' "Sympathy for the Devil"
Learning Outcomes/Objectives: Students studying American Literature will gain a sense of the writing of Nathaniel Hawthorne and see connections between his advanced thinking and similar themes found in pop culture. Students will observe the same ideas presented in two different media from two different time periods. They will practice expressing their ideas in a compare/contrast essay.
View the Snippet Lesson Plan for Deriving Theme.
LATEST TWM BLOG POSTS:
No Child Left Behind Has it All Wrong. It’s the Educators That Have Been Left Behind
Written By: Mary RedClay (TWM contributor)
The kids have moved directly into the future. Even elementary school students are listening to their iPods, playing video games, texting, tweeting, e-mailing, prowling YouTube and watching the cooking channel. And it seems as if they’re doing it all at once...[ click here to continue reading full post ]
Using the Movie Babies to Inspire Quality Writing
Written By: Mary RedClay (TWM contributing editor)
Not long ago in my 11th grade ELA class, a student announced to all that she was, well, with child. The class responded with a mighty “ohhhhh.” The sound, heard in muted chorus, could have signified a question, a moan of disappointment, a hint of disapproval or perhaps a basic “you-don’t-say” response. Probably given the fact that there were nearly forty students in the room, all three feelings were communicated in that “oh.” ...[ click here to continue reading full post ]
Visual Metaphors and Writing Assignments Using a Clip from Thelma & Louise
Written By: Mary RedClay (TWM contributing editor)
A good way to teach this concept is with a snippet from Thelma & Louise that shows characterization in the opening segment. First, a brief digression...[ click here to continue reading full post ]
MOVIES AS MOTIVATION TO READ NONFICTION:
Check with "What's new on TWM" next month when we will start "A New TWM initiative on using movies to interest students in reading nonfiction: The first guides will be to 127 Hours, Into the Wild and Mao's Last Dancer."
According to the 2010 Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"):
- Extensive research has established the need for college and career ready students to be able to independently read complex nonfiction texts;
- The majority of the required reading in worker training programs and in college is informational in nature and it is often challenging in content;
- The amount of nonfiction reading required of students in post-secondary education programs is usually greater than that required in K-12. CCSS pp. 3 & 4.
UPDATED LEARNING GUIDE TO THE OX-BOW INCIDENT:
The Ox-Bow Incident
A frontier town in 1885 Nevada is rocked by news that a respected rancher has been murdered. The sheriff is out of town. Impatient townspeople form a posse. Three strangers are soon found herding cattle marked with the brand belonging to the murdered rancher. They claim they bought the cattle — but there is no bill of sale. One of the strangers has the rancher's gun. He tells the posse that he bought it from the rancher but again, he has no evidence. Most of the posse wants to string the strangers up immediately. A few men argue that the posse should wait and turn the strangers over to the sheriff. What will the posse do?
NEW LEARNING GUIDE TO MAO'S LAST DANCER:
Mao's Last Dancer
The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide to Mao's Last Dancer will assist teachers who show the movie alone or in conjunction with reading Li Cunxin's interesting autobiography of the same title.
NEW SCIENCE SNIPPET LESSON PLANS USING THE RELIC AND DAYLIGHT
Viruses and the Speed of Evolution Using The Relic
Oxidation-Reduction Reactions (Redox) Using a Film Clips from Daylight
MOVIES AS REWARDS IN THE CLASSROOM:
Showing students movies as a reward for good behavior has its purpose.
The promise of a film as reward for tasks accomplished has always been a manipulative device favored by teachers who themselves love a good movie now and then. But reward doesn't have to mean useless or brain-dead.
Reward films are an opportunity to show students movies that are great works of art, unusual films that change lives or show a part of the world that students have never seen. It is also a reward to show students a filmed version of a book that they have read.
Finally, reward-time is a great way to expose students to foreign films.
The key is to use the class to do something different that will help students.
Click here to see our latest article about showing reward films. It includes a list of recommended movies.
NEW LEARNING GUIDES TO: Hercules & Grave of the Fireflies
What do you do with a movie that, although loved by children, takes a Greek myth, changes the plot, modifies the characters almost beyond recognition, mixes in Christian theological themes, and adds parallels to a comic book hero?
Grave of the Fireflies
Grave of the Fireflies is a heartbreaking film that shows two orphaned children trying to survive the aftermath of the American incendiary bombing campaign that preceded the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It shows one example of the effects of the Second World War on civilians and provides a clear example of the tragedy hidden behind the euphemism "collateral damage." Roger Ebert wrote, "Grave of the Fireflies is an emotional experience so powerful that it forces a rethinking of animation." Another critic compared the movie to Schindler's List saying that: "It is the most profoundly human animated film I've ever seen." See Roger Ebert's Review in the Chicago Sun-Times.
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 refer to the use of film. Movies can also assist in meeting standards that make no reference to film. Click here for an explanation of how a few carefully selected and properly presented movies can assist teachers in meeting the Common Core State Standards, including a complete list of the Common Core State Standards that relate to the use of film in education.
Helpful Tip: Are your school administrators resisting the use of film in your ELA classes? Give them TWM's article entitled Common Core State Standards and Feature Films in the ELA Classroom and the Common Core State Standards - Annotated & Highlighted for Films. These documents demonstrate that teachers cannot realistically meet the Common Core State Standards without showing some movies in the classroom and that a limited and judicious use of feature films can assist in meeting many standards.
Updated Learning Guide to Casablanca
Casablanca 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.
ELA teachers . . . . How many of your students will frequently read books as adults? Some . . . . but they'll all be watching movies!
Help students understand that movies tell stories that can be analyzed using the elements and devices of fiction. You may change the way your students look at film for their entire lives. With TWM's Movies as Literature Homework Project YOU CAN DO THIS WITHOUT A LARGE INVESTMENT OF CLASS TIME!
Social Studies Teachers . . . . How many of your students will read books about history when they are adults? A few . . . . but most will be watching historical fiction in movies!
TWM's Historical Fiction in Film Cross-Curricular Homework Project requires students to watch, outside of class, movies that are historical fiction. They are required to analyze the films for the elements and devices of fiction and for their historical accuracy and perspective. Used with TWM's revised Film Study Worksheet for Historical Fiction this homework assignment means . . . . YOU CAN DO THIS WITHOUT A LARGE INVESTMENT OF CLASS TIME!
Health Classes: Students love the character of Art, a man confined to a wheelchair by cerebral palsy. Art's spastic movements make even the simplest tasks of daily life extremely difficult. Michael Sheen's portrayal of this real-life character is so engaging that the way students see and think about persons with obvious physical disabilities will change forever. The movie will also help students reach new levels of understanding about the effects of early childhood trauma, PTSD, and overcoming a dysfunctional family. Music Within is one of the best films for Health classes relating to disabilities.
Social Studies Classes: Music Within presents one of the five great advances in human rights in the U.S. during the 20th century: the movement to allow the disabled to integrate into mainstream society. It will show students that just a few years ago, disabled people could not get access to public buildings and could be discriminated against at work and in education. The movie also provides a window onto life in the last half of the 20th century.
English Language Arts Classes: The movie is an excellent description of the human condition as experienced in America during the 20th century. It vicariously expands students' experiences and raises important questions that are great topics for persuasive essays and other writing projects.
Since it is strong in so many areas, the film also offers cross-curricular benefits.
Film Study Worksheet for Historical Fiction
Historical Fiction in Film Cross-Curricular Homework Project
Before showing a work of historical fiction, require students to read TWM's Film Study Worksheet for Historical Fiction. After the movie is over, in class or as homework, ask students to provide written responses. Alternatively, hold a class discussion based on the questions in the Worksheet. This will keep students' attention on the movie and lead them to evaluate the film as both a work of fiction and a description of history.
Because class time is valuable and there are few opportunities to show an entire movie in class, TWM has developed a Historical Fiction in Film Cross-Curricular Homework Project which requires students to watch, outside of class, a certain number of movies that are historical fiction — TWM suggests four per semester — and then respond to the questions in the Film Study Worksheet for Historical Fiction.
We have updated the Learning Guide and Student Handout for Super Size Me with new statistics about the obesity epidemic. TWM recommends ten other movies that will supplement and add depth to Health classes.
(We can count; the first one overlaps.)
Illustrate the amazing power of exponential increase and decrease, show students the reason for scientific notation, and introduce different numeral systems with Exponents, Scientific Notation, and Numeral Systems Using Powers of Ten or Cosmic Voyage. Both films have similar scenes that will leave a lasting impression on students.
Demonstrate the vast distances between stars but the relative closeness of galaxies with Interstellar and Intergalactic Distances Using Cosmic Voyage. The Guide has links to websites with amazing photographs of galactic collisions.
Show students the optics of refraction that lie behind the rare and ephemeral Green Flash. See Refraction and the Green Flash Using a Clip from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
How can harmonic motion sink a ship, break a glass, make beautiful music, or destroy a bridge? Give examples from Hollywood (fictional) to Tacoma (real) with Harmonic Motion Using Film Clips from Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End.
The Snippet Lesson Plan on Molecular Bonds and Surface Tension Using Film Clips from Microcosmos focuses on amazing footage of ants drinking from drops of water. It will interest students in this important topic.
The Old Man and the Sea is a faithful adaptation of Hemingway's Pulitzer Prize winning novella. The Learning Guide contains a Film Study Worksheet to keep students' focused on the film and the themes of the story. The Guide will assist in teaching both the book and the movie providing insights, discussion questions, and assignments. As almost always, TWM suggests that students read the book before they see the movie.
While The Sandlot appears on the surface to be a lightweight comedy, the movie provokes an empathic reaction in virtually all viewers. The Learning Guide to this film points out the themes of the movie and provides discussion questions. It contains assignments for middle or junior high students to practice the skills required by The Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts for Writing and for Speaking and Listening.
As you can see, we have a new and modernized look with new navigation tools including a search engine. Give it a drive — check it out.
We have updated the Learning Guide and Student Handout for Super Size Me with new statistics about the obesity epidemic.
TWO MORE SCIENCE SNIPPET LESSON PLANS
|In TWM's Snippet Lesson Plan — Introduction to Thermonuclear Reactions in the Sun and as a Source of Unlimited Energy for Mankind Students — Using a Film Clip from Spiderman 2 introduces the thermonuclear reactions that take place in the nucleus of the sun. Students will learn why it would be a major breakthrough to be able to reproduce the fusion that takes place in the Sun in a controlled environment on Earth. They will be introduced to the difficulties that have made this endeavor impossible to date. Students will also be introduced to the magnetic fields of the Sun and see films of sunspots and solar prominences.|
|The solar eclipse shown in Dolores Claiborne faithfully reproduces the correct atmospheric and light conditions as well as the phases of a total solar eclipse. While there is nothing like viewing a total solar eclipse while outside, this movie clip will allow students to vicariously participate in part of that experience. Check out TWM's Snippet Lesson Plan — Total Solar Eclipse — Using a Film Clip from Dolores Claiborne|
USE SNIPPETS OF FEATURE FILMS TO ILLUSTRATE PRINCIPLES OF
PHYSICS, BIOLOGY & EARTH SCIENCE
During 2011 TWM will present 12 new Snippet Lesson Plans illustrating principles of science. Combined with our current offerings, TWM Users will be able access more than 40 ways to use film in physics, biology and earth science classes to vary classroom routines and stimulate interest. See TWM's Science and Technology Index.
Our first new Science Snippet Lesson Plan is an Introduction to Volcanoes and Tectonic Plates Using "Volcano".
Students will learn about volcanoes,their likely locations, the factors that can lead to an eruption, the relation of plate tectonics to volcanic eruptions, and the kind of certainty that scientists can and cannot provide. They will become familiar with the way that volcanoes are classified and four of the important phenomena that happen before and during eruptions: heating of underground and surface water, lava flows, ash clouds, and volcanic bombs.
The Lesson Plan shows the difference between what occurs in nature and where Hollywood fantasy manifests itself in the film. The events of the movie are loosely based on real incidents in which a volcano suddenly surged to life in an unexpected location and when advancing lava was cooled and stopped with water. Comparison of the real events with the film will demonstrate the differences between fact and fiction in movies while providing interest and context for the lesson.
STUDENTS ARE FASCINATED BY THE HERO'S JOURNEY
— MAKE THIS MYTHICAL AND LITERARY STRUCTURE RELAVANT TO THE LIVES OF STUDENTS
— SHOW HOW IT RELATES TO STORIES OF ACHIEVEMENT AND PERSONAL GROWTH
Very few students will be involved in the situations and violence portrayed in today's action/adventure movies. However, most of them, at one time in their lives, will embark on their own quests for achievement or for personal growth. These quests often fit the paradigm of the Hero's Journey. TWM has developed four Lesson Plans to show that the Hero's Journey can be found in stories other than action/adventure movies. More Hero's Journey Lesson Plans will be published in the coming months.
Check out TWM's Stages and Archetypes of the Hero's Journey -- Introducing the Monomyth based on the insights of Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell and Christopher Vogler.
|In Fly Away Home, Amy undertakes two important quests. The first is to successfully pass through paralyzing grief arising from her mother's untimely death. She accomplishes this, in part, through her second quest, a mission in which she and her father work together to teach her orphaned geese how to migrate from north to south. Both of these quests fit the paradigm of "the Hero's Journey,"|
|The "The Wizard of Oz" is another Heroine's Journey. In the process of finding her way back home, Dorothy grows in self-confidence and matures.|
|The Hero's Journey can also be found in romantic comedies as shown by the Lesson Plan for "Big". In this case, Josh makes an internal Hero's Journey and learns that despite his desire to be big, he is not ready for the world of adults and that childhood is a time to be enjoyed.|
|The Hero's Journey lesson plan for "Departures" shows a Journey of personal growth and development in a foreign film.|
In each of these lesson plans, students will be asked to describe the stages and archetypes of the Hero's Journey. By completing one or more of the suggested assignments, students will employ and perfect the writing skills required by ELA curriculum standards.
TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guides are designed to assist teachers in creating lesson plans. Each Learning Guide contains sections on Helpful Background, Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Discussion Questions, and Assignments.
Snippet Lesson Plans are made from short subjects or from "film clips," "movie clips," or "video clips." The video segments of these lesson plans are ideal for classroom use because they are less than 40 minutes long.
Movies and films make the events they portray come alive. TeachWithMovies.com helps teachers and parents make lessons vivid and personal for children.
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