Site Offers Indexed Lesson Plans Built Around Movies for an Array of Academic Subjects
Do you sometimes find yourself thinking about how you can spice up a lesson with some engaging visuals, a pop culture reference, some humor or drama, or something else that gives it that extra “pop!”? Or … have you ever been watching a good movie and thought, “Wow! This totally relates to one of my lessons”?
Well if you've experienced either of these notions, this site is for you (and even if you haven't, you'll probably want to check it out anyway).
TeachWithMovies.org offers a collection of lesson plans and curriculum materials using movies to inspire, inform and motivate your students. There are subject-specific sections for English, Social Studies, Sciences, and Other Subjects (which include Math, Health, Music, and numerous other subjects). These subject areas are often broken down into sub-categories (for example, Social Sciences is broke down into US History, World History, and Civics).
Some lesson plans are built around the movie as a whole*, and some are geared towards specific movie sections, a.k.a. “snippets”, providing the opportunity for shorter, more focused lessons.
*TWM does not advocate for having kids sit through movies in classes as a regular practice:
“WM doesn't advise using a lot of movies in the classroom. We suggest that teachers show one, possibly two, full-length movies a semester. What TWM advocates is using full-length movies in a way that inspires, opens new vistas, drives assignments, and changes perception. The uses are myriad and the benefits many. When 11th grade girls tell you that the film Water, a movie about widows in India in the 1930s is the best movie they ever saw, you know you've opened a new window on their world.”
“PRECIOUS”: Here is a lesson based on PRECIOUS, taken from the extensive index of movie adaptations (“movies adapted from books that are frequently assigned reading in english language arts classes”). Note how the lesson includes identifiers for which academic subjects it can work for, how it relates to social emotional learning, and the moral and ethical emphasis of the lesson.
- SUBJECTS — Health; ELA (for cross-curricular assignments); Psychology;
- SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Child Abuse, Self-esteem, GBLTQ; Parenting; Taking Care of Yourself;
- MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Responsibility, Caring.
“HOOSIERS”: I found this lesson while checking out the Social-Emotional Learning index, which contains a dozens of categories, ranging from “Alcohol and Drug Abuse” and “Ambition” to “Teamwork” and “Work/Career”. Note how the lesson has lots of general Discussion Questions, Social-Emotional Learning questions, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis questions.
Introduction to Volcanoes and Tectonic Plates Using “VOLCANO”: This lesson is available under Earth Science, and it is also cross-indexed under “Snippets”. There are three portions of the movie used for the lesson, each about 20 minutes (the relevant segments are identified with start and end times).
“CONTACT”: I came across this lesson in a section labelled “Reward Films” (“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 mean brain-dead or useless. The key is to use the class to do something different that will help students.”). The film is also cross indexed under these Subjects: Religions/Judeo-Christian, Science Fiction, Space Exploration, ad Mathematics, as well applicable Social-Emotional Learning and Moral-Ethical Emphasis indices.
As you can see, there are quite a few indexes built in TeachWithMovies that can help teachers find good movies with specific lesson goals and objectives in mind.