Lesson: Film Review 3: Zooming in on your Target Film

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This lesson expands upon students’ search and website evaluation skills as they survey the local film scene, decide which films they’ll review (and with whom), and conduct preliminary background research. 


1.     To present a search challenge, suggested strategies for over-coming that challenge, and an opportunity for doing so.

2.     Applying criteria supplied by students and generated by students, to select films for review and teams of students for doing so.

3.     To exercise research skills in finding background on target films.



1.     Activity Worksheet 4: Zooming in on your target film



  1. Using Activity Worksheet 4: Zooming in on your target film, have students survey the local film scene and select some candidate films for evaluation. Remember that reviews will have the most value if they are of newly released films. (Ideally, students should see the film on opening night — this also helps them avoid coming across other reviews, which could bias them.)
  2. Students working in groups, with teacher support, decide which students will visit which films. Put a list of films, with times and places and student names on the board; encourage groups to invite stragglers so everyone has a group and a film; also validate students who prefer to watch a DVD provided by the teacher instead.
  3. Once in established groups, group members should immediately exchange phone numbers and email addresses to facilitate coordination.
  4. In film groups, students will conduct research into various aspects they’re going to visit.  Think in terms of Academy Award categories (director, actor, screen writer, make-up artist, set designer, and so forth). Other reviews of the same film do not constitute legitimate background sources (and should be scrupulously avoided unless students are conducting an anniversary review).
  5.  Students should make copies of their background research for their team members and their teacher before they meet for their film.



Assessment Questions:

  1. Do all students have a plan for when and where they will conduct their review/observation?
  2. Are they organized into functional groups?


Connections to Standards:

Teacher Notes:

  1. We suggest that you give two weekends from this point to allow students the time to schedule their meals/observations.  That will mean that you should be prepared to pursue other projects in the classroom as you wait for students to conduct their reviews.
  2. Be especially sensitive at this point to the needs of students who may not want to go to a film but will prefer another assignment.  Insisting on — or otherwise arranging for — one or more non-film groups may defuse the potential for any problems.


Time needed to teach:

1 Session


Web search
Online Collaboration
Reading Activity


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