Lesson: Film Review 5: A Night at the Movies

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This lesson is about the final preparations for the film — the moment of truth: actually viewing it — and then having a follow-up conversation with group members so students can flesh out their ideas, their reactions to the movie. (Time required: varies by film length, transportation, individual group members planning)



1.     To have the students experience the stimulus about which they’ll be writing

2.     To encourage critical thinking about that stimulus



1.     Background research compiled by each student

2.     Appendix F: Film Critic’s Checklist

3.     Activity Worksheet 5:  Reflections on 3-stage thinking



  1. Review Appendix F:  "Film Critic’s Checklist” with the class and encourage students to bring the checklist with them to their film
  2. Discuss the importance of taking good notes during the film, of being prepared to do this and planning for how to do so in the dark.  It is particularly important that they record the observations they might not remember later:  the cute way the lead actress smiles, the rough transition between the establishing shot and the close-up.
  3. Strongly encourage students to engage in three stages outside the classroom:
    1. Pre-film gathering:  Encourage students to meet in their groups before the film (at a café? in your classroom?) to share their background research with each other.
    2. Watch the film, taking notes vigorously.
    3. Post-film gathering: Encourage students to meet immediately after the film to share their observations.  This is a magical time, when their observations are at their freshest, when their conversations with each other are likely to yield connections they might not make on their own.  Encourage them not to short-change themselves by skipping this step. Pretty soon, they’ll be sitting down to write alone, and they will wish they had their group members around them to bounce ideas off each other.
  4. Send the students out to do the reviews.
  5. Debrief when they are finished.  (Given the recommended two-weekend window for completion of this step, you may have multiple opportunities to debrief in your classroom.)



Assessment Questions:

1.     Are students prepared to proceed?

2.     Did they follow the three-step procedure successfully?  (Activity Worksheet 3 allows you to gets some feedback as to whether they did or not.)


Connections to Standards:

Teacher Notes:

  1. It’s a good idea at this point to check in with all of your groups.  You want to be able to help with students whose schedule changes mean they may suddenly find themselves group-less and confused about what to do next.  Keep the classroom DVDs and other non-cinema options handy to offer in case of a crisis.


Time needed to teach:

1 Session


Reading Activity
Writing Activity


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