Archive for the ‘Wednesday Movies’ Category

What’s a primary part of any good language arts program? Watching movies!

Wednesday, May 6th, 2015

What's a primary part of any good language arts program? Watching movies!

Surprisingly enough, watching movies with your kids ought to be a primary part of any good language arts program. There is nothing like listening to language used in the right context by different people (especially actors) for vocabulary training as well as growing in familiarity with proper syntax.

Film teaches kids comic timing, irony, key cultural assumptions, and makes use of a host of well-known story archetypes. Additionally, plot and characterization are both easily identified and understood in movies. Quickly kids learn about what makes a good versus poorly drawn villain, they discover what a climax is without even knowing that that is what it’s called, and they can make predictions based on past story experiences.

Comparing multiple versions of the same story (different film versions and comparisons with the original novel) is an excellent way to point out characterization choices, to focus on setting and costuming, etc.

The key to good movie viewing at home is watching with your kids and talking about what you see. Ask questions. Stop the film at a crucial juncture and ask everyone to predict what will happen next. Replay a scene after the movie is over to see if you understand it differently now that you know the whole story. Watch the same movie once, twice, three times.

Watching films together is a far better way to develop language arts skills than all the typical workbooks that talk about plot and/or vocabulary. Movies put the plot on display in about two hours. Can’t beat that!

Here are some helpful resources:

16 Fancy Literary Techniques Explained by Disney by Adam Moerder

“Because why waste money on an English degree when you can just watch Disney movies?”

Teaching Language Arts with Movie and Book Pairings from Netflix by Colleen

“For older kids, one of my favorite ways to teach language arts with Netflix is to have them watch movie versions of books they’ve read. When I taught full time in the classroom, I’d have my students do this too. It’s a great way to encourage critical watching and reading. Kids can compare the versions, and analyze which is richer and why.”

Read the Book, Watch the Movie by Andrea

“This great list of over 80 wonderful stories that have been made into movies is sure to keep you busy! This is a great way to encourage reluctant readers or bookworms alike! Read them aloud then watch them for a movie night or let confident readers read them alone.”

Encourage Persuasive Writing with Movie Reviews and More! by Danielle Mahoney

“Let a trip to the movies inspire your students to write fantastic reviews that will persuade others to either see the movie — or skip it!”

Top 25 Movies for Writers by Online Universities

“Translate your love of the craft into a night of entertainment with these great movies based on writers. You’ll find intriguing real life stories, movies that show the sometimes frustrating nature of writing, and a great collection of movies about the trials and tribulations of fictional writers themselves.”

Note: Not all film suggestions may be right for your child. Check content using review sites like Kids in Mind.

Need help commenting meaningfully on plot, characterization, make-up and costumes, acting, setting and even film editing? Check out our eleven page guide, Brave Writer Goes to the Movies. Also, tell us about a film you and your kids watched together (along with a pic if you have one) and if we share it on the blog you’ll receive a free copy!

Image by Кирилл Рыжов / Fotolia

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How to use a movie for dictation practice

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

Movies and dictation

Today’s post is from the February 5th FREE Daily Writing Tip:

Use a favorite scene from a well-loved film for writing dialog from dictation. You should have kids who are already skilled in copywork of dialog first.

Then, try it like this:

  1. Load the DVD.
  2. Cue it up for the dialog scene (no more than 2 speakers, only back and forth 4-5 times).
  3. Go over basic punctuation conventions for dialog (remind kids how to use quotation marks, that periods and question marks go inside the quotes, that each new speaker starts on a new line, indented, etc.).
  4. Play the scene through.
  5. Then play it a bit at a time, pausing as your children write. Do this for as long as it takes.
  6. Finally, play the scene all the way through, while the child compares their work to what they hear, making adjustments.

You will be the one to correct the finished product, but do it alongside the child in conversation – “Good job here. I think you need an apostrophe for the possessive here. Oops! Changed speakers. What do you do? That’s right. Indent, new line.”

Have fun!

Image by Francis Bijl (cc cropped, tinted, text added)

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Movie Wednesday: James and the Giant Peach

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

007

Our family recently started the Brave Writer lifestyle, and we’re all enjoying our new routine. My daughter, 10, is using The Arrow for James and the Giant Peach. My son, 7, was interested in the book, too, so we did it as a read-aloud.

Today, as a conclusion to the study, we watched the movie version on Netflix. We had a good discussion afterward, centering on how different the movie was from the book. The movie started off pretty accurately, but as soon as Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge didn’t get squished, they noticed a lot of differences.

My daughter enjoyed the book more, as the personalities of the bugs were more developed, there was a lot more detail, and it made more sense. My son liked the movie version – he liked seeing what we read about and didn’t seem to mind that it didn’t match up.

This was a good exercise for them to watch the movie version of a book they’d just read (or listened to). We talked about how movies can’t include everything in a book and why they might want to change some things.

They can’t wait to tell Daddy about it!

With joy, Andrea

Image (cc)

Need help commenting meaningfully on plot, characterization, make-up and costumes, acting, setting and even film editing? Check out our eleven page guide, Brave Writer Goes to the Movies. Also, tell us about a film you and your kids watched together (along with a pic if you have one) and if we share it on the blog you’ll receive a free copy!

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The Homeschool Alliance this month: Movies!

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

HSA Feb_blog

The Homeschool Alliance is in full swing! We’ve got archives of materials all the way back to September. Families in the Alliance are saying that it is transforming how they understand their homeschools. Peace and progress result.

February is going to be especially wonderful! In addition to the reading material (about developing thinkers), I’ll be giving you weekly activities to do with your kids that will help you take the usual subject areas and turn them into vehicles for all that cognitive growth.

We’ll discuss your families and their specific dynamics, too, to help you get beyond the tedium of curricula and the foot-dragging of mid year school work.

In addition, our one-thing practice is all about film! Members will receive (for free) the Brave Writer Goes to the Movies Guide in addition to some guidance and discussion about how film can enhance your home education experience.

I give all kinds of personal feedback too. So if you’re stuck or worried or despairing, I’m there to be your personal coach! Ask any question, and I’ll do my best to get you back to your happy whole self!

All this for under $25.00/mth. Quit any time!

Sign up now!

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What do we talk about AFTER the movie?

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

Family watching a movie

Have you ever experienced this? You added a regular movie night to your Brave Writer Lifestyle. You carefully selected a quality film you believed your child would enjoy. The credits have rolled, and the conversation goes something like this:

“What did you think?”
“I liked it.”
“What are your thoughts about the main character?”
“I liked her.”
“Did you have a favorite part?
“I don’t know. Could I play Minecraft now?”

The exchange feels stilted and forced. Instead of a Big Juicy Conversation, your child wants to bolt. Next time, keep the following tips in mind.

7 Ways to Encourage Natural, Lively Film Discussion

1. Lead the way. If you get, “I don’t know,” for an answer then share your reactions. “It made me angry when…” “I had no idea that X would happen…” “Were you as shocked as I was that Y didn’t win?”

2. Be specific. “What did you think?” is so open that some children aren’t able to pin down reasons. Instead try, “What surprised you the most?” and “Could you predict the ending? How did you know?!”

3. Dig Deeper. When your child responds with a general, “I liked it,” you might say, “That’s cool. What did you like about it? The story? The songs? The animation? I liked…”

4. Ask probing questions. “If a psychologist looked at the actions of Z what do you think he or she would say?”

5. Encourage connection. “Do you relate to anyone in the movie, or do any of the characters remind you of someone you know? And, if so, how are they alike?”

6. Seize the moment for retelling. Oral narrations can feel stiff and artificial when asked for. However, if the child is retelling to someone who hasn’t seen the movie, then the retelling springs from a natural place of wanting to share. So let’s say you watched a movie in the afternoon, when the non-homeschooling parent arrives home, ask over dinner, “We watched a great movie today. Who wants to tell Daddy or Mommy about it?”

7. Don’t push it. Sometimes the best conversations happen a day or two later! Not everyone is prepared to discuss a film the moment the credits roll! Wait for the drive to the dentist or while giving baths. Bring it up in light conversation and through memories of the film and see how it goes them.

The Bottom Line

Even without a discussion, movie viewing is valuable to your kids as a means of teaching them the structure of plot, characterization, setting, mood, theme, and more. Over time, these are all “going in” and you will find that your children will draw on those memories of movie-viewing to help them as they explore literary analysis in high school and beyond.

Image by Personal Creations (cc cropped and text added)

Need help commenting meaningfully on plot, characterization, make-up and costumes, acting, setting and even film editing? Check out our eleven page guide, Brave Writer Goes to the Movies. Also, tell us about a film you and your kids watched together (along with a pic if you have one) and if we share it on the blog you’ll receive a free copy!

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