Archive for the ‘Wednesday Movies’ Category

Wednesday Movie: Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Wednesday, January 27th, 2016

Movie Wednesday

The 1971 movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, isn’t your run-of-the-mill children’s film. Based on Roald Dahl’s bestselling book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, it’s a psychedelic mix of color and chaos, shadow and songs. When Charlie, a boy from a poor family, wins the chance to visit the world’s most famous chocolate factory with four other children, he has no idea what a spellbinding, spooky, and surprising day he’s in for.

Leading the children throughout the factory is Mr. Willy Wonka, who’s every bit as strange as the rooms on the tour. Magically brought to life by Gene Wilder, he’s got a glint in his eye and a lilt in his voice that are more than a little unnerving.

Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory is a doorway into a world where sweets grow on trees, geese lay golden eggs, and gobstoppers last forever. But it’s a dangerous world for the unwary.

Despite the fact that it’s 45 years old this year, the film is every bit as vivid, joyous, and thought-provoking as when it first came out. So give it a go if you haven’t seen it!

Discussion Questions

  • The four children who explore the factory with Charlie are depicted as highly unpleasant, but do you think they deserve what happens to them? Explain your answer.
  • Roald Dahl didn’t like the film at all, partly because he thought it focused too much on Mr. Wonka and not enough on Charlie. Do you think that is true? Why or why not.
  • If you’ve read the book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, compare the film to the novel. See how many differences you can spot.
  • Was hiding golden tickets in chocolate bars the best way to find a new factory owner? What might you have done differently if you’d been Willy Wonka?

Also, see that bar of chocolate in the graphic above? The photographer notes that Prestat of Piccadilly is one of London’s oldest chocolate shops, and that Roald Dahl referred to Prestat as “the great chocolatiers.” Could that have been the chocolate he had in mind when writing Charlie & The Chocolate Factory?

Image by Martin Cooper (cc cropped, tinted, 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!

Movie Discussion Club

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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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