Archive for the ‘Wednesday Movies’ Category

Movie Wednesday: Because of Winn-Dixie

Movie Night: Because of Winn Dixie

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Opal lives a quiet life with her father, a preacher. Both of them still miss Opal’s mother, who abandoned them years ago, and neither of them quite know what to say to each other in her absence. They’ve just moved to a trailer park in a town called Naomi, and as her father isn’t the sort to introduce himself to new people, it’s up to Opal. One of the first people she meets isn’t actually a person, but a stray dog, whom Opal calls Winn-Dixie (after a supermarket).

Over the summer, Opal and Winn-Dixie get to know the people of Naomi—the librarian, the pet shop owner, and Gloria Dump who has a tree covered in bottles—and Opal even gets to know her father better. Winn-Dixie might be Opal’s greatest friend, until a storm breaks out during a community party, and Opal might end up losing him as well.

Because of Winn-Dixie was adapted into a film in 2005, directed by Wayne Wang with a screenplay by Joan Singleton, based on the novel of the same name by Kate DiCamillo. It’s a film for the whole family about redemption, new beginnings and learning to let go.

Discussion Questions

  • If you’ve read the book, how do you think the film compares?
  • Have you ever had a pet? What do you think a pet brings to one’s life?
  • Gloria Dump has a special “mistake tree” to show all the mistakes she’s made. What would your mistake tree have on it?
  • Winn-Dixie has a fear of lightning. Do you have any strong fears like that? How do you combat them?
  • Opal names Winn-Dixie after a supermarket. Think of unusual names you might name an animal.

Additional Resources

Because of Winn-Dixie themed activities

Literary studies ideas for Because of Winn-Dixie

23 pickling recipes

movie-wednesday-because-of-winn-dixie-revised

Learning language arts with the Because of Winn-Dixie Arrow!

The Arrow is the monthly digital product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel (you purchase or obtain the novels yourself). It’s geared toward children ages 8-11 and is an indispensable tool for parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

 

Movie Wednesday: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Movie Night: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

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Brave Writer receives compensation at no extra cost to you. Thank you!]

One of the most successful book series of all time, Harry Potter has enchanted several different generations and inspired millions. The books have all been adapted into an equally successful film series, beginning with the first one, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (links to digital edition).

Orphaned as a baby and living with his horrible aunt and uncle, Harry James Potter isn’t the happiest boy in the world… until a giant kicks down the front door and tells him he’s a wizard. Enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry’s life becomes quite literally magical. He makes new friends, Ron and Hermione, learns extraordinary spells, and discovers a secret hidden at the heart of the school. The teachers at Hogwarts are protecting something, and it may be in a lot more danger than they think…

You may well have seen it before, but the first Harry Potter film is still a marvelous experience for the whole family.

Discussion Questions

  • If you’ve read the book, how do you think the film compares?
  • A character arc is the “transformation or inner journey of a character over the course of a story.” How do you think Harry, Ron and Hermione change throughout the film?
  • Is Hogwarts really a safe place for children, considering how many dangerous animals live in the grounds? Would you want to actually go there? Why or why not.
  • Harry essentially kills Quirrell at the film’s climax, unlike in the novel. How do you feel about this rather dark alteration?
  • When a series is loved by millions, as Harry Potter is, we can sometimes lose sight of what makes it so special to us. What does the story of Harry Potter mean to you personally?

Additional Resources

Potter Party Mania! – How to plan and execute a very Harry Potter party!

Harry Potter Crafts – A great resource for all things Potter crafts. Everything from knitting to food.

Harry Potter Recipes – 13 recipes every Harry Potter fan will love.

movie-wednesday-arrow-harry-potter

Learn language arts with the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone Arrow!

The Arrow is the monthly digital product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel (you purchase or obtain the novels yourself). It’s geared toward children ages 8-11 and is an indispensable tool for parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

 

Movie Wednesday: The Great Gatsby

Movie Wednesday: The Great Gatsby

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Written in 1925 by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby is widely considered a masterpiece. Over the years it’s been adapted into ballets, plays, and several films; and in 2013 it was made into a film again, a luscious extravaganza directed by Baz Luhrmann  and starring Leonardo DiCaprio (in order to evaluate whether or not this PG-13 movie is appropriate for your family, we recommend watching it first and/or using the Kids-in-Mind website).

Plot Summary

In the 1920s, Nick Carraway spends a summer on Long Island, experiencing the wild lifestyle of the East and visiting his beautiful cousin Daisy. Nick’s neighbor, Mr Gatsby, throws the most expensive and exciting parties in the country, even though he himself is never seen. All these parties are held for one reason—to attract Daisy, whom Gatsby has loved for years. But is there any hope for Daisy and Gatsby when they finally meet again? And what will happen when Daisy’s brutal husband Tom finds out?

Discussion Questions

  • How do you think the film compares to to the book?
  • Which character do you sympathize with the most and why? Do you think any of them are irrefutably right or wrong in what they believe and do? Explain.
  • The film is full of visual metaphors—the clock Gatsby nearly breaks, doors banging open, Daisy’s pearl necklace and the green light at the end of the dock. What do you think these represent?
  • The ending of the film is extremely downbeat, with none of the main characters ending up truly happy. Do you prefer happy endings in films? Why or why not.

Additional Resources

Great Gatsby Fried Chicken – How to make Great Gatsby fried chicken!

How to plan a Great Gatsby themed party – Tinsel chandeliers, table settings, and flowers—everything you might need for your Great Gatsby themed party.

Boomerang The Great GatsbyLearn language arts with the Great Gatsby Boomerang!

The Boomerang is a monthly digital downloadable product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel. It is geared toward 8th to 10th graders (ages 12—advanced, 13-15) and is the indispensable tool for Brave Writer parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

Movie Night: How to Train Your Dragon

Movie Wednesday How to Train Your Dragon

[This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Brave Writer!]

Cressida Cowell’s How to Train Your Dragon has captivated millions since it was first published, and in 2012 it was adapted into a film. The film is very different from the book, but it’s a gorgeous piece of work that’s definitely worth a watch.

On the storm-tossed island of Berk, Vikings and dragons are locked in a brutal war. Hiccup, teenage son of the Chief, has a lot on his shoulders and is desperate to prove himself. But when he shoots down a dragon in battle, he can’t bring himself to kill it—and the dragon can’t bring itself to kill Hiccup.

In utmost secret, Hiccup gradually befriends the dragon, whom he names Toothless. Their friendship might change the world. But Hiccup’s friends are growing closer to discovering the truth, and the Vikings and dragons are getting closer and closer to wiping each other out. It might already be too late.

Beautifully animated and with an important message at its heart, How to Train Your Dragon is a superb film for the whole family.

Discussion Questions

  • The movie is quite a loose adaptation of the book. It uses the original idea to create new characters and a new story line. Do you enjoy films like that or do you prefer adaptations that stick more closely to the source material? Explain your answer.
  • How does the soundtrack contribute to the cinematic experience?
  • Would the film work as live action? Give examples where it might or might not work as well.
  • Though the tribe call themselves Vikings, they bear little resemblance to historical Vikings. Does historical accuracy matter in a fantasy film? Why or why not?
  • Would you like to own a dragon? If so, what kind?

Additional Resources

How to Train Your Dragon party ideas – DIY ideas for a How to Train Your Dragon themed kids party.

Make Your Own Viking Helmet – Create your own Viking helmet.

Arrow How to Train Your Dragon Learn language arts naturally with the How to Train Your Dragon Arrow!

The Arrow is the monthly digital product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel (you purchase or obtain the novels yourself).

It’s geared toward children ages 8-11 and is an indispensable tool for parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

Start With What They Do

Start with what they do

A mom in the BraveSchoolers Facebook Group asked what to do when her son was asked to write a movie review but wrote a summary instead.

Start always with what he did do! A summary is challenging. That he wrote one is a great place to start. Most reviews include a summation of the movie, so notice that. Say: “Great job summarizing the story. That’s a high level writing skill” (it is). Then talk a bit about what he liked and didn’t like about the movie. While he talks, take some notes. Then hand them back to him and say: “I’ve noticed that reviews also include the personal opinions of the reviewers about the movie. You have so many good ones. I jotted a few down. As you take another look at your review, I wonder if you can think about ways to incorporate your opinions as well.”

Don’t do this too quickly after you’ve given positive feedback. Allow him to experience your pride in his work. He can then narrow and expand the content to include opinions. He can give full attention to the opinion part of his thinking and can do some freewriting around that. Then he can take these two pieces of writing and “stitch” them together on yet another day. You might even read some movie reviews together to get ideas about how to do that. Make sense?

Concentrate on how he writes! Start there. Talk about the power of his vocabulary, his ability to grab the reader’s attention, his deft handling of the storyline without boring the reader, or his pacing.

Then talk about the assignment—the purpose of a review. You might read some reviews so he gets a feel for them. Ask him if he wants to take another stab at it, using some of this material, but not giving away the entire plot. Talk to him about how film critics analyze: what are the categories, what are the focal points (Acting? Camera work? Storyline?). Do most reviewers tell the end of the story or do they simply hook you with part of it? And so on. Perhaps don’t even revise this one. Just get to know the genre of reviews, reading them and talking about them. Then he might try another movie with those ideas in mind. Make a list of aspects of film to consider as you write about one when you are reviewing. He just needs more support to do what you are talking about, but his writing is just fine. He’s doing great!

Resist the temptation to say he didn’t do what he was supposed to. Work with what he offered!

The Homeschool Alliance