Whether we enjoy action, suspense, horror, romance, or some other type of story, most of us love the movies. Movies are unique in that they are accessible by all, and we increase our appreciation of films the more we discuss, understand, and can relate to them. A particularly good movie will help us understand more about ourselves and humanity as well.
I plan to study the following films and thematic concepts based on student interest and parent permission for the R-rated films:
Coming of Age: Stand By Me (R), The Truman Show, Dead Poets’ Society
Redemption: Stagecoach, The Fisher King (R), One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (R)
Perseverance: 12 Angry Men, All the President’s Men, Life is Beautiful
Suspense: Rear Window, Psycho (R), Mystic River (R)
Life and Love: Forrest Gump, Grand Canyon, The Graduate, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir
Family and Friends: Harvey, On the Town, Benny and Joon
Individual in a Community: Mosquito Coast, Man From Snowy River, Silverado
1-3-19 Do Now: Create a focused listing of common experiences, realizations, tensions, awakenings that you think are part of the coming of age process. Go over syllabus and course expectations. Think about the film list and propose any others you think merit consideration. Discuss the list students created in their Do Now and also coming of age stories they have read or seen. Assign returning of permission slip as first grade.
1-4-19 Do Now: What does it mean to be a man? Watch “Almos’ a Man” based on the story “The Man Who Was Almost a Man” by Richard Wright. Also watch clip from Grand Canyon. Discussion: What does the gun symbolize to David? How can you relate this to life for young men today? Permission slips due.
1-7-19 Do Now: Tell me about an adventure you went on with friends or family. Read and discuss article on Stand by Me. Begin to watch film, keeping notes in your film journal specifically related to character development for the four boys. Film is 89 minutes long. I'll also hand out the culminating assignment for the unit so you can target your note-taking accordingly.
1-8-19 Do Now: Which of the characters is pulling at your heartstrings the most at this point in the film? Continue watching Stand By Me, finishing movie.
1-9-19 Do Now: What did you notice about the role of adults in this film? Discuss movie. Create a river of your life with key moments that solidified or altered your course. Due end of the hour tomorrow.
1-10-19 Do Now: Why does Gordie choose these friends? Continue to work on River of Life. Due end of hour.
1-11-19 No School -- Parent Teacher Conferences
1-14-19 Do Now: With which character do you most relate? Select one character from the film and complete a "body" poster with character traits and insights into the character. We will accomplish this in groups of 4-5. Due end of hour.
1-15-19 All Seniors with Mr. Mathis at the Roundhouse.
1-16-19 Do Now: How do we determine our reality? Begin The Truman Show (103 minutes). In your film journal, note the differences in how the characters present themselves to the audience vs. how Truman behaves.
1-17-19 Do Now: How is social media changing our lives? In the film, Christof says, "We accept the reality with which we are presented." As we continue to watch the film, monitor the presentation of reality in the film. How is what Truman is experiencing different from Christof's plan? How is this a coming of age film?
1-18-19 No School -- SNOW DAY!
1-21-19 No School
1-22-19 Do Now: What makes advertising effective? Do those with this power also have a responsibility to consumers? Finish the movie. Discuss the role of the audience in what happens to Truman. In the end, who exercises the power to change or construct a different reality? How has social media changed advertising? Two writing options: 1) Creative writing: What happens next for Truman? Write the story of the next day in his life. 2) Analytical writing: In what ways is the Truman Show an indictment of reality TV, modern advertising, and the public that consumes them?
1-23-19 Do Now: In what ways do you feel like your life is being controlled? Continue to work on one of the two writing options. Due Friday.
1-24-19 Do Now: How do you feel about our education system in general and our school in particular? Begin Dead Poets' Society (140 minutes total).
1-25-19 Do Now: Think about a person who has inspired you in some area of your life. What qualities did they possess or display that were inspirational? Continue with movie. Paper due.
1-28-19 Do Now: How do we build resilience in the face of adversity? Finish movie and discuss. Dry tears. Begin work on essay for this coming-of-age unit. Due Friday..
1-29-19 Do Now: Where are you in your coming-of-age journey? Work on essay, due Friday.
1-30-19 Do Now: Tell me about your favorite movie. Continue work on essay. Due Friday.
1-31-19 Do Now: What does redemption mean to you, and where have you seen this in film, literature, or life? Introduce culminating assignment for the Redemption unit, pre-watching questions and begin Stagecoach (99 minutes).
2-1-19 Do Now: Why do we judge those who are not like us? Continue with Stagecoach.
2-4-19 Do Now: Can people who violate society's moral code still be "good" people? Finish the movie and complete discussion questions in groups.
2-5-19 Do Now: What is our responsibility, if any, to those who struggle in our society? The indigent? The mentally ill? Share story of the Fisher King. Begin movie: The Fisher King (138 minutes).
2-6-19 Do Now: Why the use of the Pinocchio doll? What does this symbolize? Discuss the hero's journey. Continue movie.
2-7-19 Do Now: What does Jack have to learn before he can be redeemed? FInish movie. Discuss what the quest for the Holy Grail is a quest for in this movie. Read "The FIsher King in Gotham: New Age Spiritualism Meets the Grail Legend" for tomorrow.
2-8-19 Do Now: What is a theme of the movie? In-class writing around themes related to redemption, love, mental health, compassion, and serendipity in The Fisher King.
2-11-19 Do Now: How does our society handle people with mental illness? Begin One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (134 minutes).
2-12-19 Do Now: What's different about Randall P. McMurphy? Continue watching the film.
2-13-19 Do Now: Is nurse Ratched evil or a victim of society? Finish film. Which characters are redeemed, and how? What does the film suggest about our society?
2-14-19 Do Now: Does our society allow for redemption? Are there limits? Begin culminating assignment for redemption unit. Due next Wednesday.
2-15-19 Do Now: Favorite film of the quarter so far and why? Continue work on unit paper. Due next Wednesday.
2-18-19 NO School - Presidents' Day
2-19-19 Do Now: What does perseverance mean, and what does that look like in your life? Introduce culminating assignment for the Perseverance Unit. Discuss basic courtroom processes and begin "12 Angry Men." (96 minutes).
2-20-19 Do Now: Discuss the Winston Churchill quote: “It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required.” Redemption paper due. Finish film and discuss tactics used by the main character to convince jurors. What does this film teach you about people?
2-21-19 Do Now: What do you know about Watergate? Begin "All the President's Men." (138 minutes).
2-22-19 Do Now: What is the responsibility of journalists in a free society? Continue film.
2-25-19 Do Now: What similarities do you see between the political landscape during Watergate and today? Finish film. DIscuss the role of journalists and the importance of a free (and responsible) press in our society.
2-26-19 Do Now: When you think of the various points in history when Americans had to persevere in order for our society to survive, what era strikes you as the most significant? Begin Life is Beautiful (118 minutes).
2-27-19 Do Now: What is the hardest thing you've ever overcome? Finish film.
2-28-19 Do Now: What is our responsibility to one another in hard times? Discuss film from yesterday and begin work on Culminating Assignment for Perseverance Unit. Due Monday.
3-1-19 Do Now: "Men fail much oftener from want of perseverance than from want of talent." Continue work on culminating assignment. Due Monday (though I'd love to have it today).
3-4-19 Do Now: How do authors and filmmakers build suspense? Perseverance Unit assignment due. Discuss culminating assignment for Suspense Unit (Suspense Flash Fiction). Begin Suspense unit with Rear Window (115 running time)
3-5-19 Do Now: Do you have a favorite suspense film, story, or novel? What makes it your favorite? Finish film.
3-6-19 Do Now: What interesting things have you seen in your neighborhood? What about yesterday's film built suspense or fear? Play video of Hitchcock on how to build suspense. Begin Psycho (109 minutes)
3-7-19 Do Now: What scares you the most in films? Continue Psycho (109 minutes)
3-8-19 Do Now: Having now seen 1 1/2 Hitchcock movies, what do you think makes his films so popular? Finish Psycho. Two part writing: Psycho haiku, and which Hitchcock film did you like better and why (provide specifics).
3-11-19 Do Now: Childhood trauma can continue to impact us as adults. How can we help one another heal from such events? Begin Mystic River (138 minutes).
3-12-19 Do Now: In what way do shared experiences bind us together? Continue Mystic River.
3-13-19 School Cancelled.
3-14-19 School Cancelled.
3-15-19 Do Now: With which character do you most sympathize? Finish film. Discuss the different paths the boys took in life and why as well as the role of their choice of wives. Begin work on culminating assignment: Suspense flash fiction. Culminating assignment due by Wednesday, 3/27. You can certainly turn it in prior to that date.
3-16 through 3-24 Spring Break
3-25-19 Do now: Share the best thing you did over Spring Break. Time in-class to work on Suspense Flash Fiction. Due Wednesday
3-26-19 Do Now: How much of life is chance and how much of it is taking advantage of or making your own opportunities?Introduce culminating assignment for Life and Love Unit. Begin Forrest Gump (142 minutes).
3-27-19 Do now: This film uses the simile that life is like a box of chocolates. Create a simile for your own life. Continue film. Culminating assignment from Suspense Unit due.
3-28-19 Do now: Is there a relationship between intelligence and fear? Finish film. Haiku on a theme of the movie.
3-29-19 Do now: Do we have a level playing field and equal opportunity in life? Begin Grand Canyon (137 minutes)
4-1-19 Do now: How have you handled temptation so far in your life? Continue film.
4-2-19 Do now: Have you seen the Grand Canyon? If so, your impressions? If not, why not? Finish film. Choose a character from the film and write about the changes you see in that character, what prompts the changes, and how the changes then impact others.
4-3-19 Do now: Do you feel totally on track for the next stage of your life, or are you a little aimless right now? Begin The Graduate (106 minutes).
4-4-19 Do now: What is the appeal of Mrs. Robinson for Benjamin? Continue film
4-5-19 Do now: What is the appeal of Benjamin for the women in the film? Finish film. Write the story of what happens next.
4-8-19 Do Now: What makes something romantic? Begin The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (107 minutes)
4-9-19 Do Now: How much of love is spiritual vs. physical? Finish film. Discuss and begin Culminating Assignment for Unit. Due Friday.
4-10-19 Do Now: What's the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you? Continue work on Culminating Assignment for unit. Due Friday.
4-11-19 Do Now: Describe your ideal relationship. Last day to work on Culminating Assignment. Due tomorrow.
4-12-19 Do Now: What is more important -- loyalty to family or loyalty to one's own values? Culminating Assignment due. Watch the "Barn Burning" by William Faulkner and discuss themes.
Just rough planning from here on down as I play with timing on films.
4-15-19 Harvey (106 minutes)
4-17-19 On the Town (98 minutes)
4-19-19 NO SCHOOL
4-22-19 Benny and Joon (98 minutes)
4-24-19 Mosquito Coast (117 minutes)
4-29-19 The Man From Snowy River (102 minutes)
5-2-19 Silverado (133 minutes)
5-13-19 Senior Fun Day