Article | Movies & Literature

Our MI post this week (MI Monday | Learning Poetry with Bollywood Songs) showcases a teacher who uses Bollywood songs to get her students to learn poems. By singing poems to the tune of famous Bollywood songs, she is able to engage students in class and enable retention. It’s not surprising that her students are able to remember poems better when they are sung to the tune of a famous song. If someone were to ask you to recall the lyrics of an old song vs. a poem, it’s likely that you will be able to recall the song lyrics faster than the poem.

Now, there’s a whole science behind why we can recall songs and not rhymes, but this post is not going to focus on that. Instead, we are going to focus on how Bollywood or rather the movie theme can be used to make subjects interesting. Today, we look at using movies as a theme for teaching Literature.

The following activities are typically done for literature text, but can be easily adapted to movies, and can add excitement in the classroom.

  1. Movie Review – Divide students into groups, ask each group to select a movie and write a review about it. Provide reviewing guidelines. Writing a Movie Review [PDF]
  2. Genres: Define genres and list the different types. Divide students into groups. Ask each group to think of 10 movie names. After they have listed the names, ask them to group the movie names into genres, and then present their list to the rest of the class, explaining the rationale for grouping. Movie Genres [Web link].
  3. Character Sketch:  Ask students to write a description of a character from a movie. Tell that the description should be detailed well and should create a picture of the person in the mind of the reader. They should also include reasons to support their opinion about the character. Writing a Character Sketch [PDF].
  4. Movie Location: Divide the class into groups. Give each group a situation (one situation to all groups). Tell them that they are directors of a movie, and they have to describe the setting in which the situation will be filmed, and they must present the same to the rest of the class. By allowing all groups to work on the same situation, students will get a chance to view the same scene from different perspectives.
  5. Plot: Discuss the elements of a plot. Then, ask students to work in groups and complete the plot template for a given movie. Elements of a Plot [PDF].
  6. Analyze a Movie Poster: Display a movie poster on the board. Divide students into groups and ask each group to submit their analysis of the poster. Provide guidelines for analyzing the poster. ANALYZING MEDIA: Movie Posters [Web link].
  7. Adapt Literature for a Screenplay: In this video, Sarah Brown Wessling teaches her students to adapt written literature for a screenplay.

Click here to view a list of additional activities (along with templates) that you can conduct in class.

These are just some ideas that we have put up here, and we know that English language teachers out there will have a whole bunch of more ideas. If you are an innovative teacher and would love to share your ideas with the rest of the teaching community, then please share them in the comments box below.

Kanchan Shine

Kanchan Shine

Passionate about everything related to education. I believe that the best kind of learning happens through play, experiments and fun! I love watching how children learn and love to implement play-based, hands-on teaching approaches. I get my thrill by planning activities for my children (6 yo girl & 3 yo boy) and watching them learn while having fun!

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