Snack: Pop some popcorn, pour
yourself some ice-cold apple juice, and enjoy the show!
Cut out or print out
age-appropriate movie reviews from newspapers, magazines
or online sources
(note: many families don't let their kids see PG movies, so avoid reviews of
movies that the kids couldn't see)
Cut out or print out
2 pieces of lined
paper per student | pens, pencils
1 piece of drawing
paper per student | markers, colored pencils
Everybody loves movies. If you give them a chance,
kids love to write about them. Movies are an important part of this generation's
culture. It is a great idea to teach them how to be better consumers of, and
critical thinkers about, motion pictures.
First, lead a discussion about movies in general. Which
ones are the students' favorites? What did they like about them?
talk about movie reviews in general. Movie reviews are an example of persuasive
writing. The writer is trying to persuade the reader to like, or not like, the
movie. It's not very persuasive unless you have a lot of facts and opinions to
back up your view. So you can't just write that a movie is "lame" or "stupid."
You have to write down WHY you feel that way.
the students' parents read reviews in deciding which movie to see? Or do they
go by what their friends and family recommend?
one movie review aloud. Ask the students if it helped them make up their mind
about whether to see that particular movie. If there is a "five star" or
"thumbs up/down" rating graphic, point that out. Many people only go by those
little graphic ratings, rather than reading reviews. But with the cost of a
movie ticket these days, it's important to make sure you are going to be happy
spending your movie on a particular movie. There are so many to choose from!
one sheet of paper, they can write down all the things that a good movie review
might mention. They can use this list when they write their own movie review in
a minute. Brainstorm for these, and any that the kids don't mention, you can
list for all to write down:
of the movie
least one strength and one weakness about the movie
actor(s) and actress(es)
plot description - but don't give away the ending!
or animation used?
it might tie in to current events or teach about history
it is playing or how you can buy it on DVD / NetFlix, etc.
on the other piece of lined paper, they can write a movie review about their
favorite movie, the last movie they've seen, or one that they thought was
terrible. They might want to draw five stars and color in as many stars as they
want to give this movie, or draw a thumb's up or thumb's down, or invent their
own rating graphic.
can use their brainstormed checklist to write their review. Tell them that a
satisfying movie review will include many of those features, and have at least
three paragraphs - an introduction, a body with at least three reasons to back
up their opinion about the movie, and then their conclusion. But they can make
their movie review as long as they would like.
the blank piece of drawing paper, they can create a movie poster with the main
characters in a dramatic scene, and the title, to serve as an ad for the movie.
they are finished, trade their reviews and posters with each other, and discuss
what they learned from each other's writing.
a really fun idea to have the students vote for who wrote the best movie
review, and then show that movie to the group when you have time! You can also
do this over and over, and create a big notebook of movie reviews to share with
other students and their families.