Movies in the Classroom + Intentional Purpose = Fun Learning #SAVMP

Let’s be honest for a second!

As a classroom teacher, I remember the shouts and cheers when I would announce to the class that we would watch a movie that day! I remember thinking that I could get things graded, have conferences with individual students, or just hang out on the floor and watch the movie with my students. I am probably not setting the best example, but we are being honest. Movie days were memorable moments for many reasons.

As a campus administrator, it’s easy to say no movies in the classroom, especially full-length movies, because this “lacks purpose”. But is this the zero tolerance approach that we want to infuse in our learning culture and climate? Do movies — even full-length movies — lack purpose in the classroom? Absolutely not! How can administrators support and coach educators on the effective use?  We all know that movies effectively used in the classroom bring purpose, meaning, authenticity, current events, and culture in the classroom, as a few examples. And, quite frankly, students perk up and enjoy movie days. The real question is how can educators effectively use movies in the classroom to accomplish real learning? 

Ponder on these questions when implementing a movie in the classroom:

  • Why are you choosing this movie?
  • What would the students say about your movie choice? How can you enhance their perspective?
  • Does it have a purpose connected to learning in your class?
  • What is the learning purpose?
  • In what ways will you continue to fortify the purpose/use of the movie?
  • How will you incorporate student voice in the learning design?
  • What experiences will you build to complement the movie?
  • What would the students say about the experiences designed? How can you enhance their perspective?
  • Would students consider the learning experiences busy work? If so, how can you build experiences to meaningfully complement the learning objectives?
  • How do you want to present/introduce the movie to the students?
  • Will the students watch the full movie? Parts? How will parts be selected?
  • How have you made movie day fun & interesting?
  • How will you know that students learned? Understood? Transferred knowledge?
  • If asked, what will students say once the experience is complete?
  • How will you recycle the movie to revisit essential questions?

Movies are great resources in the classroom and should be a good experience for learners and educators. We, as educators, must always take learning to the next level. We should always effectively design learning to complement movie choices in class. No matter what choices an educator makes or how an educator decides to implement those choices, the students will still shout and cheer when they hear that it’s movie day! We might as well make it meaningful. 

This post was written in response to #SAVMP

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