Z Guides to the Movies
For many families, incorporating movies into their history studies has proven valuable in bringing history alive. In my family, we would often use historically accurate films at the mid-point or conclusion of our study as a way to take a break from the books. I quickly found my children not only enjoyed our movie nights but they also gained greater insight into what the culture and times. I would often add discussion points after the movie, but often found myself scrambling to come up with questions or activities to really challenge my older learners. How I wish the Z-Guides would have been available! They are vital a resource for homeschool families looking to use movies to further develop history education in their homes.
Each CD-ROM contains the complete printable study guide as a PDF. Movie study guides contain an introduction on how to use the guide, a movie synopsis, a movie-specific topical overview and a wide range of grade appropriate activities. Some examples of activities are: coloring pages, crossword puzzles, discussion questions, art, and mazes. World view and family activities are incorporated within each study guide as well. Each guide contains resources for further study and a complete answer key. The movies themselves are not included with the guides, but should be easy to find where you rent movies (or even at your local library).
My sample copy of the Johnny Tremain study guide for Middle School centers on the following topics: events leading up to the American Revolution; dealing with false accusations; handling personal disappointment, and self-sacrifice for the good of our nation. Activity opportunities include movie review questions (short answer and fill in the blank), research questions based in historical facts/culture, coloring pages, crossword puzzles, vocabulary exercise and reading comprehension activities, an oral presentation (Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death! speech), worldview short answer questions, and memorization of the Declaration of Independence selection.
High School students are equally challenged. In Ben Hur, students will focus on the Roman Empire, history of Palestine, friendships, and the consequences of hatred. Activities include short-answer movie review questions, Roman Chariot Racing and Roman rule research projects, crossword puzzles, short answer worksheets on being a faithful steward, and relationships found in the Ben-Hur movie. Also included is an art project to create a chariot racing poster, a reading comprehension activity, a worldview research activity, and the film maker's art activity-covering irony, violence and film-maker's license with historical accuracy.
Please note the publisher's disclaimer regarding movie selections: "We understand that each family has a different standard as to what they feel is appropriate to view in regards to language, violence and sexual content. Before purchasing a Z-Guide or movie we strongly recommend that you read a review on the movie. A good site is Plugged In. They offer a full review of hundreds of movies. The reviews include: positive elements, spiritual content, sexual content, violent content, crude and profane language and other negative elements."
An excellent supplemental resource for any history curriculum or literature study. Families using a traditional textbook approach will find these a nice change of pace from their book learning and those who prefer living books will see great benefit in unleashing their children's imagination through the wide screen. Although publisher age recommendations are listed below, depending on your family preferences, you may adapt the material to older or younger students as you see fit. We also offer most of the corresponding movies on DVD; see below for prices and availability. Z-Guides are reproducible for family use only. ~ Deanne