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Lesson Plan

You Know the Movie is Coming—Now What?

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You Know the Movie is Coming—Now What?

Grades 6 – 8
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Lisa Storm Fink

Lisa Storm Fink

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



In this lesson, students take on the role of the director of a movie. After exploring cinematic terms, students read a literary work with director's eyes, considering such issues as which scenes require a close-up of the main character and when the camera should zoom out to see the entire set. While reading the text, students record their scenes on a bookmark. All of these activities are completed in anticipation of viewing the movie version of a favorite book.

This lesson uses Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl as an example; however, the activities can be completed with any matched movie and piece of literature (e.g., any of the Harry Potter books, A Series of Unfortunate Events, or The Polar Express).

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ReadWriteThink Printing Press: Use this online tool to create a newspaper, brochure, booklet, or flyer. Students choose a layout, add content, and then print out their work.

Stapleless Book: Students select page templates and then design pages that can be printed out, cut and folded into an eight-page book.

Flip Book: This online tool allows students to type and illustrate tabbed flip books up to ten pages long.

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We know that students are interested in movies and films, but do they have educational value in the language arts classroom? Absolutely! But how can teachers make this experience meet the needs of our curriculum and still have the activity be meaningful for students? There is a natural relationship between literature and films that lends itself to effective classroom activities. As John Golden explains, literature and films "should be used closely together because they share so many common elements and strategies to gain and keep the audience's attention" (36). The shared elements of literature and film create opportunities for students to explore both literary and cinematic elements through their many connections. What students already know about literature informs what they learn about film, and what they already know about film informs what they learn about literature. When students are familiar with the related piece of literature, for instance, they can focus on the cinematic terms and spend less time on the comprehension of the literary text.

Further Reading

Golden, John. 2001. Reading in the Dark: Using Film as a Tool in the English Classroom. Urbana, IL: NCTE.

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