Maximizing ELA Classroom Benefits From Movie Worksheets

The class is excited and the DVD cued up, but what about a movie worksheet to keep the class focused during the film? We want teachers to feel 100% comfortable about using both the right movie and the best movie worksheet, so here are some suggestions on how to get the most out of film study worksheets. (Choosing the right movie is still the most important step in creating an exciting lesson based on film. Don’t compromise on quality! The movie should be a work of art that will inspire students and extend their horizons.)


Movie worksheets should be reviewed carefully before they are used.

    • Are there any questions that the students won’t understand?


    • Are there a few more questions that need to be added?


    • Does the movie worksheet hit all the pedagogical points that need to be made to maximize the benefit students get from the film?


    • Is it the right length and level of sophistication for the class?


  • Does it fit with the movie?

Adjust the worksheet as needed to challenge, but not overwhelm, your students.

When using a generic movie worksheet, delete or substitute questions that don’t have a place in the curriculum. For example, three generic movie worksheets are:

    • one for ELA classes generally;


    • another for analyzing a story using the paradigm of the Hero’s Journey;


  • and a third for historical fiction.

Saving paper helps the environment but it’s hard to do in a classroom situation. If feasible make only enough copies of the worksheet to produce a class set to be used and then handed back when class is over. When making enough copies to give one to each student, make sure that the worksheet can be copied on both sides of one sheet of paper.

Before the movie begins…

Review the worksheet with the class so that the students know what to look for as they watch the movie. Discourage students from making notes while the movie is running; they may miss something important. Stop the film for about three to five minutes on a few occasions to give students time to quickly jot down their notes. After the movie is finished, give the class a modest chunk of time to complete the movie worksheet.

There are a variety of things that can be done with movie worksheets after the film is finished. Students’ raw notes can be handed in and either graded or simply checked for completion. Answers to the prompts on the worksh

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