Got Social Studies
The Film and Book Curriculums in Grade Eight Social Studies
Dear Parents and Students,
The film and book curriculums available to grade eight social studies students have been created to offer students the opportunity to connect their interests and passions to the study of society. We believe that students are bombarded every day with messages and narratives that require questioning and reflection in order to be understood. By using the resources and critical thinking strategies of this curriculum, it is our hope that students will become more thoughtful participants in the social world, and have a little fun along the way. In the first two weeks of school, students will spend time learning about and discussing the elements of literacy and visual literacy.
We have taken great care in selecting the films and books. All deal with issues, lives, or trends in American society or history. We have selected films for their social significance, student interest, and student accessibility. We have also selected films, which we hope many students have not seen, and might stretch students to look at film and society in new and different ways. We realize, because of the nature of films in particular, that not every film will be appealing, suitable or interesting to every student and family. There are some “R” titles in the list, which certain families may deem inappropriate. There are some non-rated and “PG” films which may not be suitable to some families’ value systems. It is our hope that students will choose films with their families, and that you will make appropriate choices openly and in the spirit that this curriculum was created.
We’d like to see students watching films together, and with their families. We hope that the films and books will generate discussion between students, their families and their teachers. We hope that you will check the film database web site hot linked to each film. Students must have a signed parent permission form to check out any title with an “R” rating. These are available in the library. Films are available for overnight checkout only. Friday checkouts should be returned on Monday.
Film and book lists and the assignment templates are available in the Film/Book Shark List page of this website
Our film and book libraries will continue to be built, if you have suggestions for new titles, please let us know.
Extra credit can be earned by watching films, reading books, and writing about them. Please discuss the particulars of this aspect of the curriculum with your teacher.
THE FILM/BOOK SHARK
Your personalized curriculum
A. You may check out films/books approved for grade eight social studies from the library. Any film rated “R”, may only be checked out with a permission slip from your parents. These slips can be obtained from the library.
B. Once you’ve watched the film, respond to the questions below. Use complete sentences. Be thorough. Feel free to watch the movie and/or discuss the movie with friends, family or teachers. Be sure to do your own writing. Word process and spell check.
C. Books are likewise listed and catalogued in our library. The same questions can be used for book reviews.
1. What is the title of the film? When was it made? Who directed it? (3 points)
2. What is the film about? (What is the theme of the film? [What is the film really about?] What are the 5 “w”s of the plot? What are the key events?) (>7 sentences.) (10 points.)
3. What is the central conflict in the film? What social groups are in conflict? How is the conflict resolved? (>5 sentences) (5 points.)
4. In what ways did the director of the film show bias by favoring one group over another? Explain. How did the director use elements of production (i.e., visual, audio, or cinematographic) to help make his point? Do you believe the director was fair to the groups portrayed in the film? Why or why not? (Fairness is best assessed not by whether you agree with the director but by judging whether the director shows the key social groups as complex.) (>7 sentences) (5 points.)
REQUIRED RESEARCH CHALLENGE:
5abc. What questions about society or history in the USA did the film raise for you? What are the answers to those questions? (3 questions and answers. 5 points each. Each answer > 5 sentences.)
5d. How did you investigate your questions? (Describe your sources. 2 points.
6. Who do you suppose the director had in mind for his audience? Why do you suspect this? Considering the audience, what does the film tell you about society in the USA at the time the film was made? (Use the idea of mass audience, and then question which groups might agree with the basic theme of the film.) (>5 sentences) (5 points.)
7. In what ways did you like the film, and in what ways did you dislike the film? Explain. (>5 sentences) (5 points.)
8. What is your “shark rating” for this film? (1 Shark = Don’t recommend; 2 Sharks = Recommend with reservations; 3 Sharks = Recommend with confidence; 4 Sharks = Strongly recommend)
Note on Assessment/Grading.
I’m looking for thoughtful work. I want to see that you stopped and thought hard about your film or film. I expect you to discuss the questions for the film or film with me, another teacher, parents or friends before you write it up. If you’re not sure about an answer, you should speak with me, or a parent.
This page was created and is maintained by the middle school social studies department at the American School in Japan. Send any comments or movie ideas to: firstname.lastname@example.org.