The English Journal article “Literature into Film (and Back Again): Another Look at an Old Dog,” written by NCTE Consulting Network member and NCTE author John Golden, describes ways to explore movies based on short stories and novels in the literature classroom. While the examples in the article are targeted at secondary students, the techniques can be applied at any level. All you have to do is change the texts. The general questions remain the same.
The key is to focus on analysis of the directors choices, rather than on general review or comparison of the choices. Try asking students questions such as “Why did the director delete this scene? What difference does this choice make?” rather than “Which version is better and why?” ReadWriteThink has lists of films and texts that can be used in the elementary classroom and at the middle level that you can use to supplement the lists in the English Journal article.
Further, ReadWriteThink includes these lesson plans that explore literary elements in films and other videos:
- Decoding The Matrix: Exploring Dystopian Characteristics through Film
- Decoding the Dystopian Characteristics of Macintosh’s “1984” Commercial
- Exploring Irony in the Conclusion of All Quiet on the Western Front
- Exploring Satire with Shrek
- Exploring Satire with The Simpsons
- Lights, Camera, Action...Music: Critiquing Films Using Sight and Sound
- Writing a Flashback and Flash-Forward Story Using Movies and Texts as Models
The ReadWriteThink lesson Literature Circle Roles Reframed: Reading as a Film Crew offers a creative reading approach, by substituting film production roles for the traditional literature circle roles. After reviewing film production roles—such as director, casting director, and set designer—students work together in cooperative groups to read and discuss a piece of literature, each assuming a film production role.