As a homework project, provide students with a DVD of a feature film with an educational angle. Best of all is if all students can be given different films focusing on the same theme, period or topic. Then provide them with a basic template covering some or all of the following headings:
- One sentence review
- Plot summary
- Entertainment value
- Historical value
- Educational limitations / inaccuracies
- Most valuable segment for classroom use
The completed reviews could then be placed on display and / or placed inside the DVD case as a reference for whichever student (or teacher) borrows it next.
Taking it further
In a subsequent lesson, a jigsaw format could be used to enable students to exchange their thoughts on the various films. For example, the class could be arranged into groups of three, with each group having to agree which of the three films under consideration strikes the best balance between being educational and entertaining. Then, after the groups have been ‘jigsawed‘ the process is repeated so that there are a number of ‘finalists’. The discussion could also take place in the format of a ‘balloon debate‘, or the findings could be arranged in a diamond9 diagram (“Which is the most useful feature film for the historian studying…[topic]?”).