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What do you think about teaching through film in the middle school classroom? Most likely your answer factors in which type of movies are shown. Emmy Award and Golden Globe winner Tony Shalhoub (Wings, Monk, Spy Kids, Cars) thinks using film in an educational setting is a wonderful idea, especially if it’s a movie from Journeys in Film.

What’s Special About Journeys in Film

As Shalhoub points out in a clip where he talks about Journeys in Film, httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMmv0rJe1pw&feature=player_detailpage one of the great aspects of teaching through film via Journeys in Film material in the classroom is that kids make a connection. Many of the films are about middle school children. Instead of trying to plug into a dry documentary on adults living in a foreign land, students get to see children their own age eating, going to school and interacting with friends as they do.

Middle school children see the similarities they share with children of other cultures, and they also discover differences. These differences (living in other climates, living in poverty, practicing other religions) open a student’s mind.

A Well-Rounded Curriculum

In his article entitled “Media Literacy in the Social Studies Classroom,”[1] Greg Nielson suggests a five-step process for optimal use of film in a classroom:

1)  Choose an appropriate film.

2)  Introduce the film with pre-viewing activities.

3)  Provide students with active viewing tools.

4)  Engage students in post-viewing activities.

5)  Assess students’ historical film literacy.

Teachers have been teaching through film in the classroom for decades to engage students in the learning process. Many use film as a jumping-off point for discussion.

Journeys in Film takes it a bit further. It doesn’t leave teachers scrambling for film teaching resources. Using McRel standards (http://mcrel.org/compendium/browse.asp) so teachers know that material covers all standards, not just state-specific standards

Journeys in Film offers engaging lesson plans in visual arts, social studies, science, language arts and mathematics. These lessons are all integrated with the films offered.

As an actor and father, Shalhoub is familiar with the effect of film on learning. He offers his expertise as an Advisory Board member for Journeys in Film. It’s through his dedication to quality education and global awareness, as well as the dedication of others from Journeys in Film, that educators have stellar film teaching resources. Most of these resources are free of charge. You can check them out at the Journeys in Film store (http://www.journeysinfilm.org/support-our-work/the-store/). With Journeys in Film,  movies and lessons for the middle school classroom is an enjoyable, informative experience for students and teachers alike.



[1] Media literacy in the social studies classroom. Education Digest: Essential Readings Condensed For Quick Review, 76(7), 43-45.