Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The 1920s: Movies 1.0

Victory in World War I had a profound impact on American life.  One example of that was the development of a mass culture in the 1920s: As new forms of culture launched, they spread across America.

Movies were one type of mass entertainment that flourished during that decade, so you're certainly going to be teaching a lesson on the first movies during your 1920s unit.  You can call this lesson "Movies 1.0."
I selected the videos using a strict filter: all of the videos had to be short.  To do that, I use the filter on YouTube to limit my search to videos under four minutes.  Anything longer and students' attention can wander.  And the goal here is to survey the movies, not watch them in their entirety in class!

Classroom connection: I  am going to divide the class into five groups, and assign each group to watch one video.  Then they will work on these activities in class.
  1. Google Doc activity: I will create a Google Doc with headings for each of the videos.  The students will take notes on their video on the Google Doc to share with their classmates.  They will take note of the medium (cartoon, silent movie, talkie, radio) and message (what is going on).
  2. Storyboard activity: The students will take five sheets of blank paper and make a storyboard of their video.
  3. Film activity: Using their devices, my students will make a short (30-second) video in the style of their video.  They will upload their video to YouTube to share with their classmates.
Here are the videos!
  • Al Jolson, Toot Toot, Tootsie
  • Mickey Mouse, Steamboat Willie
  • Marx Brothers Mirror Scene (the best!)
  • Charlie Chaplin, The Lion's Cage


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