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It’s early June and many schools are still in session. As the weather warms up and thoughts of summer fun tease at our students’ imagination, it becomes more challenging  to engage them in thoughtful consideration of their lessons. Wouldn’t it be terrific if teachers could tap into a resource that offered a novel way to introduce a lesson, stimulate deep conversations, or provoke critical thinking and self-reflection?  State testing is done for the year and teacher observations are over–it’s a great time to explore new instructional approaches.

We all know that various types of media engage students–they have grown up surrounded by a collage of sound, image, and text every day of their lives. Imagine having access to film clips from popular movies like Jim Carrey’s Liar, Liar or Forrest Gump or Finding Nemo that you could share with students as a part of a lesson or advisory? Just the novelty of viewing popular media in their classroom will intrigue students and provide that extra “umph” needed these last few weeks to help keep kids focused.  Then think about…if this resource resonates with kids in June, what might the potential be the rest of the year?

The resource is FILM Clips for Character Education (http://www.filmclipsonline.com).  It’s not free–I have to be up front about that.  However, and it’s a BIG however–right now there is a 2 week FREE Trial available!  Therefore, teachers can try out this resource at no cost and no obligation.  You might be thinking what comes with this trial offer?

  • Access to 89 clips–they are just clips.  There are no captions, no messaging.
  • A synopsis of each clip
  • A pdf study guide that suggests an overarching question and some follow-up activities

These clips are streamed so all you need is a computer, internet connections, and an LCD projector.

What are the topics encompassed by the term “Character Education”? That language sometimes raises a red flag for folks.

  • bullying
  • active listening
  • anger
  • being a good neighbor
  • caring
  • being different

When I started my free trial my mind immediately went back to my classroom.  I watched a clip from Shrek where Princess Fiona asks Donkey to keep a secret.  I thought of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and Stacey keeping the secret about who actually cheated on a test.  He took the blame and received the consequences. I thought what a great way to make that scene come alive and spark student reflection on the positives and negatives of keeping secrets.  Another clip I watched was from Liar, Liar and concerned telling white lies.  I made the connection to WikiLeaks and thought about using the clip in social studies.  It seemed to me the possibilities of using these clips are almost endless.

It’s important that our students think deeply about actions and their consequences, whether they be their own actions or those of their community or country. Sometimes it’s difficult for young adolescents to see the relevance of such discussions.  Using a concrete example like a film clip helps them make the connection between the theoretical and the here and now.

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