Using Films in the Classroom

I use quite a few films across the 5 English classes that I teach. I believe that film is a powerful medium and it can be analyzed and interpreted just like a written text.  I try to pair each major thematic unit or literary work with at least one film in order to expand the way students see or understand that theme.  

*It's important to note that my students are 17-21 years old and in many cases have a bit more life experience than traditional students. As such, the films below may not be appropriate for all classes in all schools.  Further, I am careful to guide students through some of the more intense and graphic films to enure students are open to deeper meanings. 

Finally, viewing films in my classroom is by no means a passive experience.  We discuss, reflect and respond before, during, and after each viewing.  My students understand that films are texts and we are experiencing them in a larger context. 

Below are some of the films I use or have used in the past:  

2081 (2009)
A Guide to Recognizing your Saints (2006)
American History X (1998)
American Violet (2009)
The Boy in Striped Pajamas (2008)
The Butterfly Effect (2004)
Crash (2005)
Def Poetry Jam (2005)
Do the Right Thing (1989)
Hotel Rwanda(2004)
The Hurricane (1999)
I am Legend (2007)
I, Robot (2004)
O (2001)
Of Mice and Men (1992)
Othello (1995)
Poetic Justice (1993)
Rain Man (1988)
A Raisin in the Sun (1961)
School Daze (1988)
Slam (1998)
The Simpsons (1989- )
The Soloist (2009)
Troy (2001)
What Black Men Think (2007)
The Wood (1999)

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