Thursday, March 31, 2011

Civics Class at the Movies

I don't remember how I stumbled on Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, the classic movie with Jimmy Stewart, but I saw a clip of it and thought, "That might be an interesting resource for Civics."  Civics is a tough subject for me.  I mean, we take the boys with us when we vote.  We talk about politics, and what's going on in Washington a lot.  But as far as formal Civics, I don't do much.  Last year, we studied the citizenship test until the boys could get A+ and called that Civics for the year.

So, then I found "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."  I found the movie at our Mr. Smith Goes to Washington DVDlocal library and we watched it late one morning.  The boys weren't happy that it was in black and white, but, very soon, all three of us were enraptured by the plot and the actors.  This was a phenominal movie.  We spent a few minutes in discussion about how the scenes in this movie are examples of things that really happen today in government.  I was happy for the Civics lesson and the discussion, but we didn't have anything concrete to show for our efforts.

Fast forward a several weeks and I received notice that I was going to review one of Zeezok's Movie Guides: z-guides to the Movies.  Guess what was one of the movies on the list?  Mr. Smith Goes to Washington!

I downloaded the e-version of this movie guide.  It was so easy to implement.  The lessons are laid-out so that the entire unit can be done in a week's time if you do two activities a day.  If you wanted to do a speed course you could do everything in 2 days but you wouldn't get much else done.    And the activities are thought provoking and complicated but not difficult.  It's not some easy spoon-feeding stuff here. 

We watched the movie again, this time using the movie review questions to guide us along as we watched.  Then we started in on the other activities.  At the end of our week we watched the movie again and completed our final activity. 

I was impressed with this unit study based on movies.  Check out all the movies for which Zeezok has guides here.  It's a great list with movies that cover a wide-range of subjects.  And they have plans to add a bunch of other movies too!  The lesson we did was at a high-school level, but there are middle-school level movie guides in the works too.  I know some of my fellow crew-mates are reviewing movie guides that haven't even been released yet.  Check them all out here. 

The movie guide I received sells for $12.99 on Zeezok's website.  And Zeezok even sells the movies that go with their guides!  Again, you can see everything they have to offer as part of their movie guides here.  But they also let me know that their movies are readily available on Netflix.  And, like I said, I found our movie at the library.

This is the second time I've reviewed a product from Zeezok, and I have loved both items.  If you'd like more information from Zeezok, check out their contact page here.  And consider using a movie guide.  I was really impressed.

I received a complimentary e-book of Zeezok's movie guide for Mr. Smith Goes to Washington in order to complete this review.

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