Content: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, in cooperation with Young Minds Inspired, produces a series of teacher’s guides that explore motion pictures. The activities are designed to capitalize on students’ interest in current films, as well as the excitement generated by the Academy Awards, to teach valuable lessons in critical thinking, creative writing and visual literacy.
Design: The site is elegantly designed and easy to follow. Beneath a large graphic and introduction are a series of graphics and links to the various lessons and activities. Each lesson is tied to a filmmaking theme such as animation, media literacy or sound and music. Clicking any of these brings the user to the desired material, which can be used electronically or downloaded and printed.
Review: Movies are a huge part of American life, so tying academic lessons into filmmaking is a brilliant way to engage students.
All of the teacher materials are straightforward in their presentation and anchored in a specific academic discipline. For example, the activities and lessons found in Media Literacy are all designed for students in high school English, language arts, visual arts and communications classes.
Teachers do not have to shoehorn these activities into the curriculum; they are already designed to fit and require no modifications to make them classroom ready.
Bottom Line: Through lessons and activities based on popular films and grounded in academics, The Academy offers a great way to grab students’ attention.