High School
The Arts

Critical Thinking about Film

This resource collection is centered around a one-day or two-day lesson plan called "The Visual Grammar of Film" by Community Classroom, an independent educational service with ties to PBS and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. This lesson is designed to prime students to think critically about film. Students learn film terminology, identify cinematic elements and offer informed explanations of why directors make certain choices.
A Collection By Jorie Henrickson
  • 6 Collection Items
  • 6 Collection Items
  • Discussion
Critical Thinking about Film
  • Jorie Henrickson says:
    This book from 2007 introduces key concepts in critical thinking through movies and music videos. With contributions from teachers and teacher educators it suggests creative strategies for using these media to promote critical thinking across the curriculum. Pedagogical approaches such as the Philosophy for Children (P4C) strategy are discussed.
  • edweek.org
    edweek.org

    Teachers Look to Film to Foster Critical Thinking

    5 minute read
    Jorie Henrickson says:
    This article for teachers from EdWeek.org contextualizes the above lesson plan. It presents the work of educators who use film to teach critical thinking skills. One teacher notes that she uses critical thinking about film as a springboard to critical thinking about literature.
  • Jorie Henrickson says:
    Ideal for use with the above lesson plan, "The Rise" is a 17-minute video set in the near future. It's centered around an older couple who is unwillingly selling their home and giving up on the American Dream. This dramatic film invites discussion about ethnicity, social class, and other social issues.
  • Jorie Henrickson says:
    The opening scene of "Chocolat" is ideal for this critical thinking lesson. "Chocolat" is a romance drama set in France and created for British and US audiences. The movie opens with a church scene that raises the moral issue of looking away from whatever disturbs us.
  • Jorie Henrickson says:
    "Silver Sling" is among many videos suggested in the above PDF for use in the lesson. This 11-minute film takes place in a polarized economy of the near future. Women in well-paid executive positions are encouraged to pay for risky surrogate pregnancies that raise many questions about morality.
  • Jorie Henrickson says:
    This free lesson plan encourages critical thinking about film. First students complete surveys about their media interests and habits. Next they actively pretend to film from different physical perspectives and consider advantages of each option. Following this exercise, students learn film terminology and watch film clips critically. The lesson concludes with a writing activity.