Saturday, September 26, 2009

Edward Scissorhands & Sin City: Style

Both films are wonderful Edward Scissorhand is a classic and you can use it in many different manners. Sin City is fantastic. Its cartoonish view and colors are gripping and breathtaking. I decided to use it to warm up classes on styles, its preconceptions and implications. I hope you like it.
A. Watch the segment and answer the following questions about the characters in the movie Edward Scissorhands.

A. Talk to a partner:

1) What can you say about the character's life styles, according to the way they look like?

2) Try to think about the daily routines of the ladies in the segment. What is their everyday life like?

3) Why did they like their new looks so much? Did you like them?

4) What about their clothes colors? Do they mean anything to you?

5) What's your opinion about their style? Do you like it? Why (not)?

6) Would you wear their clothes and hairstyles?

B. Now watch a segment from Sin City. Pay attention to the characters clothes and fashion style in order to answer the following questions. Make guesses based on their looks. Talk to a partner and come to an agreement.

1) Are they rich? Explain your answer.

2) Where are they? What do their clothes say about the place they are at that moment.

3) In your opinion, is smoking classy or corny? What about in this segment? How is smoking connected with their life style?

4) Why are her dress, lip and eye colors the only ones you can see in the segment? Why does that happen? Why are they so flashy?

5) What do their haircuts say about them?

6) Was the end unexpected to you? Come up with a creative alternative ending for the scene.

7) Share your alternative endings and choose your favorite one to role play to the class.

Class discussion:

- Which one of the scenes do you prefer? Why?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

In the Electric Mist & Footloose: Drunk Driving

A. Talk to a partner.

1. What is the law concerning drinking and driving in your country?

2. Do you agree with it? Why?

3. Should the law be more lenient or tougher on this issue?

4. Is drinking and driving a problem where you live? What should be done to prevent it from happening?

B. Each student has a set of questions.

Student 1 asks student 2 his/her questions. Then they switch roles:

Student 1:.
1. Should the passengers of a drunk driver be punished? Why (not)?

2. Do you agree with the police's breathalyzing drivers even is he/she hasn't drunk or does not look drunk?

3. Have you ever driven drunk? Have you ever been a passenger of a drunk driver? If so, why did you do it?

4. What is the most appropriate penalty for a drunk driver?

Student 2:

1. Do you think there should be zero tolerance for any alcohol in a driver’s bloodstream? Justify your answer. 

2. What should happen to a drunk driver who kills a pedestrian? 

3. What should happen to a drunk driver who is caught by the police while driving in the city? . 

4. What should happen to a drunk driver who is racing other cars on the streets? 

5. Should drink laws also apply to cyclists? Why (not) ? 

C. Watch the segment. Take turns asking the following questions about the segment:

1. Describe what happened.

2. What were some of the traffic laws the driver broke?

3. Which is more serious? Drunk driving or marijuana smoking and driving? Why?

4. What's your opinion about the police officer's attitude towards the driver?

5. What should the officer have done?

6. What do you think will happen next?

D. Work in small groups. Design a slogan for an advertising campaign on Drunk Driving. Share it with the class and choose the best one.

E. Watch the segment from the movie Footloose and discuss the questions:


1. Do you agree with the prohibition?

2. What did the teens do wrongly, in your opinion?

3. Should the City Council decide what people can or can't do to have fun? Explain.

4. What are the possible consequences of such a drastic decision?


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Flight 93 & Crossing Over: 9/11, Terrorism

Talking about 9/11 is very controversial and points of view vary from country to country. However, it is a theme with a lot of food for thought and the students enjoy talking about it because they always have a lot to share. I tried to be as neutral as possible, but you may adapt the lesson plan to your reality. I just used this activity this week and the students were very excited and argumentative during the whole class. I hope you like it.

A. Work in small groups.

1. What do you know about the the terrorist attacks on September 11th?

2. Do you remember where you were and what you were doing when they happened?

3. What's your opinion about what happened?

4. Has life around the world changed because of that? How so?

5. How exactly did life change in your country? Did it affect you or somebody you know somehow?

B. Watch the first segment from the film Fight 93 now and discuss the questions that follow.

1. Describe the scene

2. What do the terrorists look like?

3. What about the passengers? How did they react at first? Did they change their behavior as the scene developed?

4. What's your opinion about the terrorists acts? Are they right or wrong? Explain it?

Now watch the second segment from the movie Crossing Over and answer the questions:

1. Describe the scene.

2. What's the Muslim girl's point of view of the September 11th acts of terrorism?

3. How did the American students react to her point of view?

4. What's your opinion about what she believes in?

5. Who's right and who's wrong?

6. Was she right to make such a comment in America during a class with a lot of American students? Why (not)?

7. Americans often say that America is a free country. Do you agree with it? Can anybody actually say what they want wherever they want in America? Explain it.

8. What about where you live? Can one express his/her opinions freely? Explain it.



Saturday, September 5, 2009

TransSiberian: Traveling Abroad

I enjoyed watching this thriller with a lot of cultural references. The movie is about drug trafficking in Russian trains and how a naive American couple of tourists get involved with it during a trip abroad. In fact, the director portraits Russians in a way I don't think they are. If you are Russian, will you please make a comment about how you see the way stereotyped Russians are shown and how you feel about this way of portraying your people, please? What did the train attendant say in Russian?? I'd love to know. Being Brazilian, I'm very familiar with stereotyped Brazilians on the Hollywood screens! I hope you like it! By the way, don't miss reading my Russian reader's review on the movie - he criticizes it severely - because it will help your discussion with your students. Thanks, pal!

A. Ask a partner the following questions:

1. Do you like to travel? What was the best place you've ever been to?

2. Would you like to travel alone for many years to different places without coming back
home during the whole period? Why?

3. What is the best way to travel?

4. Have you ever been abroad? Where did (would you like to) you go?

5. Are there places you wouldn't like to go? Why?

B. Now switch roles.

1. Have you ever traveled by train, plane, car and ship? Which one is your favorite?

2. What can go wrong when you travel to another country?

3. Is it important to know the culture of the other country when you go abroad? Why?

4. Do you know anything about the Russian culture? How do you imagine they treat tourists there?

5. Would you like to travel to Russia? What would you like to do there?

C. Watch the movie segment. Then form small groups to talk about the questions that follow.


1. What were the unexpected things the American travelers faced in this short period of their trip?

2. What do you think the Russian train attendant told the couple about the toilet?

3. What idea did you get from the Russians based on the segment?

4. Do you think it is a stereotyped view of the Russian people or even a caricature of their people? Explain it.

5. Would you like to take a trip like that? Why (not)?

D. Each half the class will work on one of the questions below.

Make a list of 5 precautions you would take to reach your destination safely if you were the couple in the segment?

Make a list of 5 precautions you would recommend a woman traveling by herself in your country?

E. Share your lists with the class as a whole. Are there any matches?