Sunday, November 24, 2013

Parkland & Killing Kennedy: John Kennedy's Assassination, Historic Moments

The assassination of President Kennedy still intrigues the world even after 50 years of his death. I used this scene from the emotional movie "Parkland" to illustrate the moment. Here you can see the person who shot the video everybody has seen showing the President's shooting, how he felt at the moment, and the President's first moments in Parkland, the hospital that received Kennedy after the shooting. Killing Kennedy is a TV movie, a good one, and it shows a different point of view of the shooting - the shooter's.

Information taken from the marvelous and informative site:

I. Talk to a partner.

1. What do you know about President Kennedy assassination?

2. Why was it so shocking at the time and why does it remain so vivid in our memories?

3. Do you believe the story there was a conspiration to kill him or do you think Lee H. Oswald acted alone? Why?

4. One of Dallas's major tourist attraction is the museum and visiting the shooting area and building. Is it okay to make money out of a tragedy like that? Explain it.

II. Read the text below:

John and Jackie Kennedy were loving parents who adored their children. Mrs. Kennedy did not like leaving Caroline and John behind, especially overnight. But the Texas trip was important and had been planned for several months. The political benefits were expected to outweigh the drawbacks of a short separation. 

Most Americans were proud of their President and his glamorous wife. Forty-six on the day he went to Dallas, Kennedy was the youngest-elected U.S. Chief Executive.  He would soon be the youngest to die.

As the motorcade turned on to Elm Street, Abraham Zapruder, a local businessman, waited with his Bell and Howell 8mm camera. He had found a great place to stand. His secretary, standing behind him, would provide support since Zapruder sometimes suffered from vertigo. He waited for the President's car to reach his line of sight.

On the sixth floor of the School Book Depository building, the alleged assassin, Lee Oswald, also waited. A new employee of the depository warehouse, Oswald would soon have an excellent view of the President's car. 

As soon as he could see the President's limo, which was traveling at about 11.2 miles per hour, Zapruder aimed his camera at the car and recorded the President's visit. Oswald, meanwhile, allegedly aimed his rifle at the same moving target.
At about 12:30 p.m., Oswald took his first shot.

Recording events at about 18.5 frames per second, Zapruder's film is the best evidence of the assassination of President Kennedy. The 26-second film, now owned by the American people through the U.S. National Archives (at a cost of $16 million paid to Zapruder's heirs), begins routinely and ends horrifically. Panning from left to right, Zapruder followed the motorcade as it moved through Dealey Plaza. A highway sign momentarily blocked Zapruder's view of the President's limo. Staying focused, however, the amateur continued filming.

Investigators interviewed 216 Dealey Plaza witnesses. Hundreds more testified in the Warren Commission hearings. Within a year, the Commission found that Lee Harvey Oswald, acting alone, had assassinated President Kennedy. Those official conclusions, however, were never universally accepted. Too many unanswered questions remained. Too many "findings" did not match the facts.

For example: What about evidence from eyewitnesses who heard shots coming from the grassy knoll area? If true, an assassin would have been in front of the President's car as well as behind it.

What about the Zapruder film which shows the effects of the fatal bullet? If the President were only shot from behind, how does one explain the movement of his head at the moment of impact? Answers, from those supporting the "lone assassin" theory, differed greatly from those with an opposite point of view. Still others believe there was a cover up of the evidence.

Scholarship continues in an effort to get to the truth. The House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded there was likely a conspiracy to kill the President. They also found "a high probability" that a second gunman fired at him, although the committee believed that Oswald fired the fatal shot.

III. Talk to a partner:

1. According to the reading, how important was this trip to Dallas?

2. Describe what Zapruder did on that day.

3. What questions remain unanswered. What are they? How would you answer them?

IV. Watch the movie segment.


1. How similar is the shooting scene to the description in the reading?

2. Was the scene exactly the way you had imagined when you read the text? Explain it.

3. Was there anything you didn't know about the assassination that you ended up learning by watching the movie scene?

V. Watch the segment from the movie Killing Kennedy and answer the questions:

Killing Kennedy:

1. How do you compare both scenes?

2. What is shown in this segment that was not included in Parkland's?

3. Do you believe this version is true? Doesn't it seem too easy, therefore unlikely? What's your opinion about this version?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Purge: Urban Violence

This movie was crucified by the critics. I agree that the premise of the movie is sort of stupid and far fetched, but movies can actually do that. It is fiction and fantasy. Taking this into consideration, I really liked the direction, thrills and frights. This is a segment for adults only.

I. Read the short description of the context of the movie below. Then pair up with a partner and explain it, using your own words.

The Purge is based on the premise that every year a 12 hour period is allocated as a kind of law free day in which all crime (unless it is directed toward the government) is permitted. The stated purpose is to allow common people to purge themselves of violent feelings so that they won't be moved to act on them during the rest of the 364 and a half days. The real reason for the Purge is that it is an easy way to get rid of the poor and the homeless, which the government and population consider undesirable. The rich are able to protect themselves in their homes and ride out the Purge, closing their eyes to the violence taking place around them.

II. Watch the movie segment and discuss the questions that follow.

I. Describe the scene.

2. What's your opinion about  the American government of establishing "the purge"? What are the possible consequences to the society we live in if it became true.

3. How can the purge reduce or escalate crime rates?

4. In your opinion, what is the cause of urban violence? How should governments address this issue, if it is the case?

5. How violent is the place you live in? How do you compare urban violence in your city now and 15 years ago?

6. Do American movies show an accurate portrait  of urban violence in the USA or is it an exaggerated picture of reality? Explain it.

7. Do you agree that we should get rid of the poor/homeless/criminals by creating something like the purge? Why (not)?

8. Do you think that the purge is a modern view of the Nazi's behavior during the Holocaust? What are the similarities and the differences between both ideas.

9. In Brazil, there are the "armed militias" that fight against crimes in slums, filling a vacuum of authority by promising residents security in exchange for payments and the chance to take over many illegal businesses — including controlling the supply of water and natural gas, gambling machines, pirating cable television connections, and of course, the drug trade. They gain sympathy from residents because they battle Rio’s “barbaric” drug dealers. Do you think the militias are replacing one form of criminality with another? What is worse, to have or not to have militias?

10. Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the reduction of crime rates where you live? Why?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Croods: Family

 I simply love this family, The Croods. The movie is awesome and it is wonderful to talk about family. I used their family tree to practice the use of possessives ('s).

I. Work in pairs:

1. Talk about your family. What do they do and how old are they?

2. Do you have pictures of your family in your cell phone? Show them to a partner and tell him/her where they are and what they are doing there.

3. Who are you closest to in your family? Justify your answer.

4. What would you change in your family?

II. Watch the movie segment and complete the blanks with the name of the characters..


Ex: Gran is Ugga's mother . 

1. __________________ is Grug's mother-in-law.

2. ________________ is Eeep's brother. 

3. _________________ is Sandy's sister.

4. __________________ is the family's pet. 

5. __________________ is Sandy's brother.

6. __________________ is Ugga's son.

7. __________________ is Ugga's husband

8. __________________ is Grug's wife.

9. __________________ is Gran's granddaughter.

10. __________________ is Eep's grandmother.

III. Complete the blanks with the name of the correct character and ('s).

1. Ugga is ______________________ mother.

2. Grug is ______________________ son-in-law.

3. Hunk is _____________________ grandson.

4. Eep is ______________________ daughter.

5. Grug is ______________________ father.

III. Discuss:

1. How do you compare this family to modern times families? What do they have in common and how different are they?

2. Have families changed throughout history? Explain it.

3. How would you describe the personality of your family members? Are they similar to each other?

4. Who do you consider family? Cousins, distant cousins, brothers(sisters)-in-laws, or just parents, siblings and grandparents?

Answer key:


1. Gran
 2. Hunk
3. Eep
4. Belt
5. Hunk
6. Hunk
7. Grug
8. Ugga
9. Sandy
10. Gran


1. Hunk's / Eep's / Sandy's
2. Gran's
3. Gran's
4. Ugga's
5. Hunk's / Eep's / Sandy's