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Lesson Plan

Lights, Camera, Action...Music: Critiquing Films Using Sight and Sound

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Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Six 60-minute class sessions
Lesson Author

Patricia Alejandra Lastiri

Patricia Alejandra Lastiri

Villanova d'Asti, Asti


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



Films can be much more than entertainment; they can also help students better understand themselves, their culture, and other forms of media. In this lesson, students view a scene from Good Morning, Vietnam in which the visuals and the music contradict each other. They then use a scene analysis framework to explore why the director chose the setting, camera angles, and music and what these choices do to create the scene's tone. Students reflect on the scene individually and in groups and then create their own scene to be presented to the rest of the class.

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Eken, A.N. (2002). The third eye. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 46(3), 220229.

  • The ubiquity of various kinds of media-including film, television, and recorded music-and the need for students to be able to interpret and decode them mean that educators should reconsider their definitions of literacy to include nontraditional forms of "reading."

  • To help students "read" films, teachers must help them develop the tools to deconstruct them, looking at colors, camera angles, lighting, and music. They must also encourage students to think critically and independently about the films they watch.

  • Studying films helps students develop a variety of skills that affect their learning in other areas including synthesis and evaluation, proficiency in media literacy, and real-life critical thinking.

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