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After Trick or Treating

By Lily Iatridis  October 31, 2014
hocus pocusA full weekend of Halloween this year!? Yahoo! You’ll probably want to relax and wind everyone down with a movie at some point.

Let's make watching that movie educational too.

But first, let me share my favorite Halloween movies with you!

“Hocus Pocus” - Bette Midler stars in this hilarious tale of three witches from Salem who have been reawakened on Halloween after several hundred years asleep and attempt to make mischief. Their encounters with modern technology are an absolute hoot.

“The Nightmare Before Christmas” - You’ll find that your kids will come to love the animated characters in this Tim Burton film about ghouls who look for more meaning in life. They decide to kidnap Santa Claus and take over Christmas, which doesn’t turn out so well for them!

Jack Skellington“The Witches” - Adapted from the book of the same title by Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, this movie tells the story of a brave little boy who gets into trouble when he and his grandma find themselves vacationing at the same hotel where an annual witch convention is taking place.

Last but not least, for high school students, it’s a great time of year to read Arthur Miller’s play “The Crucible” about the Salem Witch Trials. There is a modern movie version available starring Daniel Day Lewis, but it’s a little risqué. Parents, I would preview that before showing it to your kids, or make it an adults' only movie. Unlike the other three films, this one is a gripping and serious drama.

Now for the educational part: write a review of the movie you watch next Monday morning! A review requires upper level critical thinking skills, but when kids write a review on something they like, it’s easy. And it’s great preparation for reviews of required readings they’ll have to do later.

Next Monday, ask your kids to answer these questions:

1) What was the movie about?

2) Did you understand everything in the movie? List anything that was unclear.

3) What was the purpose of the movie? (Several answers are fine, including the moral of the story.)

4) How did the creator of the movie achieve that purpose? Give examples from the film.

We ask our students the same questions in our Essay Rock Star Textual Analysis short course, which teaches kids how to review another author or maker’s work in essay form. Click on our Textual Analysis Content Checklist and download one of the resources from that short course to keep and use at your convenience.

Happy Halloween! Have a terrific weekend.



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