I recently received an email from my supervisor about the use of movies and parties in the classroom. [It wasn’t geared just to me, it was one of those whole faculty emails that tells you that one person did something wrong, but everyone has to hear about it, just in case someone else is misbehaving and hasn’t gotten caught.] The email talked about how movies and parties had no place in the classroom, unless they had some sort of curricular basis. At first, I was a little put off by this email, because I show movies and have parties regularly. However, after a step back, I realized that 99% of the movies I show have a direct curricular link, so I probably agree with the email, but just never took the time to think about it, as I don’t really have the time to show anything not related to my curriculum, due to all the standards to be covered. I’d love to hear your take on the movies/parties in the classroom, so please feel free to leave me a comment. In the meantime, here is a list of my Top 10 (curricular) Movies to show in your classroom, without getting in trouble from administration.
10. Magic School Bus – Almost every science topic you cover can be touched on within a Magic School Bus video. If you have a topic that doesn’t fit, Ms. Frizzle’s idea of “Get Messy, Ask Questions, Make Mistakes” can fit into just about any lesson on Scientific Discovery!
9. Leapfrog Videos – I love using the phonics videos from Leapfrog to teach letter sounds and word formation, but they also have math videos for math basics!
8. Planet Earth – Not only does this movie touch on tons of Biology topics, including animal characteristics, habitats, and animal adaptations, but it is so beautifully put together it will captivate your students. With so many more of our students watching the Simpsons and Hannah Montana – exposure to Animal Planet is a good thing all around!
7. Book based Movies – There are so many good kids books that now have a movie to go with them! I like to have students do a Venn Diagram comparison or a persuasive writing on which is better after they have read the book and watched the movie.
6. Sid the Science Kid – Here’s another great movie for the scientific process and science observations and journaling. They also cover tons of common science topics such as: elasticity, simple machines, and change in states of matter.
5. Little Einsteins – These fabulous movies use world famous music and art to investigate the natural world, and cover various science and social studies topics.
4. Team Umizoomi – The characters in this movie use math problem solving to make them into superheros! Every episode I’ve seen covers shapes, measurement, counting and logcial thinking.
3. Super Why – More superheros! Only these superheros are in reading. In each episode, the characters jump into a story and use reading super powers (reading, spelling, etc.) to solve a problem they are having. Can you say text to self connection?
2. School House Rock – So many people grew up on School House Rock every Saturday morning. Now, you can use those videos on DVD with your class. “I’m Just a Bill on Capitol Hill” is one of my favorites when I teach government.
1. Fetch with Ruff Ruffman – Reality show meets curriculum! This show has episodes for almost every science and social studies topic I’ve ever taught. It features real life kids and a cartoon dog who sends them on reality show challenges.
As a mom of young children – I use lots of these with my own children too! In fact, watching TV with them has spawned most of these suggestions! Hope you can use some of them in your classroom.