Monday, January 9, 2012

His Silence Was More Powerful Than Words

 TOS Crew Members have reviewed Z-Guides to the movies in the past, and this year I was very pleased to get to see what all the hullabaloo was about! Of course, I really wanted to keep this appropriately educational, so I chose a movie that fit into the history time-frame about which eldest was reading.

We were introduced to the movie "A Man for All Seasons." It tells the story of Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor of England under Henry VIII and his integrity.

Just a cautionary side-note~ just because a movie is listed as streaming on Netflix the month before you plan to watch it, there is no guarantee that their contract won't run out on said movie the day before you have it scheduled in your lesson plans~~~ Chances are good that it will be back, but not in time for a scheduled review! Good thing that some area libraries carry a decent selection of "classic" older movies still!

So, on with the review of the product at hand, the ZGuide by ZeeZok Publishing. I'll give you a run-down loosely based on the table of contents.
  • How to use this guide~ General recommendations on what should be done prior to watching the movie, and a possible lesson plan that can be completed in 5 days. 
  • Topic Overview~ Sets the stage for the movie, and actually adds some closure with explanations of events that took place after the time-period of the movie ends.
  • Movie Synopsis~ Suggested that the student read this first~ certainly makes following the sometimes slow action in the film a little easier.
  • Activity 1~ Movie review questions~ It is recommended that the student answer these while watching the movie, and in this particular instance that was a VERY good idea. We put the DVD in the player and hit the pause button with regularity so that we could discuss the questions, which added greatly to this film. I would expect that an older High Scholar could watch this film and catch a fair amount, and jot down the answers to the questions as it flowed. For us, the questions were very useful in figuring out exactly what was going on. The synopsis was useful there as well, but having read it some days in advance (When we were supposed to start ~ with Netflix), it was no longer fresh in our minds when we were able to obtain the movie from the library days later.In retrospect, I would have read it again. ;)
  • Activity 2~ Questions to be researched in order to find out more about Henry VIII ~ although it is set up as a potentially gradable research project(As are most activities), we chose to do them as joint discussions~ again, so that Eldest could more fully understand what was going on in the time period.
  • Activity 3~ More about Thomas More (Set up the same way as Activity 1)
  • Activity 4~ More about the Tower of London (Again, the same)
  • Activity 5~ We didn't do this one, which had to do with an exercise in "Defending the Defendant" This would be perfect for someone who is involved in(or would like to be introduced to) debate. :)
  • Activity 6~ Sir Thomas More's Wise Sayings~ Could become a writing exercise, we chose to discuss them instead.
  • Activity 7~ A crossword Puzzle~ For fun (But you have to do your research to find the answers!
  • Activity 8~ Portrait drawing~ Fun to bring in some art~ :) 
  • Activity 9~ Wordview Activity~ This was one of my favorite aspects of the guide~ as we discussed character traits and flaws of some of the main figures in the movie. Again, we did it as a discussion rather than an assigned worksheet. (Catching a theme here? Isn't it nice that it's set up for those who like a little structure, but others can feel free to adapt!) 
  • Activity 10~ The Filmmaker's Art~ Again a discussion-based worksheet for us~
  • For Family Discussion~ Excellent "Thinking" questions. 
  • Additional Resources for Further Study~ We didn't use these, but they would be excellent if you were interested in learning more (Which I might be at some point).
  • Answer Key~ Sometimes it's very nice to have all the answers in front of you~ ;) 
Using the Z-Guide was a great way to incorporate media into our history study, with discussion questions that *I* didn't have to come up with! It also made the time-period come more alive.
I will say that I probably would not have chosen to watch this movie if I hadn't had to choose a Z-Guide, and had the desire to keep it more educational for my Eldest (14). In reality, I would have probably made HER happier if I'd gone with Kit Kittredge (As many fellow Crew-mates did...), and made my life a little easier because we actually OWN that movie. Another choice would have been My Side of the Mountain. However, I was trying to focus on a more "high-school" selection. 

"I think when statesmen forsake their own private conscience 
for the sake of their public duties, 
they lead their country by a short route to chaos"
Sir Thomas More

~The Nitty Gritty~ 
  • Product ~ Z-Guide to the movies  can be found at  ZeeZok Publishing ~ (you can also visit them on Facebook)
  • Ages~ Various guides to movies appropriate for Elementary through High School
  • Variation~Many historical time-periods covered, with more on the way (Check out the "timeline" on the left side of the Z-Guide to the movies  page). There are currently titles from Ancient Civilizations all the way up to the Vietnam war. *Note~ each guide is specific to a particular version of the movie, so be aware of that as you look into availability. If you are a movie-collecting buff, many of them are also for sale at ZeeZok
  • Price~ $12.99
  • Free Sample Guide ~ The Count of Monte Cristo (High School)  ~Great to "Try before you buy" Even if your kids aren't high-school, this will give you an idea of the quality of these guides.
For those of you who are interested in how the elementary guides work, may I suggest that you visit the Crew Blog and check out what other folks had to say! And as always, I hope that this review was useful to you as you choose where to spend your homeschool dollars.

Silence can mean nothing, agreement or denial~ "The maxim of the law is 'silence gives consent.' If you must construe, my silence consented, not that I denied. The world must construe according to its wits. This court must construe according to the law" Sir Thomas More
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this/these item(s)/service for free as part of the TOS Crew Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


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