The words “movie day” probably evoke fond memories from our own international journal childhoods: Teachers rolling out the TV/VCR cart; the classroom lights flickering out; everyone scooting their desks to get a better view or a seat near a friend; and, if we were lucky, maybe even the smell of freshly microwaved popcorn. Today, when it comes to watching movies in school, the technology has changed (no more squinting to see a tiny TV in the corner!), but our students love movie days just the same — if not more.
Sometimes showing a movie in class is just the right call. Some movies can help illustrate big, complex ideas. Others help us explore detailed topics in ways that just aren’t possible otherwise. And the best movies help us enrich students’ learning about the much wider world outside of our classroom’s walls.
And to top it off, classroom movies are a great way to help students practice their media literacy skills. Active viewing is a skill that doesn’t always come naturally, but it’s something all students can practice and learn. And in today’s media-saturated world, kids need all the help they can get when it comes to different ways of thinking about what they’re seeing on screens of all sizes.