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Lights! Cameras! Action! An Alternative Course for High School English: Movies as Literature – Monday – Fall 2022 and Winter 2023 – 20 Weeks – Grades 8-12

Monday, August 29 2022 @ 11:00AM Monday, March 20 2023 @ 12:30PM EDT


Jonathan Meola

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8 – 12

Day of Week:


Class Times:

11:00AM – 12:30PM (ET)


Fall 2022/Winter 2023

AP / Honors / NCAA Approved

NCAA Approved Course


Monday, August 29 2022 @ 11:00AM EDT
Monday, March 20 2023 @ 12:30PM EDT
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Virtual (Jigsaw/Canvas)
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Camera!  Movies!  Action!  In this complete, one-year high school English course, we will combine learning with fun!   Together, we will use classic movies to introduce and study the elements of literary analysis and critical thinking.  We will view a variety of historical, classic and modern movies.  The movies themselves take the place of literature, acknowledging the reality that this is the medium for storytelling most accessible to modern audiences. Preparation for discussion and the discussion itself teaches students many of the tools of literary analysis such as plot development, theme, foreshadowing, setting, mood, character development, symbolism, the author’s purpose, point of view, motivation, puns, and irony. The analysis includes other aspects applicable to film such as staging and dramatic effects. After discussion, students are given two or three questions from which they will choose one as the subject for an essay.

Access to the following movies (can be streamed, downloaded, borrowed from library, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube….)  Please verify the YEAR of the movies to ensure you are streaming/renting/borrowing the correct version.

  • Shane (1953)                                            Western
  • Friendly Persuasion (1956)                     Historical Fiction – Civil War
  • The Quiet Man (1952)                              Drama; Romantic Comedy
  • Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)                  Comedy (Black Humor)
  • It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)                     Drama/Comedy
  • 2001 Space Odyssey.  (1968)                 Sci Fi
  • Rear Window (1954)                                 Mystery 
  • Dr. Strangelove:  Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)   Historical Fiction/Satire/Black Humor                  

Please note that there is an option for students to receive this class as an HONORS credit.  There are three extra assignments to be done, which are due by class 11, class 15 and class 20.             

Students will watch the movies prior to the class discussion on that movie.  EVERYONE IS EXPECTED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE DISCUSSION; therefore, class attendance is a vital component; however, we do understand emergencies.  It is just that students will receive the greatest benefit if they attend the class as it is in session.   Following the discussion, where we analyze the various literary elements, students will have some analysis questions from where they will choose a subject for an essay.   Expected turn around for watching movie, class discussion, assignment is every two weeks.

Parents can contact the instructor in August for their child to take this as an HONORS class. There will be an extra long term project that the student will be assigned to receive HONORS credit.

This class is worth 1 credit of English or Elective.

You can expect approximately three  hours of homework weekly.

NOTE: Registration deadline is August 15, 2022.

There must be a minimum of 5 students to run this class.

Beyond Grateful

Rated 5 out of 5
June 18, 2021

During our family new year’s celebration, everyone completed a year-in-review questionnaire. One question asked, “What are you most proud of that you accomplished this past year?”

Without hesitation, our daughter blurted out “I learned to write a five-paragraph essay!”

Our daughter, who up until this past semester would only write science lab reports, should be proud of this accomplishment. She willingly dedicated days to completing required essays, and we owe this success to Lights! Camera! Action! class.

The instructor’s enthusiasm, instruction, encouragement and feedback all generated a newfound level of confidence within our daughter. Plus, the course spurred everyone in our family (including grandparents) to watch incredible movies, which normally would not be in our Netflix queue. The impact of this course reached beyond our daughter.

Avatar for L.R., Florida
L.R., Florida

Thank you!

Rated 5 out of 5
June 18, 2021

I would like to say thank you. My daughter, Laura, was so inspired by OTA’s Lights! Camera! Action! class. She WANTS to improve at writing instead of shying away from the process that she finds so difficult. She is putting her heart and soul into trying. I am seeing improvement and I am seeing enthusiasm that just were not there before. You have no idea how joyful that makes me. This latest essay was really, really hard but a bit less overwhelming than the prior two. Slowly the elements that Laura is learning in class are sinking in.

I appreciate all that you do for the class! Thank you!

Avatar for J.C., Vermone
J.C., Vermone

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