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Lights! Cameras! Action! An Alternative Course for High School English: Movies as Literature – Tuesday – Fall 2023 and Winter 2024 – 20 Weeks – Grades 8-12

Tuesday, September 12 2023 @ 11:00AM Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 12:30PM EDT


Jonathan Meola

Instructor Email:



8 – 12

Day of Week:


Class Times:

11:00AM – 12:30PM (ET)


Fall 2023 and Winter 2024

AP / Honors / NCAA Approved

NCAA Approved Course


Tuesday, September 12 2023 @ 11:00AM EDT
Tuesday, March 12 2024 @ 12:30PM EDT
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Virtual (Jigsaw/Canvas)
+1 203 741 8570
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Tickets will be available on Wednesday, March 1 2023

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: This class must reach the minimum of five students by August 20th to run. If we do not reach this minimum, parents will be notified by email.

Best Course EVER!

Rated 5 out of 5
January 31, 2023

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.

Mr. Jonathan’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. Mr. Jonathan’s impact reached beyond our daughter.

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LR, Florida

Amazing course!

Rated 5 out of 5
January 31, 2023

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!

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JC, Vermont

LCA is awesome!

Rated 5 out of 5
January 31, 2023

You mentioned in our phone conversation at the start of the school year that Jonathan’s (Meola) method of teaching was different from the traditional way and let me say, IT WORKS!

“D” has not only succeeded in High School Geography, but also in Lights! Camera! Action!.

Thank you for your grace and understanding and how Jonathan teaches the students discipline and organization but love how you remind them the importance of integrity through your methods.

Many thanks to OTA!

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MM, California

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