Friday, April 1, 2011

ZGuide to the Movies Johnny Tremain New TOS review

ZGuide to the Movie
Zeezok Publishing

Johnny Tremain

$12.99 Instant Download
$12.99 CD

$15.98  DVD

Recommended age levels of Junior High thru High School

Zeezok has zguides to the movies available for many other movies.  They also sell the corresponding movies.

Recently we used and reviewed a movie guide from Zeezok Publishing. We were given the opportunity to choose which guide we would like to use.  As we have been studying American History and this one is designed for Middle School I felt this would be a good choice for us. The copy I received was a downloadable ebook.

The movie guide begins with an overview of the time period and setting and then summarizes the movie. The guide is designed to be used over the course of a week after watching the movie.  Each day has two activities, of varying length and complexity. Many of the activities are of a question and answer form and are two to three pages in length. There is also a public speaking exercise, 2 coloring pages, a crossword puzzle and a maze. Additionally there are questions intended to be used in family discussion as well as in thinking about world view beliefs. Some of the activities require additional research to find the answers.

A major character in the movie is James Otis.  One of the activities focuses on analyzing one of his written works, defining vocabulary words from the text and answering several questions. Other topics studied are the Boston Tea Party, the Battles of Lexington and Concord, and Apprenticeships.  The introduction of the Declaration of Independence is also studied.

There are a number of skills addressed in this movie guide and it gives the parent a succinct way of measuring comprehension and understanding of the movie.  Each of the questions and activities(except coloring and maze) are given a point value to assist in making grade determinations.  There is also an answer key at the end of the ebook. All together there are 36 pages in the study guide.

How We Used the Movie Guide

I was excited to receive this as we have been studying the American Revolution and started reading the book Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes. The movie guide questions in the first activity are good for reviewing the facts of the movie. Most of these deal with facts presented in the movie, although is is questionable whether some of the things presented in the movie are factual.  The movie is not produced by Zeezok. I liked having this resource to make watching the movie more educational. 

Both my 6 and 9 (now 10) year old watched the movie and were able to answer the questions in the first activity.  I was surprised at all the details my 6 year old picked up and was able to recall and share.   However, he became weary of the subject after the first page of questions.  My daughter also did a good job in answering the questions.

The movie guide was a good resource to have in order to check comprehension and understanding of what was viewed in the movie. We watched the movie and began answering the first activities questions in one sitting. This was not the best planning on my part so, in using this again I would probably watch a portion of the movie and use the corresponding questions in two sessions as there is a lot of material in the first activity.

They both completed the maze, but did not use the coloring page as neither is overly interested in coloring  predrawn pictures.

The questions in the daily activities are mainly basic fact recall (knowledge, comprehension)and then in the last activity and the family discussion questions there are a mix of application, analysis, and synthesis.   We answered most of the questions throughout the guide orally as neither of my children really care to write. This way they are more fully able to express their knowledge and thoughts without the chore of writing.

I was surprised by the directions on many of the activities for further research.  The directions instruct to use the internet or print resources, but there are no links or recommended print resources.  I feel that giving a student free reign to research on the internet will be an opportunity to goof off or not find credible references. My 4th grader is not independent in online research yet. Without any suggestions for print resources it will require preparation to find sources. My library branch does not have many resources and requests for resources have not come in yet.  Some of the questions in these activities are able to be answered without further research especially after studying the events and time period.

I also feel several of the Worldview questions are pretty leading in the way they are worded.  One of them assumes it is wrong to work on the sabbath and that is the reason Johnny was hurt. Another gives the impression we can know God's will and reason behind an event sometimes, but not always.

Another question states that the colonists follow the idea of "prefer principle to profit". It then asks how this applies to us in the twenty first century.  I question if this really is the way people think or if it is practical to apply this today.  I am not sure it is even applicable to all the colonists.

The public speaking activity utilizes Patrick Henry's "Give me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech. We read this and talked about it rather than using it to teach public speaking for my children.  An additional activity is the memorization of the beginning of the Declaration of Independence. While there is historical value in that, the main reasons the colonists waged the Revolutionary War are found in the body of the Declaration.  It would seem that these would be of a greater educational value to know and understand those. We worked on memorizing the selection, but it was too large for the time of this review.  It is something that will be continued.

I appreciated having this movie guide as it made watching the movie a much more interactive and educational experience, however it was something which I did need to tweak to fill our needs and situation. We will continue to finish several of the activities as our American Revolution study continues.

Read what other crew members had to say here.

Disclaimer:  I received a downloaded copy of this movie guide in order to review it.  I have not been compensated in any other way.  All opinions expressed are totally my own.

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