Using ANIMATED SHORT FILMS to teach literary elements is a total game-changer, especially THEME!
FREE THEME WORKSHOP BELOW BLOG POST
A Few Things To Know About Teaching Theme
1. The most obvious way for students to identify a theme is by analyzing the conflict that the main character undergoes, and how that conflict is resolved. In the short film Joy and Heron, the two characters find themselves in conflict over fishing worms that belong to Joy’s master, but it is how they resolve their conflict that reveals the touching theme.
2. Students learn empathy, kindness, compassion, self-love, and many more great human qualities from the themes present in animated short films. So, teaching literary elements and device with short film doubles as a social/emotional lesson. WIN! WIN! In Joy and Heron, Joy is angry at the pesky Heron for stealing her master’s fishing worms, until she learns that Heron is only trying to feed her babies. In a touching scene, joy becomes softhearted and begins helping Heron get the food. Warning: Have your tissues ready! 3. Writers also use other literary devices like characterization to develop a theme. For instance, let’s say a major theme of a story is about a character changing their perspective and developing empathy. The writer will likely use characterization techniques to accomplish this. They might develop a personality that is stubborn, or uncaring through dialogue, appearance, actions, and other characters’ reactions to this character, so that this character can evolve and develop new traits. 4. Setting is also important to the theme. For example, a mean and obnoxious character may have been shuffled through countless foster homes that were less than desirable, with wicked foster parents. In this case, the setting affected the character, which in turn, brings about conflict, and a theme emerges based on how the character resolves their conflict. 5. It goes without saying that writers use plot to develop themes. Of course, rising action events lead to the development of the theme, but it is usually within the falling actions and resolution that the major theme is revealed.
When students begin to understand how writers weave all of the literary devices together, you will notice that their writing will have fuller characters, better plot lines, deeper themes, and will generally be more interesting!
Here are some animated short film workshops that help students identify theme by understanding how the writer uses literary elements to develop them.
Video Embedded. Students Work Directly On The Slides.
NO PRINT! NO PREP!
Here are a few Pixar workshops from my shop. Each one includes embedded videos, fun activities and a special culminating activity designed specifically for the theme of the workshop!
This award-winning short film will have you grabbing your tissues! This awesome plot twist teaches a valuable lesson that things are not always as they appear.
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