Cinema Study Guide for Mr. Holland’s Opus, Acceptable for State Reimbursement, is one of 7Sisters Cinema Studies for Literature Learning series. Teens can use some movies as part of the work that earns their Literature credits if they practice analysis skills like the ones explored in this guide.
This category includes only titles that, to the best of our understanding as authors and publishers, contain nothing that was intended to be religious instruction, nor anything that we believe constitutes religious instruction. We realize that the regulations for states vary and we cannot take responsibility or guarantee that this product will meet the standards for your state’s reimbursement.
This literature study guide helps you get the most out of Mr. Holland’s Opus while following the guidelines for curriculum that can be reimbursed in some states, such as Alaska and California.
Introducing Mr. Holland’s Opus Cinema Study Guide, for literature learning using the medium of movies!
Cinema Studies for Literature Learning is geared to the visual learner in high school, to those who are reluctant readers or for whom reading is very time-consuming, and to those who love movies!
Good movies tell good stories, and good storytelling requires the use of traditionally respected literary devices and techniques. With a little help from a study guide, many movies introduce the viewer to excellent literature that is being presented in a visual medium.
This format for literature study is a great option for high school students who become overwhelmed with a demanding reading list. Can you REALLY use movies as literature? While reading books is still a necessary part of a teen’s high school education, placing the ANALYSIS of literature primarily in the arena of movies is a good option for some students.
As with all curriculum from 7Sisters, we aim for no-busywork and no-overkill, instead offering teens a chance to build critical thinking skills while earning high school credit.
How much credit does each Cinema Studies Guide earn?
The Cinema Studies for Literature Learning is part of the English/Language Arts credit. Each of the guides with its movie can count as a book, although teens should also read some real books too. (Read this post to understand what goes into the Language Arts credit.)
What is in each Cinema Studies for Literature Learning Guide?
Each guide contains:
- Background information
- List of characters
- Theme or themes being highlighted
- A few vocabulary words to consider
- Questions to develop thinking skills and awareness of how the themes work in the movie
- Answer key for parents
Here’s how Cinema Study Guide for Mr. Holland’s Opus, Acceptable for Reimbursement guides work.
- Each study guide asks the student to read the introductory material, watch the movie once (answering questions as they go, occasionally pausing the video), and then take a week to think a bit about the ideas and the literary devices they observed. Ideally, students should discuss their answers with someone else to enhance the learning process.
- Students then watch the movie a second time after the questions and ideas have had some time to take root, then write in response to the suggested assignment at the end of the study guide. Writing assignments assume a certain degree of basic understanding on the part of the student regarding paragraph structure and essay form. (If your teen has not practiced essay writing, we recommend that you look into a writing guide like Introductory Guide to High School Essay Writing by Marilyn Groop, available in the ebookstore here.)
This product downloads as two separate PDF files. One file is intended for student use. This document contains fillable fields so students can type their answers directly into the guide. The other document is the answer key, intended for the parent.
The focus of literary analysis is:
- Character Arc
Click here to view an excerpt from Mr. Holland’s Opus Cinema Study Guide.
10-Day No-Questions-Asked Money-Back Guarantee on all 7Sisters EBook curriculum.
7Sisters’ philosophy of teaching literature to teens and tweens:
Some kids are natural bookworms; some are not. There is no right or wrong answer to the question, “Do you LOVE to read??” But homeschoolers pretty much universally agree that teens and tweens need to read books. Why is it important for our kids to read books – good books, and sometimes even hard books! – and what are ways we can help them engage in the process, gaining rich learning from it…even if they are not naturally bookworms?
Here’s a thought: A book is nothing unread.
Something amazing happens when a reader opens an author’s book. It’s not simply that the author’s words are released from captivity. Instead, much more than that happens.
The author’s words are released and brought into an encounter with the reader. The ideas, experiences, settings, characters and relationships that poured out of the author’s mind and onto the page meet up with all that has been a part of the reader’s life to that point. Anything might happen in such a meeting!
How can we:
- Encourage our high schoolers to read classic literature
- Help them actually get something worthwhile out of it
- Be honest enough to validate any frustrations they feel
- Help them move beyond that frustration to something like satisfaction with the experience?
As our kids grow from early readers to late elementary school reading assignments, we focus a lot of attention on READING COMPREHENSION, right?
Vocabulary must be mastered. Simple devices like symbolism or personification must be introduced. We have them answer questions to make sure they are following the plot. We have them draw pictures when they are young and write papers when they are older describing characters and their relationships with one another…all so that they will be able to understand what they are reading. And these are all good things – don’t get me wrong!
Comprehending what you read is absolutely vital to success as a student, and even to success in life as an adult. But there is a lot more to reading than comprehension. In fact, comprehension is only the FIRST level of a reader’s grasp of a book.
Reading for Interpretation is another layer, a deeper level of interaction with a book.
When we read for interpretation, we are trying to understand the book IN LIGHT OF a particular idea. How different might it be to read Harper Lee’s classic story of the challenge to overcome prejudice in the Great Depression era American south if you were not encouraged to keep the idea of “prejudice and its damage to society” in mind as you read? Sometimes all it takes is a simple mention of an idea on which to focus; teens don’t need to find every single instance of prejudice causing damage, but they may benefit from some gentle direction to keep their eyes open and pay attention when they do encounter it.
Inferential Reading adds another experience and set of skills.
When we read for inference, we gain knowledge from the book and then reach a conclusion based on that knowledge. We try to predict what will come next, thinking about cause and effect. We ponder a character’s motives that are not clearly spelled out for us. The conclusion one person reaches may be vastly different from the conclusion reached by another reader.
It needs to be okay for a young person to learn something different from the book than what I learned, as long as he or she can take a reasonable stab at sharing with me HOW that conclusion was reached.
Teens should get full credit for using their brains as they read, even if they reach an unusual conclusion!
Reading for Evaluation is yet another type of reading.
When we evaluate a book, we determine its worth. This is a highly subjective process, and it can be empowering for students who are NOT natural bookworms when we teach them to evaluate a book and encourage them to articulate their conclusions.
The worth of book can be defined in countless ways.
Pick one, and ask your student to evaluate it in light of a particular question. Questions like:
- “Even if you didn’t like this book, was it filled with vivid descriptions of a time and place you didn’t know much about before?”
- or “You may not have liked it, but did it give you a new understanding of the roots of Communism in the Soviet Union?”
For extra layers of learning, you can give students a couple of different scales and ask them evaluate the book based on the two or three different sets of parameters. Often teens who thought a book was “stupid” will have a new way of thinking open up to them when they are asked to evaluate a book.
The 7Sisters literature guides attempt to lead tweens and teens into new types of reading experiences:
- beyond simple comprehension,
- building skills for interpretation, inference and evaluation.
In my experience with my own kids (some of whom were NOT bookworms!) and with hundreds of teens in our local homeschool community, these guides usher even reluctant readers into new levels of engagement with really good books.
I was thrilled to have Cathy Duffy review my American Literature study guide bundle and earn her glowing endorsement. You can read Cathy’s review here:
For some great info on specific ways to increase your student’s engagement with literature check out these resources on the 7Sisters website:
Over the years, this workshop I’ve taught to homeschool parents on successful ways to teach literature to teens has been really well-received.
- You can get the full transcript of my teaching on this topic in PDF format.
FREE printables for summarizing a book or analyzing a character
- great for visual learners!
Have you thought about using a few movies as opportunities for literary analysis?
- Yes, it can be a legitimate way to learn in high school! Here’s how:
- Using Movies as High School Curriculum
Do you have concrete, black-and-white, or literal thinkers who really struggle with moving to the deeper levels of understanding literature?
- This blog post may help:
- Teaching Literature to Literal Thinkers in High School
Are you unsure about literature study guides altogether…like, isn’t reading good books enough?
- This episode of The Homeschool High School Podcast will give you a fresh perspective:
- How and Why to Use Literature Study Guides
- There are SO MANY episodes of The Homeschool High School Podcast just waiting to encourage and equip you for the adventure!
Check out the full library of episodes here at The Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network…and see if some of the other awesome podcasts there might also be worth a listen!
For more on how and why to use study guides for Language Arts, check out this post. And finally, if you’d like some ideas from a terrific homeschool high school mom whose blog offers WONDERFUL resources, visit my friend Marcy Crabtree at BenAndMe.com.