Students gather information from youtube videos, social media and biopics without always using resources that are available to fact check. This exercise will provide them with the practice of questioning the “truth” by examining the constructed narrative so that they can get into the habit of not taking all sources at face value. This exercise works well after students have read The Grapes of Wrath, as the film Cesar Chavez works with some of the same problems Steinbeck espoused through the experience of the Joads. There are plenty of materials available to help students appreciate The Grapes of Wrath. And there are other resources that can be used to hold students accountable to the content of the film. This lesson focuses on a critical reading of the biopic, Cesar Chavez; this process can be used with other biopics, too.
* Students will learn to question the “facts” of a film.
* Students will practice fact checking.
* Students will identify the purpose and message of the film.
* Students will read published criticism of the movie and decide when they agree or disagree with a writer’s concerns.
* Students will evaluate many of the factual problems of the film and evaluate how these falsehoods affect the message and purpose of the film.
* Students will discuss how the movie could have been better if certain facts were not changed.
* Students will work with a multi-part prompt.
This lesson contains the following:
1 . A detailed, step by step description of what students do.
2. Links: “Field of Tears”; and four critical reviews of Cesar Chavez
3. Handouts: “Field of Tears” study guide and answer sheet; How to take notes on the critiques; Essay template for those students who need help; Sample introductory paragraph that responds to the prompt.
4. Questions to ask while watching the film.
5. Writing Prompt for essay
6. Ideas for grading and assisting, and peer editing.
7. A reflection activity.
8. Follow-up activities
Time: Around two weeks. More if students need more in class time to research and write their essays.
Fields of Tears (90 minutes)
Watch film, take notes, discuss while watching (about 2.5 hours)
Message of film (30 minutes)
Create research questions (20 minutes)
Homework or extra time to conduct the research in class
Present research (3 minutes X number of students)
Read and respond to critiques (90 minutes)+ homework time if they don’t finish
Write the essay (60 minutes) + homework time if they don’t finish.
Peer editing (15-30 minutes)
Reflection (10 minutes).