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It's a Wonderful Life Detailed Outline for Christmas Lessons

It's a Wonderful Life Detailed Outline for Christmas Lessons
It's a Wonderful Life Detailed Outline for Christmas Lessons
It's a Wonderful Life Detailed Outline for Christmas Lessons
It's a Wonderful Life Detailed Outline for Christmas Lessons
It's a Wonderful Life Detailed Outline for Christmas Lessons
It's a Wonderful Life Detailed Outline for Christmas Lessons
It's a Wonderful Life Detailed Outline for Christmas Lessons
It's a Wonderful Life Detailed Outline for Christmas Lessons
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Once upon a time, I had four days of extra class days around the holidays. These are the joys of teaching extra-curricular EFL classes in a foreign country.* I hit on the crazy idea of showing It’s a Wonderful Life in class. It's a great Christmas or holiday movie and it has deep themes that can lead to an excellent discussion lesson. Or four.

–it takes four classes to cover it since it’s a good two hours long and presumably you want to It takes three or four hours of class time to cover the film as the film itself is two hours long! And then you need time to explain vocabulary, cover comprehension, and get into the discussion questions.


What happened is, I was working in Kazakhstan where Christmas isn’t celebrated but New Year’s is. So the students had their final exams during Christmastime, but I was teaching on a independent contract and so I was expected to teach X number of class-hours. To fulfill that contract, I was going to have to have classes while students were taking exams. I thought that there was no way students would want to learn anything. So I thought we could watch a long movie and discuss it and discuss American Christmas and have some fun.

In the end, the extra classes got cancelled. However I still have the notes on It’s a Wonderful Life and I'd love to see them used.

This includes a summary of the film, a list of characters, and notes on the whole film broken down by scene with every scene including running time, elapsed time, brief summary of the action, and key vocabulary or cultural notes students may need.

There are no comprehension questions or discussion questions or anything of that matter. I don't want anyone confused about what this is. It's a detailed outline that you can use to select scenes to watch with your class, or help you guide students through the film.

* What happened is, I was working in Kazakhstan where Christmas isn’t celebrated but New Year’s is. So the students had their final exams during our American Christmas time. I was teaching through an independent agency and so I was expected to teach X number of class-hours. Through the year four classes got cancelled due to school holidays or PTA-type conferences. Anyway, to fulfill my contract, I was going to have to have classes while students were taking exams. I thought that there was no way students would want to learn anything after sitting all day in exams. So I thought we could watch a long interesting movie, discuss small-town American life, themes of money versus happiness and the David and Goliath small and big business dynamic, talk about American Christmas and have some fun.

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Check out more Christmas and holiday lessons:
A Charlie Brown Christmas Lesson Plan
The Gift of the Magi: 15 Activities and Lesson Plans
New Years Resolutions and Future Tenses Activity
Classic Stories for Christmas Time
Christmas and Holiday Warm Ups
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Answer Key
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Teaching Duration
3 hours
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