"It's a Wonderful Life" is a feel-good Christmas story for classroom viewing about learning to appreciate what one has in life rather than focusing on what is missing. George Bailey, the protagonist, finds himself in deep trouble and considers taking his own life. This is a wonderful film about love of family, friends and community, and is perfect for the holiday season when many people experience depression and isolation. The religious aspect of the movie is downplayed enough to be appropriate in public schools as well as in spiritual settings.
This unit contains character lists, quotation analyses and vocabulary for the story. It also includes lessons on literal vs. figurative understanding, making inferences, plot and conflict, and theme. Included are over 20 reproducibles for classroom activities, writing prompts and test questions, four different comparisons to other texts, and PowerPoint presentations for literary terms in the ExC-ELL vocabulary model. Scaffolded and differentiated; teacher determines amount of notes, amount and format of writing, which answers to share, and which poem(s) to use for comparing/contrasting. This unit also includes interdisciplinary possibilities with history studies around the Great Depression, WWII and the Christian culture of Christmas.
Kid-tested and teacher-approved for over thirteen years, and I still have students coming back to tell me they remember – and love – the work we did on this movie. Duration of unit varies; depends on what teacher wants to spend time on. This unit can easily be extended to the week after the Christmas holiday if needed. This is a black and white production, but students will adjust quite quickly to enjoy the characters and themes.
This film unit is a wonderful plug-in for the Season of Giving. Yours from Paradise Unlimited New England!