The Sojourner

Friday, April 1, 2011

TOS Review: Zeezok ZGuide to the Movies

This year for 20th Century U.S. History, we are using movies to give us a glimpse into the life and times of people who lived during the 20th Century here in the United States.  I did not have any curriculum to guide us through this study, but had made a list of acceptable movies that would take us through the 20th Century.  However, when I received the request to review the ZGuide to the movies by Zeezok Publishing, I was very excited to see what they had to offer that might help us with this endeavor since they have ZGuides for MANY different movies.

I requested and received the ebook version of To Kill a Mockingbird ZGuide.  And when it came time to watch the movie To Kill a Mockingbird,  I was very eager to see exactly how the ZGuide would help us to view, comprehend and learn more from the movie. 

Each ZGuide contains a topic overview, movie synopsis, and ten learning activities for an in-depth study of the film.  For example, the ZGuide for To Kill A Mockingbird covers the topics of U.S. History Great Depression, Race Relations, Courtroom Procedures and Consequences of Lying.  There is a page that explains how to use the ZGuide and a Table of Contents.  Then you will find a brief Topic Overview, as well as a Movie Synopsis which gives you an overview of what you will be watching (my kids did NOT want to hear the Movie Synopsis prior to watching - they like the element of surprise:-).  Activity 1 is Movie Review Questions that you will answer directly after watching the movie and will help the student to be a more active viewer.  Then, for this ZGuide, Activity 2 is about Alabama in the 1930s.  Some of this we had to look up on the internet to find the answers, but it was really good to get a general feel for what was happening in the the South during the Great Depression.

Activity 3 for this ZGuide was about Race Relations in To Kill A Mockingbird and helped the students to more clearly understand the prejudices that existed at that time.   Secondary Story Line in To Kill a Mockingbird was the 4th Activity and brought out some of the more subtle events in the story.  For the 5th Activity, there was an Art Project which asked the students to create Courtroom Sketches of several characters in the scene.  Activity 6 was a News Media Interview where the student pretends that they are a news reporter interviewing Atticus Finch after the trial and Activity 7 was to create an Alternative Ending for To Kill A Mockingbird.  There was a Crossword Puzzle for Activity 8 and some Worldview questions for Activity 9.  The final Activity is "The Filmmaker's Art" which focuses on movie-making techniques and their affect on the viewer.  At the end, there are questions For Family Discussion which relate to moral or philosophical dilemmas present in the movie, as well as Additional Resources for Further Study.

I found the ZGuide to be very thorough and a great way to let movies provide a grand basis for learning.  The questions were well thought out and deep.  They required the student to delve into not only the movie plot and story, but also to discovering more information about the time period and cultural climate that was the South in the 1930s.

There are many different ZGuides currently available, some for classic movies like Red Badge of Courage and Ben Hur, as well as others for more current movies like One Night With The King and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.  And I would imagine that the number of ZGuides available will continue to grow as more are written.  Each ZGuide sells for $12.99 and you can get it in CD format or, for some, the ebook is available.  I imagine they will make the ebook available for all of them eventually.

Zeezok Publishing also sells the movies that they have ZGuides for at a very reasonable price.  I also noticed that Zeezok Publishing has some other very interesting resources and curriculum available on their website including the Great Musicians Series that has lapbooks for each of the great composers.  I am writing a one-year unit study on Music and thought these might be great additions to that study!

If you would like to read more reviews of this product from other members of the TOS Review Crew, go here to check it out.

I received this product for free in return for an honest review. I have not received financial reimbursement for my review of To Kill A Mockingbird ZGuide from Zeezok Publishing.

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