Movies are wonderful resources in education, but they are usually associated with passive learning.To keep students active and engaged during movies, we have used a free live-blogging software pro-gram called G-snap.G-snap is a free website that allows anyone to set up a live blogging event; access to the event canbe posted by a link or directly embedded on a webpage. There is no registration required, commentscan be saved, and the event can run for several days. During an event, questions can be posted andmost importantly, participant responses can be moderated before they are shared.
The most recent success was with MGM’s classic The Wizard of Oz which we used as an introduc
tion to a 9th grade unit centered on the universal elements of stories. The lm was chosen because
of its illustration of the steps or stages in a “Journey” seen in most stories. Some of these steps havebeen labeled as the “Call to Adventure,” the “Refusal of Call,” the “Tests, Allies and Enemies,” and the
“Return with New Knowledge”; all of these steps or stages are easily matched with Dorothy’ Gale’sadventure from Kansas to the land of Oz and back to Kansas. When the Wicked Witch of the Westlocks Dorothy in the tower, the confrontation could be called a “Supreme Ordeal.”One specic lesson’s objective was to have students identify a character’s weaknesses or strengths,a preparing for the journey step “Tests, Enemies and Allies.” We wanted students to recognize thequalities that character thinks he or she lacks is exactly the unrecognized quality the character pos
sesses. Of course, Frank Baum’s story is all about motivation and character qualities.Our students are fortunate enough to have the use of net books in class but other digital devices can
be used to access the materials used in class.
Using the G-snap software, I posed a series of questions at critical moments in the lm• What motivates Glinda to place the ruby slippers on Dorothy’s feet? Is this in Dorothy’s best inter
est?• What happens when one strays off the path of The Yellow Brick Road?• What qualities does the Scarecrow exhibit? How is this connected to his motivation?I also wanted them also to reect on the motivations of the Wicked Witch of the West and the intensityof her dialogue. For example: “those slippers will never come off . . . as long as you’re alive!” or “Thelast to go will see the rst three go before her.”I posted: Is this lm appropriate for children? Is the lm too scary?Their responses were mixed. Many felt the lm was ne for children, but some students considered
that the dialogue was really much more frightening then they had remembered:
“I do think some parts are scary for children. I think I was about 5 years old and I remember hiding
under a blanket when the ying monkeys came on TV.”• “No I don’t think that children should be protected from watching this movie. There are many vio
lent movies that children shouldn’t see but this movie is classic.”• “I saw this lm when I was a little kid, and I was frightened for days, I had nightmares about this
horrible witch, so I think it might be a little extreme for little kids.”
• “I saw it when was like 4 and no its not that bad, they will get over it. It’s not like a death threat,well it kinda is but never mind. I don’t think it’s that bad.”