Sunday, February 21, 2010

Schools : Alice in Wonderland by Tim Burton & other films in the classroom

Cellphones in School

Games and Digital Resources in School are an important and serious goal in the 21st century focus on the changing face in Education, I wrote on Digital schools versus digital teachers

Let's talk about another important digital resource: 

  • Films in the classroom

The performance or display of a movie by teachers in-person lessons, activities in the classroom or similar place devoted to instruction like learning environments can be one of the most interesting educational resources for k-12 and junior high school. It's a rich interactive approach of exploring Literature for children and youth. Students enjoy it a lot.

Books based on teen books
via youthlitreviews blog

There is no doubt! Mobile devices are awesome! But why forget movies? And 3D movies? Impossible ! Such a wonderful digital resource.

Movies can offer teachers and students a nice motivating push!


A narration lets us know something. It tells us what happened. It tells us a story. Our students love to hear narrations.

They strain to hear the latest news among their friends about what happened over the weekend and they rush to see the latest films that promise a good story! We know that! Look at movies, like Avatar, Tentation the Twilight saga, some of the last films for teens.

"Movies present language in a way that is often more natural than that found in course-books, the fantastic visual context aids understanding and boosts listening, and students just simply love them."
Steve Louw

Movies based on children and youth literary books are an attractive and enjoyable digital resource to motivate students to read in school.

The Chronicles of Narnia
Prince Caspian

Many Literature classics for kids and adolescents have been made into movies. Movies like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis, Harry Potter's Saga by J.K. Rowling, Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, and so many others, give the chance to teach and learn Literature in a complete different way. The final result is always the best! And the list is immense!

So, we can motivate young readers, presenting literary books trough movies. Gorgeous educational resource!

  • Take the exemple of Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. Adolescents from all over the world are addict fans. With this saga, the success is huge because we read Meyer's books at school and after we went to the movies with our students.

Stephanie Meyer's covers

Displaying a movie in-person lesson to teach some subject, or going to the movies with a class allows the advantage of an incredible adventure of 3D perspective before reading some books.

So, reading a book and after, in a comparative process of learning, displaying the movie in the classroom, mobile devices (tablets, phones) or going to the movies with the class are interesting points of vue that educators can't throw way.

I experienced all these activities with great pedagogical success. The key is the students interest. And of course reaching the goals of learning and loving to read.

Alice in Wonderland by Tim Burton, 2010

Alice in Wonderland is  a lovely book but not a simple one to be understood by youth. Well, we all watch the kindergarten adaptation by Walt Disney! But Lewis Carroll novels are more complex than that! 

"The exchanges between Alice and the creatures she encounters turn out to be puzzling and apparently nonsensical and absurd. However, a more careful reading of the books reveals the fact that they constitute complex reflections on the philosophical questions of the Victorian Age in Britain. From this perspective, there is very little nonsense in these books. It can be said that the adventures of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass are not only the stories of a little girl in two different dream worlds, they are also the stories of how human reason confronts traditional problems which have troubled mathematicians, logicians, philosophers and linguists."

Some literature books are difficult for the 'net-generation' readers. Movies adaptation can help students to understand better these books, to appreciate and enjoy the book by having a new approach.


Now, Gen-Y deeply loves the new Gothic novels! So, there we are!

  • Showing Lewis Carroll to students by Tim Burton new 3D film based on the novel Alice in Wonderland that explores the Gothic universe of the author, keeping, however, the féerique and wonderful description of Lewis Carroll world, could be a very good choice in face-to-face teaching.

Alice in Wonderland 
Tim Burton, 2010

Watching the movie in the classroom, before reading the book (full-version) can help poor readers to understand better challenging texts, boosting them to a higher level of critical thinking and language analysis.

But if the class has read the book, you can display the movie (legally purchased), or ask the students to go to the movies, individually or in group, and then ask them to write an essay on the differences between the movie and the book, what the new understanding of the story they have after watching the movie.

Alice in Wonderland
by  Linda Woolverton
Puffin Books 2009
  • You can also use the book of the movie, screenplay by Linda Woolverton, Puffin Books, London 2009, to complete the activities of reading and writing.
  • Propose an activity in small groups in order to exchange ideas, awaken each other's attention on aspects that they unnoticed and discuss questions raised by the teacher, now in the big group. 
  • Finally, ask the students to write some conclusions or an essay.

As teachers we can use this interest to help students learn to write and, at the same time, meet most of the curriculum standards associated with writing skills. When their heads are into it, young people can write far better than when they are simply doing an assignment. Narratives, perforce, put their heads into the task.

  • If you teach English as a Foreign Language, that's good as well ! This will broaden students understanding of the words. They will also hear English language and its inflection, practicing and improving their English skills in an captivating and innovative 3D environment.

  • You can also display in the classroom this YouTube video where Johnny Depp presents his own character, "The Malicious Mad Hatter", and talks about Tim Burton ideas as well.
With curly red hair sticking out from his quirky hat, a ghostly pallor and bohemian Victorian clothes, Johnny Depp is unrecognisable in his latest role.

It will be great to teach some vocabulary about the characters in novels.

Don't miss this dark version of the tea-drinking hat maker in Tim Burton's upcoming remake of Lewis Caroll classic which will be on scene next 5th March.

Alice in Wonderland, 2010
Tim Burton
  • Another interactive resource? You can tutoring the students and follow "Alice in Wonderland" on Facebook. It will be fun! 
Social media as Facebook or Twitter as teaching environments? Why not? It's so exciting! But... always with teachers as e-tutors if the students are under 13 years old.

  • Some thoughts:

"It provides the necessary information to understand the educational benefits of digital resources and virtual worlds and to learn how to use them as educational and motivational resources."

Games in Schools

The challenge will not be on how to teach, but on how to use teaching new models to create something more to communicate.

My inspiration for this publication was based on my passion : teaching by including IT and new social media into school curriculum to enhance learning.


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Schools : Alice in Wonderland by Tim Burton in the school by bG-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. 


Souto, G., 'Assessment of Digital Resources use in Education', V International Conference on Multimedia and ICT in Education (m-ICTE2009), Formatex, vol.II


Games in School

Teachers' essential guide to showing Movies in the Classroom