A Movie/Film Review Lesson Plan for Teachers! by COOP

Posted on February 24th, 2009
Posted on February 24th, 2009

Click HERE to download “The Small Town Critic’s Movie/Film Review Lesson Plan.”

It might surprise some of you that I was once a High School English teacher…


Okay, now that you’re done laughing, I know how hard it can be to develop a lesson plan that will engage students, access their prior knowledge, allows for scaffolding and differentiated instruction, etc. (see? I talk the talk and I walk the walk). However, I wanted to offer one of my more popular lessons from years past.

I never could find a good movie/film review lesson plan on the web, so I finally made one up.

I made it pretty flexible so a teacher could modify it to his/her liking and it includes my extensive expertise on the subject. You can add the standards or objectives you need with little fuss. You’ll have students producing a quality, 2-page essay and give them a bit of education on a form of media most of them take for granted. It’s created for middle school and high school (all secondary school) kids but I imagine a few tweaks could make it work for Elementary. I’ve found this lesson works wonders for the special ed./special need kids who are usually more visually oriented.

Click HERE to see a sample of the lesson.

This lesson will also placate administrators who are peeking in your windows, wondering why you’re showing movies to the kids. Present them this lesson plan and they’ll say, “Very good… carry on!” and go back to the main office, telling everyone what a good teacher you are (seriously, that’s what happens). Now that’s accountability… as long as you don’t forget to include your grade-level appropriate, state mandated standards!

As a gift to my former colleagues and all the teachers around the world, I’m giving this to you for free. You can thank me by writing “Coop Cooper is a genius” on the chalkboard. Or you could write my website address on the board so the kids can go to my site and have hundreds of examples of reviews to help them in their assignment. Either will work.

In all seriousness, I’d appreciate hearing from teachers to see how they implemented this lesson, what modifications you used, what worked, what didn’t… I highly value the feedback since I plan on adding onto and improving this lesson.

The lesson contains:

– A lesson outline
– Vocabulary with definitions and clear examples
– A worksheet handout
– “Movie Review Project” instructions (criteria sheet w/ clear scoring explanation)
– A review template handout to show the outline of an effective review
– An accurate example of a review that reflects the template and instructions

Click HERE to download “The Small Town Critic’s Movie/Film Review Lesson Plan.”

Good luck!


P.S. Pass this along to any teachers you think might benefit from this lesson!

P.P.S. To all you seasoned writers who want to know how to write a professional-level movie review, I’m going to be working on another document specifically for you sometime in the near future. It woudn’t hurt for you to check this one out, though. You may learn something.
MovieBlips: vote it up!

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  1. Mary

    Excellent! I will try it out and let you know how it goes! Cheers, M.

  2. admin

    Thank you, Mary! I’ve been waiting a long time for some feedback on this one (since I posted this on another site nearly 6 months ago!).


  3. Mary

    Hey Coop,

    this worked extremely well at a Year 10 level (Secondary School, 15-16 year-olds).

    It was structured and engaging.

    I have credited you and passed it on to other English teachers -and asked them to leave their feedback as well.

    Thanks once again. Mary.
    (Melbourne, Australia)

  4. Traci

    I love the worksheet handout. I am going to modify the assignment for a business college public speaking course I am teaching, but I am stealing your ideas. Wonderful! I will try to let you know how it goes

  5. Miriam

    I loved this activity. Thanks a million for the great outline.

  6. Damien

    I’ve tried opening the link to your lesson plan, but unfortunately I’m only seeing a ‘404 error’ screen. Hopefully it’s fixed soon. This sounds like quite a useful plan that I hope to make use of in the future.

    Cheers, Damien

  7. Jimbo Jones

    What do you think?
    Worked really well with my lower-mixed ability group! I’m going to use it for my higher ability group this year and differentiate by outcome – excellent resource. Cheers man.

  8. David

    Coop Cooper is a genius!! Ha! Hey! I just downloaded your Lesson plan. It looks GREAT!! I will try it out and let you know how it worked for me. My district just added a new elective class this year, Literature of Film/Film Research, and another teacher and I were the brave ones to test drive it. So far, I have had zero success finding good lessons to use, so we have been very creative. The kids seem to enjoy it so far (at least the ones who are avid movie lovers and not just movie watchers). We started off with the history of film, so far teaching the kids how film started and we dived into the wonderful world of Charlie Chaplin this past week which has been a delightful experience. Once again, thank you for taking your time to put this lesson up for us in need!

  9. Alexa Fretz

    This is a detailed lesson plan with straightforward material! IGreat job.

    ‘m using it in a Gr. 12 college level English course, in conjunction with reading and analyzing the play “Of Mice and Men”. I’m sure they will benefit from the structure of your planner, and learning appropriate terminology.

    Later in the course, these students will be writing a letter to a film company pitching their idea for a movie, so the terminology is doubly important.


  10. Lesley

    Have just downloaded this to try with a ‘what do we have to do this @!#$ for ?’ year 9 class. When they are in a positive mood, they rock; but when they’re off, they’re stress-making material! They range from barely literate to adult levels of intuition and understanding. The scaffold structure is a definite bonus, which experience tells me is always successful.

    Will try to get back to you with results.

    Tasmania, Australia

    • admin

      Thanks Lesley! I’d love to hear your results.

  11. admin

    Wow, thanks all of you. It blows my mind to see so many people trying out my lesson plan (and in Tasmania too, Lesley :). Please let me know how it goes. I can certainly use the feedback!

  12. Bianca

    I’m putting a marketing Twist on it and how reviews can help or hurt a movie for my Sports, Entertainment and Recreational Marketing class for high school students!

    • Munyaradzi

      The type of physician I would like to work for is a Pediatrician. Pediatrician’s sliaecpty is to work with children. I have been working with children for a long time mainly because I work at a daycare facility. I’ve got to a point where I feel like I can handle anything that will come my way with them. It would also leave me feeling good at the end of the day to know that I have helped in some way to make a child feel better.The type of physician I would not care to work for is a Epidemiologist. Epidemiologist’s specialize in epidemics caused by infections agents and also work with sexually transmitted diseases. I feel if I were to work in this type of sliaecpty I would be putting my self at risk of exposure to these infectious agents. Also I would be focusing a lot of my time on trying to not get infected instead of having a steady mind on what I was actually supposed to be doing.

  13. Michelle

    Thank you!!! I am teaching Grade 11 & 12 English summer school and I was looking for new ideas! I will definitely be using this lesson plan and especially the worksheet and template. Thanks Coop!! Your website is going on our whiteboard!

  14. Sabrina

    Thanks for sharing your work! I teach English in France and I’m working on a lesson plan on film reviews. I’ll probably use your template. Thanks again!

  15. Jules

    Coop Cooper is a genius!! Thanks so much Coop! I am a curriculum development manager and I’ve used some of your material for a proposal I had to get done quickly!

    Thanks for sharing, for wanting to share… Legend.. 🙂

  16. Ying

    Thankyou so much for sharing this brilliant lesson plan! It helps others to save time and energy and to teach students how to write a professional film review. What you’ve started is just fantastic!! Good on you Coop. 🙂

  17. CB

    This is wonderful! Thank you so very much for sharing- I’ve already passed it on to another teacher 🙂

  18. Anne Kirk

    What do you think?
    I liked the in-depth plans. I’m going to try this with my group of 9th and 10th graders who struggle with reading and writing. I’ll let you know how it goes!

  19. cheryl lemine

    Thank you for the thorough plans. I’m more confident now about the project I’m planning with my students in the creative writing department.

  20. Erin

    I am using it with my college freshman at a local community college. I tweaked the assignment a bit and added a synthesis portion and am making them write 5-6 pages, but the basic ideas are yours. Thanks for the ideas.

    • Van

      I have not really chsoen what kind of specialists I would like to work under, but I do believe that it would be fun to work in a Psychiatrist’s office. I originally was going for my B.A. in Psychology, but switched. There are so many to choose from that sound absolutely interesting. Such as working under an Internist or going simple and working under a Family practitioner. Even Gerontologist sounds like fun. I love the “aging population” and they have stories and much to teach.For the moment I am going to take this degree one step at a time and try to find the place that fits me best.

  21. Kristyn

    This is so wonderful! Thank you for sharing such a comprehensive and engaging plan. My co-teacher and I are using this for our gifted middle school student’s advisory period.

  22. Sal

    What do you think?

    Coop Cooper is a genius!!! Thank you and great stuff! :0)

    Pre service teacher from Tassie

  23. Angela

    Thank you so much! I am homeschooling my son and this is an excellent resource!

  24. Tennille

    I think this is a great, structured lesson plan. I’m curious, though, as to why you instruct students to put film titles in quotation marks. Underlining or italicizing is standard for titles of longer works such as films. Thanks for sharing your work.

    • admin

      Tennille, I’m going by the Associated Press standards. They require a film title to be in quotation marks.

    • Itzel

      For me this is a relatively easy qusiteon, but has a pretty complex answer. The specialty I have actually looked forward to working with is OB/GYN. I find that the ability of a woman’s body to produce a child, endure the amount of abuse it takes during a pregnancy, and the amount of pain endured during delivery is amazing. The joy of being able to be present as life enters the world is truly one of the greatest moments in life. To me that would be the best possible option. I also would love working in the operating room with a surgeon. I have experienced the OR quite a few times, and have been on both sides of the table. I have to say I would love to work with any surgeon in the OR except for Orthopedics. The reason behind that is the surgery’s are pretty brutal when it comes to the skeletal system. Having been in the OR with an Orthopedic surgeon and seeing the use of the saws, hammers and other heavy equipment in order to perform the surgery just sends chills up my spine. I know that type of surgery is not for me. I think my favorite surgeries have to be that of the abdominal cavity. The specialties that I would least like to work for are few, and for simple reasons. Pediatrics is not a specialty for me since I have four children of my own. My Aunt is a neonatal nurse practitioner and I followed her in high school and saw the good, the bad, and the ugly so I can honestly say I could not emotionally handle that type of position. Podiatry is also an area I could not see myself working. The reason behind this is pretty silly, but here goes, I very much dislike other peoples feet especially if they are not well kept. I know in the medical field you will encounter feet on a daily basis, but I could not mainly work with feet on an everyday basis. My last specialty is Orthopedics for the reasons I noted above about the barbaric nature of the surgeries and treatments for the musculoskeletal system. Its just not for me.

    • security deposits

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      I was so excited to come acsors your beautiful website quite by accident! I was looking for felt patterns of birds, thankyou so muchfor sharing them, cant wait to make each and every one!! I have many of them myself on our property, we live on 40 acres and we our avid nature enthusiasts too, my husband like you has a huge love for owls peace 🙂

  25. cathy

    What do you think? Hey coop i plan on modifying it to use with my class of 10-13 year olds. It looks great. We are going to review Gods Must Be Crazy
    thanks for kindly sharing

  26. Jose Hafter

    Well done, I read it two times

  27. Lourdes M.Fernando

    Thanks for sharing your ideas on how to make a LP and at the same the format for film review>It guides me a lot for my subject, even if it is not English subject..GOD BLESS!.MORE POWER TO YOU!..

  28. Elizabeth

    I just happened upon this site and I cannot wait to try your lesson out!

    My seventh grade students have just completed a read through of a play adaptation of A Christmas Carol and are set to watch the new Disney movie-a movie that has mixed reviews, to say the least. I am looking forward to implementing your plan and appreciate how thorough it is.

    Thanks so much!

    • admin

      Thanks, Elizabeth! If it turns out well let me know.


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  29. Simone Winkler

    I used your movie review template for my 8th grade EFL class to improve their reviews of Harry Potter. Thanks for sharing it for free!

  30. Anita

    What do you think? This is exactly what I’ve been looking for! I was thinking of creating my own version, but yours is MUCH better! Thank you so much for sharing your creativity and efforts!

  31. Shauna

    This is perfect. I’ve been very frustrated with other lesson plans that I’ve looked at for reviews, but this covers it all and is easy to explain and understand.

  32. Kate

    Loved the lesson plan! The rubric is easy to follow, and the model essay that follows fits the rubric exactly, which is so important when showing both to the students. Thanks for the hard work! I am sure my 9th grade easily destracted students will be able to create a good review after we go over this!

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  33. Galya

    Coop Cooper is a genius!!! That’s what I am saying only after having found the lesson plan! I’ll try it out (today – hopefully), meanwhile, give me a good thesaurus to find a word stronger than “genius” :)))

  34. Ready for Summer!

    My students are so ready for school to be out, and they keep asking if they can watch a movie. Finally, they can! Thank you for this resource!

  35. Catherine

    GREAT !! I am using this to write an assessment on a SHREK film review. Thanks 🙂

  36. Gail Mederos

    What do you think? Thank you for sharing. I am an Earth Science Teacher in a High School. My principal is opposed to any film used for instruction. He does not believe or support Emotional intelligence. So, my showing Avatar in a science class is STUPID. I have been fighting for 2 years now. And I have not stopped showing it or expending critical thinking about abstract concepts. So, I will use your format and maybe the principal will be gone next year.

  37. T Mirell

    I haven’t used this yet, but thank you for sharing it! I especially like the model review and will let you know how it goes as part of a portfolio project for Junior English.

  38. Damian

    Thanks for your hard work Coop it looks like heaps of fun and its really clear to follow. I’m going to try this in my year 7-8 class this term.

  39. Fran

    I’m pretty sure Coop Cooper is a genius, and after I try this out I’ll let you know for sure. 🙂

    The teachers at my middle school first had to teach electives just a few years ago, and I’ve tried many different things – including classic film appreciation. When I tried it before I hadn’t really thought it out enough – I just knew I wanted to expose kids to some of the great movies out there that they’ve never seen.

    I had to decide tonight what I’ll teach next trimester, and I’m sitting up after 11:00 trying to figure out a viable way to expose my 7th and 8th graders to some cool films without making it a headache – for me or for them. 🙂 I think you solved my problem! Thanks, Coop Cooper!

  40. Jackie

    Hi Coop!

    Thank you for providing this incredible idea and lesson plan. I’ve been asked to teach a summer camp for kids (middle school to high school ages) and was brainstorming ideas when I came upon your site. This is perfect! I’m going to present this to my boss and get her approval. The camp is a week long and will have to keep the students interested from 2 PM to 5 PM. This will be perfect, I think. I’m also passionate about movies, so all the more fun! Camp is still a ways off, but I will let you know how it goes. Many thanks!

  41. jmerica

    great lesson! Loved it! altered it to fit scifi movies for my students to evaluate the scientific accuracy of current films.

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  51. Brisa

    Thanks for sharing. I’ll let you know how it went.

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A corporate promotional VHS tape from 1984 conceals a brain-altering signal which is said to grant increased health, longevity and psychic powers to those who watch it. View at your own risk...

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Northern Mississippi 1932:
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GOD MAKER remains unfinished and in limbo for now, but the trailer expresses the mood and imagery intended for the project...

Coop’s award-winning 48 hour short film trailer for REGRESS…

Told in reverse, this experimental made-in-48-hours film begins with a shocking murder then backtracks (like a viewer rewinding a VHS tape) to reveal the chilling origins of this tragedy.

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