Finishing Strong #115: Movies that Inspire & Teach

I am confidant that we could all agree that we love movies. Your choice for movie night may be quite different from my own, but undoubtedly, we all enjoy kicking back with a bowl of popcorn or other treat and enjoying a story unfold in front of our eyes.

Movies That Teach

Movies not only entertain, they also inspire and teach. It is thereby no wonder that they are often used in the classroom as enrichment activities and to help reinforce concepts in all subject areas.

Most people think of science or history documentaries when they think of educational films. In our homeschool, we use a variety of film genres to teach foreign language.

foreign language moviesThere are online resources for foreign films, but finding them is not always easy. A few years ago, I wrote a post detailing how to use Movies for Foreign Language Instruction. You might also enjoy my post, Watching Movies Dubbed in Mandarin posted at Better Chinese.

Movies and educational films is my Finishing Strong focus this week. Continuing reading to discover more about how you can engage your teens with movies.


Finishing Strong

Welcome to Finishing Strong ~ a weekly link-up dedicated to families homeschooling middle & high school kids. Each Wednesday, moms just like you share their best tips, encouragement, advice, and more for teaching older kids at home.Finishing-Strong-500x500

Finishing Strong is hosted by me here at EvaVarga along with my friends – Heather from Blog She Wrote, Megan and Susan from Education Possible, and Heidi from Starts at Eight.

I know you will find the posts that have been shared with us inspiring! Grab a cup of tea, kick back, and take some time to check out the wonderful posts shared below. What are your favorites?

finishingstrong115I love historical fiction and so I thus I am delighted that 30 History Movies for Middle School by Mother of 3 was the most clicked on post this past week. Many of the titles our amongst our family’s all-time favorites. At first glance you might guess her favorite actor is Tom Hanks. 😉

Continuing with that theme, I also enjoyed Book Shark’s post, 10 Fascinating Netflix Films Your Teen Will Love. As part of our science curriculum this year, my two are working on earning the NOVA Awards. One of the requirements is to read and/or watch three hours of math-related shows or documentaries. In this post, I discovered two math programs I know my kids will really enjoy.

The next post I would like to highlight – though not directly related to movies – is Heather’s Choosing High School Curriculum. There are so many options out there it can feel overwhelming. Her post will help you to address your student’s needs and determine the materials for their courses of study.


As always, thank you for helping us to make Finishing Strong a key resource for families who are homeschooling through the middle & high school years.

What are you going to share with us this week?

Guidelines:

  1. Link up to 3 posts from your blog. Make sure you use the exact URL to the post, not to your home page. You can add any post related to homeschooling middle and high school students. Posts unrelated to that will be removed.
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Kidflix Global: Movies for Foreign Language Learning

As television and film have come to play so large a part in the daily life of most Americans, it is only natural that we would consider using movies as a teaching tool.  My experience with foreign movies and cartoons has convinced me that films can be one of the best tools for learning a language by enriching a student’s background, developing understanding, and creating sympathy for people living in foreign countries.  There are  online resources for foreign films, but finding them is not always easy.

foreign language movies

While attending Norway Day in San Francisco earlier this year, we learned of a wonderful resource for foreign language learning, KidFlix Global. Having discovered that there are many exceptional films being produced in other countries suited to family audiences, KidFlix Global has created a film rental club as a portal to a broader vision of the world providing families in the U.S. the opportunity to see these foreign movies for children.

Through the powerful and accessible medium of film and great stories, we can open eyes, open minds, and open hearts, and inspire a flourishing global community. What I love about these foreign movies for children is that the audio track is in the language of the country of origin with optional English subtitles. This is a great way for children to immerse themselves in another language.

At Norway Day, I picked up two Norwegian films, “Magic Silver” and “Wolf Summer”. Thus far, we have only watched “Magic Silver” and both of my children (ages 10 and 8) loved the film. It is about a small community of blue gnomes (or Nisse in Norwegian) who live deep in the mountains of Norway and are in charge of bringing daylight to earth each day. Their community possesses the magic silver that creates the magic of daylight.

Norwegian Children's Movies

One day, the magic silver is stolen by the Red Gnomes and the earth is plunged into darkness. Princess Bluerose, the daughter of the Gnome King, must overcome her fears in order to save the life of her beloved father and rescue the world from eternal darkness. She sets out on a remarkable journey with a young companion, conquers her timidity, and learns the essential lesson “when you take away, in exchange, you must always give something back.”

Teaching Tips

The first time we watched the film, we watched with the English subtitles. When we watch it again, we will turn off the subtitles to immerse ourselves in the language. Though we have not yet began a formal study of Norwegian, we already recognize a few phrases and words. With more exposure, I know the kids will enjoy pursuing Norwegian as another language.

Another way to utilize foreign films for language learning is to show students only short segments of the film and to focus on vocabulary and comprehension.  Movies and short clips allow the learner to see body rhythm and speech rhythm through the use of authentic language and speed of speech in various situations. Movies allow contextual clues to be offered and can stimulate and motivate student interest.

While watching movies alone will NOT make you fluent in that language, it certainly helps you hear how the language is actually applied in real life. It helps a lot with oral comprehension, and is a great way to learn the country’s slang and colloquialisms; which you often don’t find in textbooks and learning packages.

I encourage everyone to check out the foreign movies for children available at KidFlix Global. They presently have movies from several countries including Latvia, Estonia, Germany, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. They provide options to purchase, rent, or view films via live streaming.  As a special thank you to my readers, KidFlix Global is offering my readers a special discount ~ two DVD movies for the special price of $25 and free shipping!  To take advantage of this special offer, simply enter the promo code AVERAV.

Kidflix Global

I was not compensated for this review.  I purchased the DVDs myself because they appealed to me and they fit our current curriculum.  The opinion shared here is honest and is solely my own.