Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Let's Watch a Story

Leslie Briggs
Santa Rosa District Schools


As a means to review the elements of a story, students watch a silent movie and visually identify the elements of a story.


The student understands the charachteristics of major types of drama.

Analyzes the effectiveness of complex elements of plot such as setting, major events, problems, conflicts and resolutions


-Copy of a silent movie video—PHANTOM OF THE OPERA starring Lon Chaney
-Worksheet— A Silent Story (See Associated File)


1. Obtain a copy of a silent movie and preview it in its entirety.

2. Print a copy of the worksheet, A Silent Story. (See file attachment.)

3. Prepare enough copies of the worksheet for all students .

4. View web sites for film history notes.


1. Review the definitions of the following story elements: character, plot, conflict, setting, climax, foreshadow, and mood.

2. Tell the students that all T.V. shows and feature films have the exact same “story” elements.

3. Lead a discussion of “story” elements by letting students discuss the settings, characters, and plots of their favorite T.V. shows and/or favorite movies.

4. Review the definitions of the story elements again.

5. Announce the class directions. Students are going to watch a silent movie for identifying story elements.

6. Identify the title of the movie, [The Phantom of the Opera], a silent movie starring Lon Chaney. (Be prepared. Students will balk at the thought of having to watch a silent movie, so you, the teacher, need to give the students a quick lesson in film history. Students especially like to hear how Lon Chaney created the makeup for his Phantom character.)

7. Instruct students to take film notes on their own paper.

8. Students view film and generate notes.

9. At the completion of the film, pass out a copy of the A Silent Story worksheet. (See file attachment.)

10. Students complete the sheet and discuss answers.

11. Assess the students’ work.


The A Silent Story sheet is assessed using the following criteria:

Correct identification of the majority of the characters
Correct identification of setting(s)
Correct identification of conflict
Correct sequence of plot events


I choose to use PHANTOM OF THE OPERA because so many students enjoy the horror genre; however, most any silent movie will work, especially Charlie Chaplin movies. Many students will also have a hard time focusing on the movie because it will lack a soundtrack, so depending on the focus ability of the class, I suggest you play music for background noise.

Web Links

Web supplement for Let’s Watch a Story
Lon Chaney's Phantom

Web supplement for Let’s Watch a Story
The Phantom of the Opera

Attached Files

The file “A Silent Story."     File Extension: pdf

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