Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Film Historian

Jill Blonder


Students determine main concept, details, stereotypes, and bias through movies. After viewing the movie, students write an essay explaining the film's influence on issues presented in the film.


The student prepares for writing by recording thoughts, focusing on a central idea, grouping related ideas, and identifying the purpose for writing.

The student organizes information before writing according to the type and purpose of writing.


-The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1937, video version)


Obtain a television, VCR and a copy of the 1937 version of 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame'.


Authentic Context:
As film historians, your team has been hired by the Smithsonian Institution to assess stereotypes, biases, and persuasion techniques used in classic films and to develop a rating system for these attributes based on whether or not these attributes are still present in society.

Your teamís first assignment is to view the 1937 version of 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' to determine the main concept, how supporting details enhance the main concept, if stereotypes are evident, if biases are evident, and if persuasion techniques are used to persuade the filmís audience to take a particular stand regarding the characters and or the story.

1. As you view the film, 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame', you will note supporting details that contribute to the understanding of the main concept, stereotypes, biases, and persuasion techniques used. Verbal or non-verbal specific examples from the story should be used.

2. At the filmís end, you will meet with your colleagues to discuss your findings. As a group, you will come to a consensus and determine if your observances of stereotype, bias, and persuasion techniques employed in the film are still evident today, and how these elements were integrated into the main concept of the film to enhance either character development or plot.

3. Your team will then develop a rating system which reflects what you have observed. For example, the team could check 'Yes', 'No', or 'Sometimes' when they feel that biases and stereotypes are being depicted in the film.

4. Your group will chart your findings and present them to the class.


A. Notes taken in the form of advanced graphic organizers must include certain important data.
1. correct examples of bias
2. correct examples of stereotypes
3. use of correct examples of verbal persuasive techniques
4. use of correct examples of non-verbal persuasive techniques
5. main concepts found in the movie
6. details found in the movie that support the movie's main concepts

B. Florida Writes expository essay -Explain how my thinking changed after I watched the film and discussed various issues about the film with my peers.- The Rubric used for the Florida Writes Examination will be used to assess this essay.

Self Reflection: How did my thinking change after watching the film and discussing various issues with my peers?


-Compare and contrast classic films with remakes. For example, Disney's version of 'The Hunchback of Notre Dame' could be viewed after the classic version to see to what degree the biases and stereotypes are present or if the storyline was altered.
-Read books and compare and contrast them to the films. 'Jane Eyre' is a good example of society's view of working class people and wonmen's roles in society.
Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.