Movie Mania

Suppose there’s a new film coming out soon that many of your students are excited about.  You can take that opportunity to give them some assignments they’ll enjoy.  Here are some ideas.


Before the Film’s Release


Students can either draw by hand or on the computer some graphics/pictures for a poster, then throw a few exciting phrases on it (like “coming soon” or “the worldwide sensation” or whatever), as well as the title and release date.  Pair-work might be better for this activity, since not every student is visually creative.

Character Profiles

Students can write little dossiers about the characters.  They might not know a lot of details, so it might just be impressions from the trailers or what else they can read online.  Just a little blurb about five of the characters should be enough (including what they look like, their general attitude, their skills, their relationships with other characters, etc.)

If the movie is a part of a larger franchise the students are familiar with, do a more detailed profile of a single character of their choosing.

Mock Trailers

In groups of four-ish, students can film themselves (just with smart-phones, if they have them.  Or perhaps the teacher can do the actual filming) re-creating the trailer.  They can also expand on moments, cut moments out, or edit it however they want.  If they think they now enough of the story, maybe they don’t even need to use the official trailer as a starting point, and they can script their own trailer themselves.  Students will need to co-ordinate who plays which part and which scenes to include when.


Each student can write two or three paragraphs on what they think will happen throughout the film (beyond what’s obvious from the official trailers) and how it’ll end.


After Watching the Film


Each student should write a three-to-four-paragraph summary of the film.  This should have little to no opinions; just explain objectively what happened.


Here, the students can express their personal opinions.  If they already wrote summaries they don’t need to do it again; otherwise just a two-or-three-sentence synopsis should be fine.

How much did each student like the film, out of 5 stars?  What are three things they liked about it?  What are three things they disliked about it?  For older students, you might want to have them give separate star-ratings for the story, the characters, the visuals, the music, etc.


In groups of four or so, students can re-enact their favorite scene from the movie.  They’ll need to co-ordinate amongst themselves, script the scene, and practice it.  They can either perform in front of the class or in front of a camera (it’s up to you).


In groups of two or three, students can put together some questions about the viewing experience and ask their friends and family, or ask students in other classes.  Either each group is responsible for their own survey, or you can do a collective survey in which each group is responsible for collecting responses to a single question.

Some sample questions include:

  • How much did you like it, on a scale of one to five?
  • Who was your favorite character?
  • What adjective would you use to describe the film?
  • Would you watch it again?

Alternate Endings

Follow the same steps as the re-enactment, except this time the students (in groups) need to think of an script a different ending.


Customize It

As always, you don’t have to do all of these activities to do some of them; pick which ones are best for your students, or which ones they’ll enjoy.  And of course, you can change or add rules as you desire.  But having them go through a campaign of activities rather than only writing a review might get them more invested.

The students can play it serious or in a silly manner.  I rarely mind my students being silly so long as they get the task done (on time), they do it using English as best as they can, and they don’t do anything inappropriate.

Lastly, it’s hard to choose a movie that literally every student in your class will enjoy.  So maybe give them two or three movies to choose from, if they’re coming out around the same time.  Or, you can give them the assignment at the beginning of the year, and they can do this project at any point before the end of the year (therefore, one group’s project might be finished before another begins, depending on when their film comes out).

Most of all, have fun!

Get more with Insider Access


Advanced Features in Student Projects

search and filter

planning info


Extra Video Content

more How-to-Teach grammar videos*

with intros, instructions, and summaries

*compared to free resources


Exclusive Supplemental Resources


posters & handouts

bonus notes


Put On a Play

Students can learn a lot by putting on a play – not just reciting lines, but making a big production of it, involved in plenty of different aspects of the show.

Read More »

Character Journey

Students can create characters that they’ll use throughout the year. Each month, the character progresses a little closer to their goal, but in the meantime, they can be used to answer questions and for other activities. The possibilities are wide open.

Read More »


Students create an outline of a story they know well. But instead of just words accompanied by bullet points, they’ll have more of a visual component to it and show the flow of progression.

Read More »
Writing Prompts

Unlikely Hero

Students create a character with two very different jobs, one in a mild-mannered profession, and another as an action hero. How do they use their skills, tools, and knowledge of the former to help them as the latter?

Read More »

Show, Don’t Tell

A common adage among writers is “show, don’t tell”.  Writing in this way prompts students to think of different ways to express the same thing.  Students will have to use expressions and imagery – like native speakers do in most situations – instead of being straightforward.

Read More »

Share This Post