Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Remember , remember the fifth of November

For those who don't know today is Guy Fawkes Night (also known as Bonfire night) in the UK. It was always one of my favourite celebrations when I was young. Fireworks, bonfires and lots of fun. I even enjoyed that the traditional fare of burnt/raw baked potato wrapped in aluminium foil. Only later on when I got myself an education did I realise the darker, bloodier story hidden behind the traditions. (see here for more details).

So here is a lesson plan to help you celebrate(lol) using V for Vendetta which starts off with Fawke's attempt to blow up the English houses of parliament..

Lesson plan (for advanced level students)

1 Tell students that they are going to see a scene from a film which depicts an important event from British history (Guy Fawkes's attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament in 1605). They have to take notes on what they see and hear in order to do some research of their own.

2 Ask students to see the first scene form the movie (preferably on DVD with the English subtitles) and take notes.

3 Students get together in pairs or groups and discuss their notes. Show the scene again.

4 If students have access (I wish, sigh) at the school they then go off for ten minutes and find out as much as they can about the event. Otherwise ask them to do this for homework.

5 Students the report back to the class/teacher on what they learnt.

6 Ask students to talk about the coups, rebellions, revolts or revolutions that have happened in their country in the last hundred years (you may have to work on the vocabulary before starting the discussion).

7 Ask them to make a timeline.

8 Ask students to discuss whether violent social change is ever justified.

Next lesson

9 Show a short scene from the later part of the film (for example chapter 18 to 19) and ask the how the world shown in the film is different/similar to the one we know today.

10 Students discuss their answers in groups.

11 For homework ask students to watch the film at home.

What is its basic message?
What evidence does it give to support it?
Do you agree? Why/why not?

12 Students discuss their answers in pairs then in groups then as a class.

Essay question

"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people. "


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