Wednesday, January 4, 2012

TOS Crew K-19: The Widowmaker Z-Guide to the Movies Review!

Widowmaker z-guide to the movies from zeezok publishing

K-19:  The Widowmaker Z-Guide to the Movies
(Available to the public, February 2012)

Last year I had the pleasure of reviewing Zeezok's Z guide to the movies.  We chose the Kit Kittredge guide and were thoroughly impressed!   Written for middle schoolers, it was filled with plenty of activities and discussion questions centered around the movie and Great Depression.

This year when the opportunity arose to try another z-guide, I jumped for joy!  Out of curiosity, we decided on a high-school level guide.  Choosing K-19:  The Widowmaker to coincide with our study of the Cold War, we were not disappointed!  Overview topics include:  Cold War, US/Soviet Relations, Dealing with Difficult Situations/Crises, Leadership, Doing Your Duty, and Conflict Resolution.

"Each z-guide contains a topic overview, movie synopsis and ten learning activities for an in-depth study of the film.  The topic overview puts the film in historical context enabling a student with no prior knowledge of the topic important background information - so, you don't have to know everything about a particular time period in order to glean from these guides!  The movie synopsis provides a more detailed overview of the movie's storyline.

While watching the film the first time through, students answer the movie review questions that are provided.  This assignment forces the viewer to become an active learner rather than a passive observer (and aids in retention).  These can be done orally or written on the printed pages.

Nine additional activities are structure around the theme of the movie engaging them through fine arts, research (both book and internet), vocabulary, creative writing/speaking, literary devices, movie making techniques, critical thinking and family discussions that relate to moral or philosophical dilemmas present in the movie."

Although much of his work overlaps a grade level higher, my oldest is technically an 8th grader.  So, after reading the topic overview, movie synopsis and Activity 1 Movie Questions, my son (with parental guidance) set off to watch this drama based on a true story centered around a mission on a Russian nuclear submarine.

The movie pretty much sucks you into the story early on, so it was a bit tough to stay on track and get those questions answered.  Because of that, he ended up answering many of the questions after the movie was over.

Other question/answer/discussion sections include:

*More About the K-19
* Life Aboard a Submarine
* We're Here to Help
*What If
*Worldview Activity
*Filmmakers Art

As predicted, the fact-based questions were a piece of cake for my son to answer.  However, some of the inferred or deduction based questions were challenging.  (I was pleased to see his reasoning skills stretched causing him to REALLY think).

Zeezok suggests a 5-day schedule for completing this guide.  They do also state that the guide can be adjusted as needed.  In our family, we were able to get through the questions and discussion section fairly easily.  However, we seem to be stalled out on the "Design a Nuclear Fallout Shelter" activity.  Yep, and what's really great is that Zeezok includes an actual "Family Fallout Shelter" guide originally printed in 1959 by the Office of Civil and Defense Mobilization Agency!  Reading it, you really do get a sense of the fear people lived with during the Cold War - and also the limited amount of information available regarding radiation.
As a bonus, you can learn how to build your own shelter and look at 4 different plans for various types.  Between this pamphlet and other resources it will be interesting what the final outcome will look like!

Other activities include:
*Cold War News Flash (You are a news anchor for Soviet-American Relations)
*Conflict Resolution (Mediate a dispute between younger siblings using prescribed steps)
*What If (Insert the middle portion of a prewritten prompt.)

Overall, once again I am please with this movie guide.  It's a great way to incorporate the motion picture genre into your study of History AND are family friendly!

Please check out Zeezok's large variety of z-guides for movies .

Here's what other crew members are saying!

Disclaimer:  I received this z-guide free of charge in exchange for an honest review!

Z guide to the movies

1 comment:

  1. We reviewed the same Z-guide. The reprinted shelter brochure was very interesting.