How to Watch The Royal Tenenbaums with Students

I watch The Royal Tenenbaums every semester with students because it’s a great listening activity. Also, it’s an excellent way to have some fun with your students.

What You’ll Need:

  • A copy of the movie
  • A screen to view the movie
  • White Board w/ markers
  • Photocopies of Main Characters (Royal, Ethel, Chas, Margot, Richie, & Eli)
  • Some tape
  • About 3hrs of class time

Setup:

Prep the classroom before the students arrive. Section off the whiteboard into roughly 6 equal parts. Tape the photocopied images each character into a section.

Put the DVD into the player and let the main menu screen play as students enter the classroom.

Tell students they’re going to watch a film by Wes Anderson and show them the DVD cover.

Ask a few simple questions to get warmed up. For example, “Has anyone seen this movie before?” “Can you name another Wes Anderson film?” “Do you recognize any of the actors/actresses?” “What kind of movie do you think this will be?”

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The Prologue:

Tell the students that they will watch the film’s prologue that will introduce the main characters. They need to listen carefully and take notes about character details.

Direct the students’ attention to the white board and briefly introduce the names of the main characters. For example, “This is Royal. He’s the father of the family. This is Ethel, short for Etheline, and she’s the mother of the family.”

Tell students when the prologue is finished that you will collect on the whiteboard all the information they noted.

Warn students that the information will come quickly, so they need to listen carefully. Also, notes about Royal & Ethel will have to be taken from context. The prologue doesn’t introduce them the same way it intros Chas, Margot, Richie, & Eli.

Play the prologue and pause the movie when the prologue is finished.

Give students a few minutes to confer with one another about the information they noted.

At the whiteboard, begin eliciting information for the main characters. “What can you tell me about Royal?” “What did you see Royal do?” “Do you think he’s a good father? Why?”

This may take some goading on the teacher’s part.

After collecting information for the main characters, tell students they will watch the prologue again. Ask them to catch any additional information about the characters.

Elicit any additional info on the whiteboard.

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Chapter 1:

Break the class into 3 teams, preferably with about four students per team. Tell the students that they will now watch Chapter 1 of the movie.

Before pressing play, tell Team A they will take a 10min break now. They must exit the room, but not go too far. The rest of the class will watch the movie. Team B will be responsible for watching closely, taking notes, and explaining the first chapter to Team A.

Play Chapter 1.

At the end of the chapter, pause the movie, and give Team B a few minutes to discuss what happened.

While Team B are getting their facts straight, erase the whiteboard and section it off into 3 new equal sections. Label the new sections “Chapter 1” “Chapter 2” & “Chapter 3.”

When Team B is ready, invite Team A back into the room. Team B must now explain the first chapter for Team A.

As they explain the first chapter, write the information on the whiteboard under the chapter section. Assist when & where needed.

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Chapter 2:

This time Team B takes a break and exits the classroom. Team C will be responsible for watching closely, taking notes, and explaining the chapter to the missing team.

Play Chapter 2.

At the end of the chapter, pause the movie, and give Team C a few minutes to discuss what happened.

Invite Team B back into the room and Team C tells them what they missed.

Write notes on the whiteboard in the chapter section.

Chapter 3:

This time Team C takes a break and exits the classroom. Team A will be responsible for watching closely, taking notes, and explaining the chapter to the missing team.

Play Chapter 3.

At the end of the chapter, pause the movie, and give Team A a few minutes to discuss what happened.

Invite Team C back into the room, and Team A tells them what they missed.

Collect all notes on the whiteboard.

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Summary

Tell each team they did a good job! Quickly go over all the notes from each chapter.

Now, tell the whole class that they will watch all three chapters played without stopping. Ask students to catch any additional information they may have missed the first time.

Rewind the movie to the beginning of Chapter 1 and play without pausing until the end of class.

Ask the class for any additional details.

 

 

Did this lesson work for you? Why or why not? Do you have fun listening activities you like to do with your students? Please let me know in the comments below.

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