Lesson Plan Title: Leading Ladies/First Ladies
Lesson Focus: Students will independently research the life of a former or current American First Lady. They will use what they have learned and choose a movie they believe would exemplify motherhood to their First Lady.
Grade Level: 9-12
Prior Knowledge: none
Time Needed: 1-3 Class Periods
Kaboose provides a brief description of each movie and the type of Mom it depicts. The kids will probably not have seen every movie on this list so you might want to add and subtract films so that each student has seen at least a few of them. A few days before conducting the lesson have the students list movies they have enjoyed and whether a mother, motherhood, or a mother/child relationship is central to the story. Collect their lists and make your own for the assignment.
Some other movies to consider:
Juno: A funny and slightly irreverent story of a pregnant 16 year old who chooses to find adoptive parents for her baby. I like it because it has all sorts of women-a teenage mother-to-be, an absentee biological mother, a step-mother, and an adoptive mother-but I would only use this one in a junior or senior class.
Safe Passage: An involved, somewhat protective mother of seven boys waits to hear the fate of one son following the bombing of his Marine barracks in the Sinai. The entire family is home to await the news and the relatinship she has with each son reveals not only who she is but how she is struggling with letting go and life choices now that her nest is emptying.
Eve’s Bayou: This really has more to do with a father-daughter relationship but depicts many different types of mother figures and women. This film deals with adult themes so I would not use it with freshmen or sophomores.
Hope Floats: A recently divorced woman returns home to her mother's house with her own daughter. Differences between generations are shown as well as the importance resolving old wounds.
Please add movies you think would work in the comment section.
Educational Standards Met:
NCSS (National Council for the Social Studies) Thematic Standard: IV Individual Development and Identity.
Lesson Plan Outline:
I. Explain the project. Students are required to turn in a five-hundred word essay explaining their choice. They should be specific using details from the First Lady's life and their chosen movie. Students should support thir opinion with examples, quotes, and biographical detail.
II. Allow students to work on their assignment for 1-2 class periods or as a research assignment.
III. Have some make your own Mother’s Day Gift Ideas ready for students who finish early. Some of these crafts work well for interdisciplinary teaching, especially with Science or Art Lesson Plans.
Extension: Movies in the Kaboom.com list range from serious (Step-Mom) to funny (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), sugary sweet (Please Don’t Eat the Daisies) and realistic (Erin Brockovich). Some of the movies are way before the students’ time (Mrs. Miniver) and some are recent (Whip It). As a fun side activity during these classes, have students cast secret ballots on which of the movies they would like to watch as a class. You can use your own list if you prefer. Of course, you'll have to set aside time to watch the winning movie!