Weekly Schedule and Terminology

Weekly Schedule

  Day 1 Day 2 Day 3
Opening Activity Screening Quiz Opening Activity: Personal Reflection Opening Activity: Compare/Contrast
Core Activity Student-Led Scene Analysis Discussion Discussion: Unpacking Film Criticism Critical Text Analysis: Study Groups
Core Activity Teacher-Led Scene Analysis Discussion Discussion: Applying Criticism to Scene Analysis Critical Text Analysis: Whole-Class Discussion
Homework Reading and Notes: Film Criticism Reading and Notes: Queer Theory Film Screening

Course Terminology

Film screenings

This curriculum is designed so that film screenings are happening outside of the three hours a week allotted for class time. It is suggested that students complete these screenings as homework, but efforts should be made to ensure all students have access to the films. All films are available on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and/or Vimeo. One option might be to make these films available for independent viewing in a school library during after school hours, or to schedule a weekly screening time that occurs at the end or beginning of the weekly sequence.

Screening quiz

The first element of each week is a quiz on the film. This is simply an accountability measure to ensure students have watched the film and are prepared to engage with the material. The quizzes are designed to be relatively straightforward if one has watched the film without distractions. The quizzes could be adjusted to make them multiple choice or to alter the difficulty level. You could allow students to use any notes they’ve taken on the films if they’d like to, since that might encourage strong notetaking.

Student-Led Scene Analysis Discussion

In Day 1 of the weekly sequence, 10-15 minutes of time is allotted for 1-3 students to lead the class in a close-reading of a scene. Ideally, students could select a brief (no more than 3-4 minutes) scene of their choosing, show it to the class, and develop questions to work through with the rest of the class. You may want to meet with students in advance of their presentation or communicate with them about it virtually. Having students share their scene selection prior to class will help you determine if there is overlap between the scenes you plan to close-read with students and the scenes they have selected; if there is, you could always select another scene for the teacher-led portion of the discussion. A detailed, student-facing description of student-led scene analysis is provided in the course materials.

Teacher-Led Scene Analysis Discussion

Following the student-led scene analysis, time is allotted in the week’s close-reading lesson for additional close-reading of one or two other scenes. Elements provided in the lesson plans include selected scenes with approximate timestamps, discussion questions, possible student responses, and additional questions to ask if students are stuck. I recommend that you provide time for students to write independently and possibly share their ideas with a peer before jumping into whole-class discussion. Possible student responses are not intended to be exclusive; there are often other strong responses that students could provide, but these responses are intended to act as guidance for teachers in directing students towards strong responses.

Homework: Days 1 and 2

Following days 1 and 2 in the weekly sequence, students will be provided with secondary texts for analysis. Day 1 homework will typically involve reading a piece of film criticism that specifically examines the film being discussed that day. Day 2 homework typically involves reading a theoretical work that does not specifically mention the film that week, but contains useful concepts to apply to that week’s film. However, these readings vary from week to week; some readings include two pieces of film criticism or two pieces of queer theory, rather than one of each. I recommend that you ask students to take notes to use in class; these notes could be submitted for a homework grade.

Personal reflection

The opening exercise of Day 2 lessons is typically a personal reflection on the film – it includes a quick writing exercise and a brief discussion. This provides students with an opportunity to either engage with the film in terms of their personal enjoyment of it, or to relate the film to their own experiences. As with everything in this course, feel free to alter these questions as you see fit!

Discussion of film criticism and theoretical texts

For the central discussions of secondary texts, I have provided discussion questions that typically ask students to summarize the texts, agree or disagree with their claims, apply the claims to the film, and raise questions they have about the texts. I’ve provided possible student responses, including key evidence from the texts and ideal summaries. I have not provided possible student responses to agree/disagree questions, since student rationales may vary significantly.


The opening exercise of Day 3 lessons typically involves an opportunity to contextualize this week’s film and compare it to other films students have seen in the course. The questions may be specific to previous films shown or ask students to compare it to a film of their choosing. The goal of this exercise is to help students see patterns in films or to notice how a film’s project may be unique.

Study groups

During Day 3’s lesson, time is allotted for students to meet in small groups to work together on unpacking that day’s reading prior to a whole-group discussion. Because this is typically the more challenging reading of the two for the week, this structure is intended to help students prepare to discuss a text’s core arguments and build independence for reading critical theory. You could choose to circulate between groups to answer questions or join a particular group of students who may need additional support. Alternatively, you could replace this structure with more directed whole-group discussion or an introductory lecture if you think all students will need more support with this material.

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