Thursday, January 5, 2012

Review: Z-Guide to the Movies (Zeezok)

Do you ever have those days where you just want to ditch the textbooks and watch a good movie snuggled up on the couch with the kids instead. Who doesn't? And with this cold, wintery weather upon us, add some tasty hot chocolate and a warm blanket along with the buttery popcorn.

While watching movies for school sounds a bit guilt-producing, it doesn't have to be.  Many movies have great educational value in addition to being entertaining.  Better yet, Zeezok Publishing has made tapping into all that education-waiting-to-happen easy-peasy with their Z-Guide to the Movies series.

With dozens of guides from which to choose, my high school daughter selected the Driving Miss Daisy Z-Guide.  This review was actually perfect timing for her upcoming film review assignment for her AP U.S. History class. 

Each Z-Guide is available as a PDF file, purchased as a download or on CD.  Most of the
films are available on Netflix or the library. We found Driving Miss Daisy and many others on the Z-Guide list available at our small town library.

Ten educational activities related to a specific film are included in each guide.  The student is first given a topic overview and a synopsis of the film to review before watching.  Then, as they watch the movie, they are provided a series of review questions that are intended to keep them engaged and paying attention while viewing.  The ones in our guide ranged from simple fact questions to those that hinted at the larger themes in the movie.

Following the questions, our guide had four activities that involved some extra study and reflection, such as further study of Martin Luther King or writing an essay on whether Miss Daisy was prejudice. Hands-on activities, an art project, a discussion of the movie's worldview, and exploration of the art of filmmaking (foreshadowing, for example) round out the activities. There is a 37-page sampler that includes activities from a variety of Z-Guides for your viewing.

The recommendation for the guide is to do two activities a day, with completion in about a week, making it an ideal supplement to other materials exploring the same time period. There are individual guides for movies covering Ancient Civilizations all the way through post-World War II. 

Overall, I really liked the Z-Guide we reviewed.  We didn't do all the activities, but the ones we did were a great starting point for discussing the depth of the movie and underlying messages that may have been overlooked otherwise.

Add a little edutainment to the day, and browse through the Z-Guide selections, which are available through Zeezok Publishing for $12.99. Then, break out the popcorn and hot chocolate and declare an official Movie Day in your homeschool.

Disclaimer: This review was provided as a result of my participation in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine Crew. I was provided the product free of charge in exchange for my honest review. I have received no other compensation. I strive to give a balanced overview of each product, detailing my opinion of both pros and cons and how the product worked for my family. What works for one family may not work for another. I encourage you to read reviews of other Crew members and research sufficiently to determine if any product will be a benefit to your homeschool. You may read more reviews on this product by visiting here.

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