Lesson Plan

Analyzing clips from The Bling Ring to consider themes related to self-image, fame, and crime.

This lesson will promote collaboration and inquiry around film clips using Google Classroom (Google Slides and Google Docs) and film clips
Mallory M.
Classroom teacher
Cobble Hill School of American Studies
Brooklyn, NY
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My Grades 9, 10, 11, 12
My Subjects English Language Arts, Arts
EdTech Mentor

Students will be able to....

  •  generate and answer questions about central ideas in clips from The Bling Ring.
  • conduct research and share their findings in a Google Slide 
  • compose open-ended questions about a key scene in The  Bling Ring on a shared Google Doc
English Language Arts
Grades 9 - 11
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

Activity: Conversing

Provide students with some background/ context about the topics they will be exploring today: fame, social media, and crime. We will think about teen obsession with social media and fame, and consider the role social media and technology can play a role in crime. 

Tell students they will watch a few clips from Sophia Coppola's The Bling Ring later today and give students the following information about the real Bling Ring (from which the movie was based):

"The Bling Ring (also known as Hollywood Hills Burglar Bunch, The Burglar Bunch, and the Hollywood Hills Burglars) were a group of convicted thieves consisting of eight teenagers and young adults based in and around Calabasas, California. They burgled the homes of several celebrities over a period believed to have been between October 2008 through August 2009. Their activities resulted in the theft of about $3 million in cash and belongings. Much of the stolen property belonged to Paris Hilton, whose house had been burgled several times, though over fifty homes were reportedly targeted for potential burglary." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bling_Ring

Next, ask students to consider the following questions and conduct a think-pair-share:

  • Do you think that on some level,  “The Bling Ring” committed these burglaries in the hopes of getting caught so that they would become famous?
  • What’s one question you have about the film or the “real Bling Ring clan” so far?


2 Considering Central Ideas in the movie "The Bling Ring"

Tell students they will be using Google Slides to complete some quick research about a  topic/ quote below from The Bling Ring before they watch a clip:

Step 1: Read the bullet below as a class 

  • Near the middle of this film, after Nick Prugo (the male “bling ring burglar”) is caught by the police for robbing many celebrity homes, he tells a journalist interviewing him that he got  over 800 friend requests, and got a fan page...he tells the journalist that 'it’s awkward that so many people are liking me for something like this. It’s showing that America has this sick fascination with a Bonnie and Clyde kind-of thing'.

Step 2: 5-7 minutes: Quick Connections and Quick Research using Google Slides

  • Ask students to share some quick connections and reactions to the blurb from Step 1.  Teacher might prompt students by asking them: 
    • What experiences have you had with SOCIAL MEDIA, and what connections can you make to Nick’s comment about all of the friend requests he received?  Have you ever noticed someone receiving many “likes” for something that rubbed you the wrong way?
    • How are teens shaped by social media? Share the pros and cons.
    • Who are “Bonnie and Clyde”?  (most students will probably not know who these 2 figures are, which is perfect for the quick research exercise coming up)


  • Tell students they will now conduct some quick research on Bonnie and Clyde:
    • Let’s find out MORE about Bonnie and Clyde… For the next 6 minutes, research these 2 people and post interesting facts and information about these 2 people on the GOOGLE SLIDES assignment I have shared with you on the Google Classroom stream.

Note to teacher:  Each student will have ONE SLIDE within the class presentation. This way, they all students can see all the slides that their peers are making as they work on their own slide. Insert each student's name at the top of each  slide, so that each student knows which slide is  his/hers to post his/her research findings on.

*Post the following reminder to students:  Do not PLAGIARIZE by simply “copy/pasting” --  if it’s taken directly, put “  “ around it. Otherwise, try to select important facts/details and paraphrase, and don't forget about including an intriguing image!

After the 6 minutes, click into each student's research slide in the Google Slides presentation.  Prompt each student to share-out what s/he found and posted on the slide about Bonnie and Clyde.  Then have students add to their initial responses about Nick Prugo's belief that "America has this sick fascination with a Bonnie and Clyde kind-of thing" now that they have a deeper understanding of what Bonnie and Clyde did, why they became iconic, and what they represent.

3 Generating questions to deepen our thinking about themes

 Post an assignment on the Class Stream (a Google Doc labeled "QFT protocol") to share with students that has them practice generating thoughtful Level 2 and Level 3 open-ended questions.  

The Google Doc might look like this:

STEP 1: Write as many questions as you can about the following topics and statements:

  • Social media and it’s effect on a teen’s self-image
  • America’s obsessions with fame and celebrity
  • There has always been a deep fascination with GOOD and EVIL
  • “We need forgiveness and someone to blame. So the story of crime fills our TVs, theaters, cinemas, computer files, and bookshelves. We are fascinated with stories of crime, real or imagined, because we need them to cleanse the modern world from our souls.” (-Walter Mosley on America's Obsession with Crime)

STEP 2: Next…Put “O’s” next to all the open-ended questions. “C’s” next to all the close-ended questions.

  • Open Ended: Questions require more than a yes  or no response
  • Close Ended: Questions that only require a yes or no

STEP 3: Choose 3 of your favorite questions…Re-write them as Open-Ended Questions. 

STEP 4: Post your 3  favorite open-ended questions on the PADLET board I've shared with you. 

4 View scenes from The Bling Ring, thinking about the key concepts we've considered and the questions you've created

Tell students that as we watch some key scenes from the Bling Ring, think about the questions you generated.  You will be answering at least two of your questions for homework on the same Google Doc you generated your questions on. You will need to include specific details in your response to your questions,  so TAKE NOTES on your Google Doc where you generated your questions OR on the Padlet Board (by creating a new notecard under the board area titled "notes and details that relate to my questions")

NOTE to TEACHER about The Bling Ring film clips: select some crucial scenes that you believe would bring forth/ relate well to the themes they've been considering thus far in the lesson (the first chunk of the film is ripe with these themes).


5 Exit/ Review

Activity: Exploring

Remind students to come in tomorrow with detailed responses to AT LEAST 2 of the questions they created today to share tomorrow (responses should be typed on the same Google Doc). Clarify that they should include specifics from the film and connections to other texts, personal life, etc. 

If there is time, students could answer these questions in class and teacher can conduct a whole-class discussion.

Give students a quick Exit Slip  (you might post this using the "QUESTION" feature on Google Classroom where you can easily post questions that students can respond to on the Class Stream).  Ask students: What have you learned by producing, improving, and prioritizing your questions?