Scenarios USA offers three curriculum programs on masculinity; place and power; and gender, power, and relationships. Each curriculum is based on Common Core Standards; films and related activities are designed to help students in grades 6-12 examine social norms and strengthen their sense of identity. The programs, which cost about $300, come with a DVD containing three films and 25 journals for students. According to Scenarios USA, the project-based units, which are primarily used in after-school programs and English, social studies, health, and theater classes, encourage kids to think and write about sexual health and social justice topics. They can also be used to help kids initiate and participate in discussions, write, role-play scenarios, and strengthen their presentation skills.
Teachers can also access several free lesson plans with the video clips and purchase the site's short films to show in class, which can also provide an opportunity for discussion and reflection.Continue reading Show less
Scenarios USA, a nonprofit founded in 1999, pairs its Real Deal writing contest winners with Hollywood filmmakers to create short movies about bullying, body image, relationships, and other issues. Teens' scripts are filmed by acclaimed directors, including The Bourne Identity director Doug Liman and Michael Apted, who directed The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.
Kids can view a portion of the films on Scenarios USA's website. A page for each video includes a plot synopsis, the topics that are covered, and links to additional related resources, such as the I Will End Sexual Violence social media campaign. Some pages also contain additional footage of viewer reactions to the movie and a list of high-profile screenings.
The videos can provide schools with a way to educate and encourage teens to discuss topics ranging from STD prevention to pregnancy. Realistic dialogue, age-appropriate actors, and an honest, forthright take on the subjects help make the films a meaningful viewing experience that young viewers can potentially relate to.
Unfortunately, they won't see much of each movie, unless their school buys a DVD. Although a few longer clips -- some that are almost half as long as the full film -- are available, many are only a few minutes long. Only a few options, like the "From an Objective Point of View" film, can be viewed in their entirety. The nonprofit's film contest is a fantastic program, and some video clips include free lesson plans, but not all do. Educators and kids may find the lack of free site material somewhat frustrating, as there's just not that much to do on the website itself. Adding more detailed information on the film topics, and possibly filmmaking basics, would help make the site a stronger resource.
Key Standards Supported
Reading History/Social Studies
Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
Reading Informational Text
Analyze how the author unfolds an analysis or series of ideas or events, including the order in which the points are made, how they are introduced and developed, and the connections that are drawn between them.
Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text in which the rhetoric is particularly effective, analyzing how style and content contribute to the power, persuasiveness or beauty of the text.
Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.
Analyze the impact of the author’s choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how the action is ordered, how the characters are introduced and developed).
Speaking & Listening
Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives, summarize points of agreement and disagreement, and, when warranted, qualify or justify their own views and understanding and make new connections in light of the evidence and reasoning presented.
Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, identifying any fallacious reasoning or exaggerated or distorted evidence.
Respond thoughtfully to diverse perspectives; synthesize comments, claims, and evidence made on all sides of an issue; resolve contradictions when possible; and determine what additional information or research is required to deepen the investigation or complete the task.
Evaluate a speaker’s point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
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