Friday, April 1, 2011

Zeezok Publishing z-guide to the Movies


As a member of the TOS Homeschool crew, I am bound to discover interesting products that could be used in our homeschool.    And this time around, I think the publisher has discover an interesting niche to incorporate media in the study of a specific event like in our case World War I.

I had the opportunity to chose the z-guide to the Movies e-book I wanted and since I had the movie Flyboys at home I decided to request its z-guide to the Movies.  However, this specific title is mostly geared to high school level.   My kids being too young (3, 5, 7 and almost 10) for this particular movie, I reviewed it keeping in mind that this would be an interesting product for the future.    The topics covered in this z-guide to the Movies are World War I, facing uncertainty/death, racial prejudice and aeronautics.

Before I explain what the z-guide to the Movies is, I want to give a little synopsis of the movie Flyboys.  Flyboys soars to new cinematic heights with spectacular special effects and thrilling, edge-of-your-seat aerial dogfights. Inspired by the true story of the legendary Lafayette Escadrille, this action-packed epic tells the tale of America’s first fighter pilots. These courageous young men distinguish themselves in a manner that none before them had dared, becoming true heroes who experience triumph, tragedy, love, and loss amid the chaos of World War I. Join Cassidy, Rawlings, and the other pilots of the Lafayette Escadrille in their highly-manoeuvrable aircraft as they battle the German “knights of the air” high above the French countryside. Aside from the occasional chivalrous act, this war among the clouds was every bit as brutal as the conflict on the ground. With an average life expectancy of three-six weeks, these American pilots risked life and limb for France over a year before the United States joined the Allies. Flyboys_DVD_Cover

In a nutshell, the Zeezok Publishing’s z-guide to Flyboys  contains a topic overview, movie synopsis, and ten learning activities. Through these your teenager will be able to study the film as well as the period of time when the event happened.   The topic overview puts the film in its historical context providing with the student and its teacher information that they might not know yet.   Before watching the movie, it is suggested that the synopsis of the story be read.  This one-page synopsis contains more information than what you usually find in the back of the movie case.  

The student will watch the movie once and then take the time to answer the review question related to the movie.  This specific assignment encourages the student to become an active learner.  I find that knowing that a series of question awaits us after watching the movie, our mind is more attentive to “digest” the story.   Other activities will require research to be done at the library or on the internet, creating a personal identification insignia to be painted on your aircraft,  discover more about the aircraft used by the Lafayette escadrille by researching on it, write an essay on being or not being a World War I fighter pilot, have a bit of fun with a crossword, design an original recruitment poster, learn more about the German zeppelins, interesting questions that will make you think hard before answering,  and a little study on the art of filmmaking.  

The whole z-guide to the movie Flyboys can be covered within a week with the following schedule.

Day 1:  Activity 1 Movie Review Questions and 2 More about the Lafayette Escadrille

Day 2: Activity 3 World War Map and 4 More on the Nieuport Aircraft Flown by the Lafayette Escadrille

Day 3: Activity 5 Do you have the Courage to Be a World War I pilot? and 6 Crossword Puzzle

Day 4: Activity 7 Recruitment Poster for the Lafayette Escadrille and 8 The Dirigibles as a Weapon of War

Day 5: Activity 9 Worldview and 10 The Filmmaker’s Art

This is definitively a packed week on the subject and it can be adapted to become a two week schedule if you want.

Also included in the z-guide to the Movies are question to stir a family discussion that I know my husband will use when the time comes for our kids to watch this movie as well as a list of additional resources for further study on the subject.   I particularly like the fact that it directs us toward a website where you can order a model of the Nieuport 17 aircraft.  Finally, all the answers to the questions of the activities are included at the end of the document.

The price to obtain the z-guides to the Movies is 12.99$ US.   However, both the CD version of the document and the pdf version are at the same price.   I think that the pdf version should be less expensive since it is an instantaneous download while the CD version will require the production of the CD.    I suggest that that publisher reduce the price of the pdf version to 9.99$ to make it more attractive for people willing to get the pdf version.  Also be aware that the movie is sold separately.  

You can access the full list of z-guide to the Movies available directly from the Zeezok Publishing website.

Disclaimer: Thanks to Zeezok Publishing for sending me to above mentioned instant download version of the software for review purpose through the TOS Homeschool Crew. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way.  All opinions expressed here are only my own.

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