TEFLChina Teahouse: Teaching: General:
Groundhog Day -- sample lesson plan for teaching English with movies
University English majors
4 hours (two 2-hour lessons)
Pre-viewing activities/ viewing/ after viewing
The repetition in this film makes it relatively easy to understand. Many jokes are physical. Students will laugh, which is always a good thing.
For culture, ask about traditional methods of forecasting the weather in China. Talk about attitudes of city people toward those who live in countryside.
For language, talk about weather words and feelings/moods.
Let students imagine what they would do "if there were no tomorrow."
What do you see/hear in the first few minutes that tells you it is a comedy?
Music is cheerful
Shot of clouds and blue sky
Studio weatherman and weather map technological trickery
1. Practical attempts to solve the problem, which fail due to time/logic problems
Sees a doctor
2. Self indulgence
Reckless driving -- the police chase
Disillusionment after Rita repeatedly rejects him--montage of slaps. Playing Jeopardy.
4. Reformation -- becoming a new man
Going to bed with Rita
They go to bed, she falls asleep while he reads poetry
They go to bed, fall asleep
They go to bed, he falls asleep
The old beggar
Gives him money
Tries to resuscitate him
Takes coffee to the crew and cooperates on the shoot
Becomes poetic about Punxatawney on film: "When Chekhov saw the long winter, he saw a winter bleak and dark and bereft of hope. Yet we know that winter is just another step in the cycle of life. But standing here among the people of Punxsutawney and basking in the of warmth of their hearths and hearts, I couldn't imagine a better fate than a long and lustrous winter"
Rescue of boy falling from a tree
The ending is comic because it shows us that Phil still has some of the old, calculating, self inside him. As he and Rita walk out of the guest house into the new, snow-covered day, he exclaims, with his new enthusiastic wonder at life: "It's so beautiful -- Lets live here." Then, after he kisses Rita, he adds: "We'll rent to start." (Keep your options open.)
What do you need to do to win the heart of the one you love?
Play charades to communicate feelings. Classmates respond with a weather word
See Teaching with movies*
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