Reel-Life Diary Exercise Spotlights Movie History; Grades 5-6

Article excerpt

Marking the 100th anniversary of its founding, theater operator Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corporation has joined with Scholastic to create a social studies and language-arts curriculum called "Writing from Experience: Movies and Memories." It's available for free download at Here's a lesson to preview.

Journal Writing Time Required: 40 minutes

Overview: Understand how various individuals have affected the entertainment industry; write journal entries.

1. As a class, make a list of men and women in history whose great ideas have made a difference in our lives (e.g., Florence Nightingale, Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Martin Luther King Jr.). Discuss each person's effect on his or her era, as well as on life today.

2. Distribute the following journal writing worksheet to each student. Read the worksheet aloud together and discuss how each journal entry provides a glimpse into the life of entertainment visionary Marcus Loew.

3. Divide the class into groups of three or four and instruct each group to research one of the individuals on the student reproducible. Using this research, each group will write five journal entries describing this person, capturing the essence of his or her life and experiences.

Wrap-up: Instruct each student group to present a short skit about the life of the person they have researched. Skits should include three different aspects of the individual's life. Encourage students to use costumes and props during their performance.

Journal Writing Worksheet

Marcus Loew is an important visionary in the history of the movies who opened movie theaters nationwide.

Directions: Read the fictional journal entries to learn about his life. Then choose a person from the list below to research. Write five journal entries of your own describing how this person contributed to the history of movies.

Journal of Marcus Loew

May 7, 1880

Today is my tenth birthday, but birthdays are pretty quiet in my New York family. Last year I had to quit school to earn some extra money for my family. I'm always tired, but I love looking into the windows of the shops that I pass every day. New York City is filled with people with big ideas and great plans. …