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SUBJECTS — Cinema; U.S./1929 - 1941;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Surviving;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Trustworthiness; Caring.
Age: 8+; Not Rated; Comedy; 87 minutes; 1936; B & W.
In this classic, film we follow the misadventures of the Little Tramp as he tries to survive and find fulfillment in a Depression ravaged United States. The movie contains several enduring images of life in an industrial age.
The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide to Modern Times will help teachers show treasured moments in this classic of early cinema. Most of the images in this film that comment on modern life still resonate today. Modern Times will supplement classes on U.S. history for the period of the Great Depression.
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Charlie Chaplin's films are still funny today. One of his most enduring creations, the "Little Tramp," negotiates the Great Depression in Modern Times. Every child should see this film.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To demonstrate how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers to improve lesson plans, we have set out below the first two sections of the Learning Guide to Modern Times.
Description: This is a lighthearted satire of urban industrial life in the first half of the 20th century. While working on an assembly line, the "Little Tramp" gets a tick that makes him move like a machine. He then becomes stuck on a conveyor belt and run through another machine. He is used as a test dummy for a feeding machine. The boss spies on him in the men's room through hidden cameras. He meets a waif and falls in love. He is mistakenly labeled a communist and arrested. He encounters cocaine while in jail. He gets a job in a department store but loses it. He tries work as a waiter, only to lose that job. None of these setbacks crush his spirit.
Modern Times is acknowledged to be the last of the great silent movies. Although it does have some sound, there is no spoken dialogue.
Benefits: While quite funny, Modern Times contains famous and enduring images that constitute significant social commentaries on industrialized societies. It is also an excellent introduction to silent films, to Charlie Chaplin (one of the greatest actor/directors of all time), and to his classic "Little Tramp" character. The movie will also introduce children to the assembly line, the poverty of the Great Depression, the labor unrest that occurred during the Great Depression, and the redbaiting that was used to suppress labor unions. Note the scene in which the Little Tramp is spied on by the boss. The ability to spy on employees was science fiction in 1936 when the movie was made. It is reality today.
The Learning Guide to the film Modern Times contains sections on Benefits of the Movie, Possible Problems, Helpful Background, Discussion Questions, Links to the Internet, and Bridges to Reading. The Discussion Questions are divided into three categories: Subject Matter, Social-Emotional Learning, and Moral-Ethical Emphasis.
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