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    LEARNING GUIDE TO:

    ROOTS VOLUME IV


    SUBJECTS — U.S./1812 - 1860 & Diversity;
    SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Rebellion;
    MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Respect.

    Age: 12+; Not Rated; Drama; 1977; 90 minutes; Color. Available from Amazon.com.


    Description:     Roots is a video presentation of Alex Haley's Pulitzer Prize winning book, Roots: The Saga of an American Family. Volume IV shows slave life in the early 1800s and concentrates on the disruptive effects of slavery on family and personal relationships.


    Benefits of the Movie:     The "Roots" series describes important aspects of the black experience in the U.S. and, for all Americans, helps in facing the legacies of slavery and segregation.


    Possible Problems:     MINOR. There is some violence but it is appropriate to the film's message.


    Parenting Points:    Before watching the movie, review the Helpful Background section and describe its contents to your child. Immediately after the movie ask and help your child to answer the Quick Discussion Question, the Social-Emotional Learning Discussion Question under Rebellion, and the Question on Morality and Ethics.





 









LEARNING GUIDE MENU
Benefits of the Movie
Possible Problems
Parenting Points
Selected Awards & Cast
Helpful Background
Discussion Questions:
      Subjects (Curriculum Topics)
      Social-Emotional Learning
      Moral-Ethical Emphasis
            (Character Counts)
Bridges to Reading
Links to the Internet
Assignments, Projects & Activities
Bibliography
WORKSHEETS: TWM offers the following worksheets to keep students' minds on the movie and direct them to the lessons that can be learned from the film. Teachers can modify the worksheets to fit the needs of each class. See also TWM's Historical Fiction in Film Cross-Curricular Homework Project and Movies as Literature Homework Project.

Additional ideas for lesson plans for this movie can be found at TWM's guide to Lesson Plans Using Film Adaptations of Novels, Short Stories or Plays.



    Selected Awards, Cast and Director:

      Selected Awards:  The "Roots" series won a Golden Globe Award as the Best Television Series of 1978, nine Emmy Awards, and many other honors.

      Featured Actors:   John Amos, Chuck Connors, Scatman Crothers, Sandy Duncan, George Hamilton, Lawrence-Hilton Jacobs, Carolyn Jones, Robert Reed, Richard Roundtree, John Schuck, Madge Sinclair, Leslie Uggams, Ben Vereen, Olivia Coles.

      Director:  Marvin J. Chomsky.
 

QUICK DISCUSSION QUESTION:  Why were slaves not permitted to learn to read or write?

Suggested Response: Educated slaves had a tendency to revolt or run away. Literate slaves could more easily conspire to seek their freedom. There is a lot that has been written about the equality of men. Through reading and observation, educated slaves might realize that they were equal to or better than their masters. The gulf between the master and an educated slave is obviously less than that between an educated master and an illiterate slave.


    Helpful Background:

    See the TWM student handout Slavery: A World-Wide View, Then and Now.

    As shown in "Roots", slave families were often disrupted and family members sold to distant plantations. This practice was so common that the marriage vows of slaves were modified. The traditional words "til death to us part" were changes to the words "til death or distance do us part." As "Roots" shows, "enlightened" slave holders tried to keep families together but would split them up without compunction if a slave ran away or was disruptive to the plantation.

    As shown in this segment, slaves were not permitted to learn to read. In fact, it was a crime in most southern states to teach a slave to read. Educated slaves had a tendency to revolt or run away. Literate slaves could more easily conspire to seek their freedom. There is a lot that has been written about the equality of men. Through reading and observation, educated slaves might realize that they were equal to or better than their masters. The gulf between the master and an educated slave is obviously less than that between an educated master and an illiterate slave.
 


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For English Language Arts classes, distribute TWM's Film Study Worksheet. Teachers can modify the worksheet to fit the needs of each class. Ask students to fill out the worksheet as they watch the film or at the film's end.

Are you concerned that time will be wasted if you are absent from class? Worry no more  .  .  .   Check out TeachWithMovies' Set-Up-the-Sub.

Click here for TWM's lesson plans to introduce cinematic and theatrical technique.
 

Select questions that are appropriate for your students.





    Social-Emotional Learning Discussion Questions:

    REBELLION

    1.  Describe some of the differences between slavery in Roman times and slavery in the American South. Why was Rome subject to major slave revolts which threatened the Empire (see Learning Guide to "Spartacus") but there were no slave revolts of major proportions in the American South?
 

Reminder to Teachers: Obtain all required permissions from your school administration before showing any film.

Give us your feedback! Was the Guide helpful? If so, which sections were most helpful? Do you have any suggestions for improvement? Email us!

Teachers who want parental permission to show this movie can use TWM's Movie Permission Slip.
    Moral-Ethical Emphasis Discussion Questions (Character Counts)

    Discussion Questions Relating to Ethical Issues will facilitate the use of this film to teach ethical principles and critical viewing. Additional questions are set out below.

    RESPECT

    (Treat others with respect; follow the Golden Rule; Be tolerant of differences; Use good manners, not bad language; Be considerate of the feelings of others; Don't threaten, hit or hurt anyone; Deal peacefully with anger, insults and disagreements)


    1.  Is it possible for a slave owner to be respectful of a slave's humanity? Why? Suggested Response: No. The very nature of the slave/master relationship is for the owner to take advantage of the slave. The slave serves the owner without recompense. A good employer/employee relationship is much different. The employer pays for the work of the employee at a reasonable rate. An employer can also train an employee so that he can undertake new responsibilities, have a more satisfying job and make more money.
 


Teachwithmovies.com is a Character Counts "Six Pillars Partner" and uses The Six Pillars of Character to organize ethical principles.

Character Counts and the Six Pillars of Character are marks of the CHARACTER COUNTS! Coalition, a project of the Josephson Institute of Ethics.


    Bridges to Reading: Older children who are good readers will enjoy the book Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley. Books on this period of American history that have been recommended for children ten years and older include: Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters by Patricia C. & Frederick L. McKissack; The Glory Field, by Walter Dean-Myers, a history of the Lewis family from the capture of Muhammad Bilal in Africa in 1753. Historical novels dealing with experiences of slaves and of the South from 1812-1860 that have been recommended for children ten to fifteen include: Nightjohn, by Gary Paulson and Get on Board: The Story of the Underground Railroad, by James Haskins. Rebels Against Slavery, by Patricia and Frederick McKissack, is suitable for ages 11 and up.
 



MOVIES ON RELATED TOPICS: All other "Roots" episodes.


    Links to the Internet: None.
 



 



 

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