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War of the Buttons
SUBJECTS — ELA: characterization;
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING — Fighting; Friendship; Leadership; Parenting;
MORAL-ETHICAL EMPHASIS — Trustworthiness; Caring.
Age: 8+; MPAA Rating -- PG; 1995; 94 minutes; Color.
Students of all ages love this film. The TeachWithMovies.com Learning Guide helps teachers and parents use the movie to show students how an analysis of characterization can serve as a gateway to literary analysis.
The story is set in Ireland in the mid-20th century. Boys from two different villages, one wealthy and one poor, are at war and meet on several battlefields. The spoils of war are buttons cut from the losers' clothing. In these battles, lessons are learned and loyalties are tested. By the film's end, the two leaders, Fergus and Geronimo, have become friends. They admit to each other that the war was fought "for the hell of it."
War of the Buttons is rich in humor and visual beauty. Its actors, although largely unknown, create a strong empathic reaction between themselves and viewers of all ages.
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War of the Buttons is an excellent vehicle for analyzing characterization in a story.
Learning Guide Excerpt
To give you a sense of how our Learning Guides can be used by teachers to develop lesson plans, and by parents to supplement school curriculum or for homeschooling, we have set out below a paragraph from the Learning Guide to War of the Buttons.
There are three important aspects of characterization. These aspects reveal feelings, values, and beliefs. We are rarely told — we are usually shown — what characters feel, value, and believe through the following techniques:
The Learning Guide to the film War of the Buttons 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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