Intentional Parenting Family Movies
Talking and Playing for Growth with . . .
Social-Emotional Learning — Caring for Animals; Friendship; Grieving.
Moral-Ethical Emphasis — Respect; Caring.
At a Glance — Age: 5 - 8; MPAA Rating -- G; Drama; 2006; 113 minutes; Color.
Description — Wilbur, a runt pig, has the great fortune of making two wonderful friends. Fern, a little girl, stops her father from killing Wilbur just after he is born. She argues that it's not fair to kill the little pig just because he can't compete with his larger brothers and sisters. A spider named Charlotte creates a sensation by describing Wilbur with words spun into her web. Her goal is to make Wilbur so famous that his owners will not make him into a Christmas ham. Wilbur survives, Fern grows and gets interested in a boy, but Charlotte, having lived the allotted time for a spider, spins her egg sac, languishes, and dies. Wilbur takes care of the egg sac for his friend and tells her children all about their mother.
The movie is excellent, following the outline of the book and retaining its message and charm. The filmmakers have added a few characters (the crows) and a few incidents. The movie won the 2006 Critic's Choice Award for Best Family Film of the Year.
Every Guide to Talking and Playing With Movies contains film-related discussion prompts, games, and a short story related to the themes of the film.
Each Guide helps parents and teachers use family movies to enhance verbal development, increase social-emotional learning, and foster character education.
Benefits of the Movie — The lessons of this story include: the possibilities of affection between individuals of different species; acceptance of individuals who are different (that we must look behind appearance to see the true worth of an individual); the value of friendship; and acceptance of the natural rhythms of life. As Charlotte says, "After all, what's a life, anyway? We're born, we live a little while, we die." The story also allows children to begin to see human beings from the animal's point of view.
Designed by the creators of TeachWithMovies.com, in conjunction with Dr. Betty Bardige, Ed.D., TWM's Guides to Talking and Playing with Movies make watching movies much more than just entertainment.
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For a more complete explanation of how to use movies to foster development through talk and play, see Ideas for Talking and Playing Using Family Movies. Babysitters can better serve their charges by talking with children about the movies children watch and organizing games based on situations in the films. See How Babysitters Can Enhance Verbal Development and Social-Emotional Learning.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against putting children age 2 or younger in front of a screen. For children 3 and above it recommends no more than 1 to 2 hours of educational, nonviolent programs each day. For these children family movies are a great way for intentional parents to use entertainment to enhance a child's verbal skills, social and emotional learning and character education.
"Charlotte's Web" shows just what one determined small being can do. Parents and teachers can make it into an excellent lesson in character.
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